Commenting on questions posed at last weeks Kennel Club Question Time roadshow in Durham senior officials and the KC chairman Ronnie Irving revealed plans to launch an Accredited Breeders Scheme at Crufts next year.
The Kennel club sent out details of a proposed Accredited Breeders Scheme to one hundred breeders selected from their database in an attempt to gauge its worth last January.
Breeders were also been asked to evaluate the proposals in a questionnaire about the scheme which was modelled on a Gold Standard Breeder proposal.
This was first mooted some years ago and shelved after concerns over the possibility of legal loopholes which could have exposed the Kennel Club to litigation in the event of puppies not achieving a standard under the Sale of Goods Act which protects the buyer.
In a statement issued earlier at the time the Kennel Clubs Dr Jeff Sampson said, It is important to stress that, at this stage, the Kennel Club is simply considering such a scheme.
No scheme is yet agreed or in operation. The discussions came to light when a sample of breeders was approached over the Christmas period (ie 2002) to gather views on the proposal. This was part of an on-going debate within the Kennel Club and an attempt to take account of the views of the dog breeding public, something that the Kennel Club is often criticised for not doing.
The response from breeders has been extremely good and we would like to thank all those breeders that have returned their questionnaires. These will provide invaluable information and comments that will undoubtedly help during the evolution of the Kennel Clubs thinking on a possible Accredited Breeder Scheme. If an Accredited Breeder Scheme were to be established, it would be voluntary and open to all breeders to join.
It is understood that Dr Sampson has had a great deal of input into the revised scheme which may well be announced in the run up to Crufts.
The following is a list of the original proposed requirements that it was suggested should be satisfied in order to become a member of the scheme.
1 Ensure that all breeding stock are KC registered.
2 Follow KC policy re maximum age and number / frequency of litters.
3 Permanently identify breeding stock by one of: DNA profile, microchip, or tattoo. After the first year of operation all breeding stock will be required to be DNA profiled.*see below
4 Make use of health screening scheme, relevant to their breed, on all breeding stock: DNA testing, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and eye conditions, where appropriate.
5 Make sure that whelping facilities accord with requirements for good practice.
6 Adequately socialise the puppies and provide written advice on future training.
7 Provide written advice on feeding and worming programmes.
8 Provide a written record of the immunisation measures taken.
9 Provide reasonable post-sales telephone advice.
10 Provide a reasonable, time-limited money back or replacement guarantee.
*(Excess DNA from the profiling sample will be stored as a DNA archive that will be owned by the KC. Research groups wishing to undertake future research into canine inherited disease may use this archive, with the KCs permission. The owner will sign over the DNA profiling sample to the KC upon sample submission with the assurance that no additional information that the sample might generate will be made known without the owners prior consent).
How the scheme may operate:
Breeder contacts KC;
Breeder receives an introductory pack with includes: 1 details of the scheme and requirements; 2 examples of promotional literature; 3 benefits of the scheme; 4 an application form including declaration and a data protection release statement to be signed by the breeder.
Once breeder is certain that the requirements have been satisfied, the completed application, together with a fee (to cover the cost of starter pack), is required to the KC for processing.
Once the application is accepted the breeder receives a welcome pack that will include a certificate of membership, valid for one year, and a number of free puppy sales wallets together with an order form for more supplies.
After receipt of the welcome pack the breeder is entitled to promote him/herself as a member of the scheme and must provide a puppy sales wallet with every puppy sold.
The puppy sales wallet is central to the operation of this scheme. It is a passport that goes with each new puppy containing appropriate information and documentation that the new puppy owner will need. It will contain generic information written as part of the scheme as well as specific material produced by individual breeders to go with their new puppies.
Prospective purchasers will identify and approach premier breeders.
The buyer receives information puppy sales wallets and post sales support by the breeder as specified under the scheme.
How much will it cost?
It is proposed that the cost of membership for the breeder will be £15 per year. This will include one free pack of puppy sales wallets that are to be passed on to the new puppy owners. An annual renewal fee of £10 is also payable; at each renewal the breeder will receive additional puppy sales wallets (this will ensure that the breeder always has up to date scheme information).
Perceived benefits of being a premier breeder
Recognition of good breeding practice.
A competitive edge to breeders who are part of the scheme.
Enhanced advertising on KC puppy sales register.
Long-term improvement in the perception of dog breeding.
Access to the puppy sales register for licensed breeders.
Premium price for premier breeders puppies (A survey of potential dog purchases at Discover Dogs 2001 suggested that 75 per cent of those anticipating buying a puppy within nine months would be prepared to pay, on average, a £25 premium for a puppy produced to high standard).
Benefits to the puppy purchaser
Premier breeders can provide a resource in which inexperienced puppy owners can have confidence.
Introduction to KC advice and services.
Guidance and advice on care of puppy (eg diet, veterinary care, exercise, grooming, socialisation, first aid and training).
A time-limited guarantee in case a problem should arise.