Glossary of terms

Aggression. A complex behavior with a variety of possible triggers. Aggression requires environmental stimulation to occur; there is no internal drive to aggress. See also Temperament and Behavior or Aggression.

Altered. A gender-neutral term that means an animal has been spayed (for females) or neutered (for males). See also Spay/Neuter.

Behavior. An action. Behavior requires both genetic (nature) and environmental / learning (nurture) factors. See also Temperament and Behavior.

Breed-Specific Legislation. Legislation in a certain area that bans or places restrictions on certain types of dogs or dogs with a certain appearance.

BSL. Abbreviation, short for Breed-Specific Legislation.

Kennel club. An organization or group that is involved in breeding and showing dogs. Kennel clubs keep their own breed registries or books. Some kennel clubs are “all-breed” clubs (like the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club), meaning they facilitate the breeding, showing, and registration of a long list of breeds. Other kennel clubs are breed-specific or type-specific.

Mixed breed. A dog whose ancestors were of different breeds or types; a dog that is not purebred. Also called a “mutt” or an “All-American.”

Papered. A dog that has some sort of documentation showing its lineage. Although the term usually refers to kennel club registration papers, it may also refer to a pedigree.

Pedigree. A recorded “family tree” for a purebred dog.

Pit bull. A type of dog that defies a single simple definition. See “What is a Pit Bull?” for a more thorough examination of the term.

Purebred. A dog belonging to a line of unmixed ancestors of the same breed. A purebred Dalmatian is one whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. were all purebred Dalmatians. How many generations back the unmixed criteria must extend is a source of contention among dog fanciers, but three generations are generally a minimum requirement.

Registered. 1. a purebred dog that has been added to the register of a kennel club;
2. any dog that has been listed in a register with local animal control (as required by law in some municipalities)

Speutered. A gender-neutral, slang term that combines “spayed” (for female animals) and “neutered” (for male animals); see also Altered.

Temperament. An animal’s predisposition or tendency to exhibit a particular behavior under particular circumstances. Temperament is an individual trait and is determined by genetics. See also Temperament and Behavior.

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