Kennel Club delivers blow to puppy farmers
Accredited Breeder Scheme developments announced
The Kennel Club has warned puppy buyers to be aware of the difference between responsible breeders and puppy farmers and has announced significant developments to its Accredited Breeder Scheme, which will help to further secure the scheme’s place as a kite-mark of quality in the dog breeding world and to edge puppy farmers out of business.
The Kennel Club’s Accredited Breeder Scheme now has over 3,000 members and to ensure that the Kennel Club’s high standards for dog breeding are maintained, the Kennel Club will appoint a network of Regional Breeder Advisors to visit and assess local AB premises across the country. In addition, the Kennel Club will reward those who are setting an exemplary benchmark for good breeding practice, within the scheme, by awarding Accredited Breeder of Excellence titles.
Accredited Breeders have all agreed to sign up to Kennel Club standards for responsible breeding, which include following guidelines about maximum litter sizes, ensuring puppies are always seen with their mothers and giving their dogs the recommended health tests for their breed. Puppy farmers, by contrast, are unscrupulous breeders who remain outside of the scheme and who breed dogs purely for profit and without regard for their dogs’ health and welfare.
These steps, which will further set apart Accredited Breeders from less responsible breeders, follows the Kennel Club’s call on the government, earlier in the month, to give it the statutory powers to make the scheme’s requirements compulsory throughout the country. This means that those who have not officially confirmed their willingness to follow the health standards set by the Kennel Club would be unable to produce or sell puppies within the law.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “As part of its programme of continual improvement and following feedback from scheme members and supportive Breed Clubs the Kennel Club has announced some important developments to its Accredited Breeder Scheme. These will help to ensure that the scheme is recognised nationally as a bastion of quality and excellence in dog breeding and will further help the public to distinguish between good and bad breeders, so that they can make responsible choices when they are buying a dog.
“We recently asked the government for the statutory powers to enforce our Accredited Breeder Scheme nationally, which would mean that puppy farmers who do not subscribe to our high standards will be forced to show their hand and would be breeding and selling their puppies outside of the law.
“Even without these statutory powers these announcements today mean that puppy buyers can be assured, now more than ever, that Accredited Breeders are following standards that guarantee that a puppy’s health and welfare is their number one priority.
“Our advice to anybody thinking of buying a puppy is to go to a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder. They should certainly never go to a pet shop, whose stock may come from puppy farmers, or buy from somebody who is selling from neutral territory, such as a service station, where the puppies are not seen in their home environment.”
Under the new steps announced by the Kennel Club breed clubs will also be invited to nominate breed mentors, as expert advisors to educate both novice breeders and puppy buyers about their breed.
Regional Breeder Advisors
These advisors will be breed club members or other interested parties with suitable or relevant experience. Breed clubs will be invited to nominate suitable candidates, with a maximum number from each geographical region and across a range of breeds to sign up for initial training. Preference will be given to those nominated by clubs and societies which have a good understanding and have been supportive of the scheme. Full training will be provided and each prospective Regional Breeder Advisor will be accompanied by a KC member of staff on their first visits. Initially all Regional Breeder Advisors will be voluntary, but travel and any other reasonable out of pocket expenses will be fully funded and all equipment and paperwork supplied.
Accredited Breeder of Excellence
This will be in addition to the existing Accolades. Accredited Breeders accorded this status will be given an Accolade of Excellence, which will be distinct from the existing three accolades. Candidates for this status should usually be nominated by breed clubs, or by representatives of the Kennel Club. In all cases candidates will be approved by the General Committee. The Accolade will usually only be open to existing Accredited Breeders who have bred 5 Champions and who are already eligible for all three existing accolades and will usually only be formally awarded after a successful Breeder Advisor visit has been completed. Once achieved, this status of Accredited Breeder of Excellence would result in honorary ABS membership for a period of five years.
Breed clubs will again be invited to nominate individuals, normally expected to be very experienced breeders who are normally no longer actively breeding, but who have a wealth of experience and who would be willing and able to act as expert advisors to educate both novice breeders and puppy buyers about their breed. The position would normally be open for a period of 2 years and their contact details would be included on Puppy Sales Register lists issued by the Kennel Club. There would normally be a minimum of one Breed Mentor and a maximum of four Breed Mentors per breed at any time.
People will be able to find out more about the Accredited Breeder Scheme and how to buy a puppy at Discover Dogs, which takes place at Earls Court on 8 and 9 November.
Further details in the November 7th issue of OUR DOGS.