The noun pedigree refers to the genetic background of an animal, although it is sometimes applied to people as well. A purebred dog, for example, comes with a verified pedigree, a list of all past parentage.
The preoccupation with pedigree isn't new -— the concern for human pedigree can be seen in the Bible, where generations are meticulously recorded. Pedigree, referring to a genealogical chart, appeared in 1410 from the Anglo-French pe de gru, meaning "foot of a crane," referring to the chart’s tree — like lines, which looked like the print of a crane's foot. The importance of pedigree extends to animals such as dogs and horses, with breeders careful to follow the animal's lines to assure "purity."