Breeder Assessment Visits

Breeder Assessor Visits. Photo: Alison Fletcher © Alison Fletcher
 

Purpose of the visits

The purpose of visiting breeders is simply to ensure compliance of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme (KCABS), to offer information on how the Scheme can benefit the breeder and to give an opportunity to discuss any issues face to face with one of our Regional Breeder Assessors (RBA).

Upon joining the scheme every breeder of the KCABS agrees to allow an RBA access to visit their premises. The RBAs are highly experienced in many aspects of dog breeding. Most of them are experienced dog breeders themselves, and will have a good understanding of the issues that face breeders and the problems that they might encounter.

The RBAs are highly trained in the visit process and will usually have seen many different circumstances. The Assured Breeder Scheme is open to all responsible breeders whether they are an owner with a single animal that they plan to breed with or whether they have kennels with perhaps 50 or more dogs. Although no two visits are the same and many different situations are encountered the standards applied remain the same.

The RBAs are highly experienced in many aspects of dog breeding, whether the breeders specialise in breeding show dogs or for working activities or simply as family pets. Most of them are experienced dog breeders themselves, and will have a good understanding of the issues that face breeders and the problems that they might encounter.

The RBAs are highly trained in the visit process and will usually have seen many different circumstances; the Assured Breeder Scheme is open to all responsible breeders whether they are an owner with a single animal that they plan to breed with or whether they have kennels with perhaps 50 or more dogs. Although no two visits are the same and many different situations are encountered the standards applied remain the same.

Every member of the Scheme will be visited and inspected by the Kennel Club at least once every three years. The Kennel Club is a UKAS certification body and as such is able to offer UKAS certificates to members of its Assured Breeder Scheme. Certificated members are indicated on the list of Assured Breeders and every new applicant to the Scheme will have undergone a successful visit prior to acceptance.

Before the visit

The RBA (not the office staff) will contact the breeder directly to arrange a visit date that is mutually convenient to both. An email confirming the agreed visit date will be sent to the breeder by the Office and will also outline what will be expected from the visit.

Once an appointment is made, we do expect that appointment to be kept, and we do not accept cancellations. However we do understand that under exceptional circumstances, an appointment may need to be postponed, and in these cases we would expect the breeder to contact us as soon as possible to provide alternative dates.

What to expect from the visit

The visit should normally take no less than an hour but no longer than 2 hours. Obviously this will be dependant on the size of your premises, the number of dogs that you have and the facilities available.

The first part of the visit consists of a discussion to understand your breeding practices and consists mostly of questions to confirm that the records that we hold are correct. The RBA will want to know such things how many dogs you have, where they live and sleep; in the home or in kennels, and what your daily routine is. They will also ask questions like where you store your dog food, where it is prepared and what you feed them. They will also want to know things like what would you in the case of a fire or emergency and who could look after the dogs if something unforeseen happened to you.

During the visit

Upon arrival the RBA will show their Kennel Club identification. The RBA will wish to discuss two main areas - canine management and facilities and paperwork and documentation.

The first part of the visit consists of a discussion to understand your breeding practices and consists mostly of questions to confirm that the records that we hold are correct. The RBA will want to know such things how many dogs you have, where they live and sleep; in the home or in kennels, and what your daily routine is. They will also ask questions like where you store your dog food, where it is prepared and what you feed them. They will also want to know things like what would you in the case of a fire or emergency and who could look after the dogs if something unforeseen happened to you.

Canine Management and facilities

Once the discussion has finished, the RBA will want to see where and how the dogs are kept. We recognise that many of our breeders breed dogs within their own home where the dogs live as family pets and have no special facilities. Nevertheless the RBA will want to see where they live, sleep and exercise and to see that they are happy and content.

This includes ensuring that

  • Dogs are housed in clean and comfortable conditions with adequate heat and ventilation with particular regard to the animals' health, age and breed
  • Dogs are provided with suitable and adequate food, drink and clean bedding
  • Dogs are exercised and visited at suitable intervals to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing, and are in the care or supervision of a fit and responsible person
  • Dogs are in kept a secure and safe environment and provided with sufficient space proportionate to the number of dogs kept
  • Facilities for the keeping of dogs are suitable and maintained or kept in a good state of repair
  • Dogs receive adequate grooming and veterinary treatment
  • Reasonable emergency procedures are in place and that reasonable precautions are taken to ensure prevention of the spread of infectious or contagious diseases

Paperwork

The RBA will want to see the paperwork and/or the puppy pack that is given to a new owner.  We often advise breeders to imagine that the RBA is a puppy buyer and they will need to take copies of the paperwork that is given with the puppy. This should include a contract of sale as well as information on:

  • Feeding
  • Exercise
  • Worming and vaccinations
  • Grooming
  • Breed traits and tendencies
  • Socialisation
  • Training

The Kennel Club offers guidance for Assured Breeders which can be found here (PDF).

During this discussion, the RBA will also want to see how the breeder keeps their breeding records. This will of course vary from breeder to breeder and there are no set requirements for how records are kept. However the RBA will want to be assured that they are at least clear and identifiable and provide an insight into the breeder's record keeping.

Once the visit is completed, the RBA may discuss any concerns they have and will be pleased to answer any questions that you have about the visit process.

After the visit

Following the visit, the RBA will complete the paperwork which will consist of a written report and return this to the ABS Office. It will be put through a process noting any changes or alterations to the records held, and then a copy of the report will be sent to the breeder together with confirmation of the outcome of the visit. The report is confidential and remains a matter between the breeder and the Kennel Club.

It is very important that if there are any errors or omissions at this stage that the breeder contacts to office in writing to ensure that they are corrected.

In some cases there may be some further actions that the breeder needs to take to continue their KCABS membership. Details of these actions will be listed in an improvements sheet which may consist of immediate improvements that need to be made or simply some suggestions of what would be considered 'good practice' and which the breeder may feel are good ideas for the future.

If improvements are required and it is considered that the facilities fall short of the standards expected for an Assured Breeder, then a reasonable period of time will usually be given for the breeder to make the improvements (usually 60 days).

Once those improvements have been made we request that the breeders provide evidence that they have made the necessary improvements required to remain on the Scheme. This may simply be amended paperwork or may be other evidence such as photographs of repairs to kennels for example. In some cases we may require a further visit to be carried out to verify that the improvements have been adequately met.

The visit process is a cornerstone of the Assured Breeder Scheme and provides absolute assurance that breeders of the Scheme are adopting all the principles of responsible breeding that are contained within the Scheme. The majority of visits are successful and most breeders find them a highly enjoyable and rewarding experience.  Even those that find they need to make amendments or additions to their paperwork or canine management, find the changes are easy to make and truly worthwhile. In the event that the breeder disagrees with the findings of the RBA then there is an appeals process which may result is a second opinion.

It should be remembered that the Breeder Assessment Visit should be an enjoyable experience from which the breeder is able to benefit. They provide an important link between the Kennel Club and members of the Assured Breeder Scheme.

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Downloads
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Kennel Club Guidance for Assured Breeders

Related Topics

Assured Breeder SchemeAssured BreedersBreeder Advisor

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