I just saw This is about my labradore, which has a tag and appears to come from a dog breeder, get quickly downvoted and closed as off-topic.

Should questions about genealogy of animals be listed as explicitly off-topic on our What topics can I ask about here? page, or can some questions about genealogy of animals be on-topic?

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    The linked question is also extremely poor quality -- I've left a comment on the question recommending that the poster take the tour.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 19:08
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    I've addressed the quality control issue in a second comment. It's impossible to answer this question generically (assuming I've guessed correctly what his question was). To know whether it would be okay to breed these two dogs, you must know the nature of the problem and know the full pedigree of the questioner's dog.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 19:42

4 Answers 4


They're not about researching the historical pedigree of an animal and they can't be because to my knowledge there is no census for dogs: an animal either comes with paperwork certifying it as a purebred suchnsuch or it doesn't.

Historical records about the pedigree of animals certainly exist. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the pedigrees of thoroughbred race horses, and had no idea that similar records existed for humans (except for royal families).

The problem for us and this site is that we don't have the expertise needed to answer any questions that might come up. We don't know the registries that exist for purebred animals, or know what archives might hold records that exist outside those registries (e.g. an individual breeder's private records, held in manuscript collections). Tools do exist for analyzing genetics of dogs, and perhaps for other species, but I'm not familiar with them.

I've answered plenty of questions here that aren't in my main areas of interest for genealogy and family history because learning about those things was a skill-building opportunity. Learning what I might be able to glean from old issues of The Blood Horse to answer a question about thoroughbreds might be fun, because I used to study those things when I was younger. But I have no interest in learning dog genetics from scratch just to do the homework for someone who can't be bothered to do their own homework. It would just be a distraction from my genealogy research.

I have no problem with adding a "no animal genealogy" line to the 'not about' list in https://genealogy.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. Note that the ISOGG and the ISOGG Wiki, while having much information about DNA in general, is only about human genealogy -- they don't even have a wiki article that says "if you came here looking about animal DNA, you're in the wrong place -- try this instead".

It may be tempting to say "well This is about my labradore is only a relationship calculator question, we should be able to answer that" but it really isn't that simple. Because of the practice of linebreeding, and other deliberate inbreeding, there is huge amount of endogamy in purebred animal populations -- figuring out how closely these two dogs are related is not a trivial exercise.

If Stack Exchange wants a site like ours for animal genealogy, someone else needs to start it (perhaps as a spin-off from Pets). It doesn't belong here.


I think I was the one that nominated that question for closure, and I probably downvoted as well.

My reason was that I checked the Help Centre, and I think questions about animal genealogy are already off-topic, based on my reading of the Meta question, "What is “Genealogy,” “Family History,” and “Microhistory”?", which is linked from the Help Centre topic What topics can I ask about here?.

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    I agree -- the requirement for questions to relate to Genealogy, Family History and Microhistory excludes them from being on-topic -- I'm not sure we need to single them out specially.
    – user6485
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 10:44

Generally speaking, most queries about animal "genealogy" are going to be either genetics/breeding questions or legal/technical/financial questions about establishing pedigree.

They're not about researching the historical pedigree of an animal and they can't be because to my knowledge there is no census for dogs: an animal either comes with paperwork certifying it as a purebred suchnsuch or it doesn't.

I can't see how there could be much useful overlap between that and our normal scope, although some may well fit in another SE site, maybe Biology or Pets or similar.

Questions about historical record sources relating to animals may still be on topic as they relate to human genealogy - e.g. if your great granddad bred poodles or owned racehorses, there could be useful records relating to that.


As answered by @sempaiscuba I think that What is "Genealogy," "Family History," and "Microhistory"? almost makes questions about animal genealogy/pedigrees off-topic for G&FH SE.

However, while the first definition for genealogy there mentions people, the second definition does not, and seems to focus on pedigrees:

Establishment of a Pedigree by extracting evidence, from valid sources, of how one generation is connected to the next. (In essence, this means the discipline of the construction of a valid family tree)

Since I think many people associate pedigrees with animals as much as humans, I think we need to be more explicit about animal genealogy/pedigrees being off-topic by adding a new dot point (bolded below) to our on-topic page to say:

and it is not about:

  • Locating identifiable living individuals
  • Comparing, or making lists of, different genealogy databases, utilities, hosting services, etc.
  • Developing genealogy software
  • Celebrity or biblical genealogy
  • Animal (non-human) genealogy/pedigrees
  • General history

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