Recent consultation with breed clubs has highlighted a lack of awareness of policing measures used in connection with the Assured Breeder Scheme. The Scheme is policed by the Kennel Club in the following ways:
1. Prior to acceptance
Applicants' Kennel Club records are checked and verified to ensure that the breeder is capable or likely to be able to fulfil all the basic Scheme requirements. An appointment is made for a Breeder Assessment visit to be carried out.
2. Acceptance of Membership
All applications are fully considered. Further information may be required so that the Kennel Club is satisfied the breeder is fully capable of meeting the requirements of the Scheme.
An application may be subject to Committee approval by its Review Panel.
The Kennel Club reserves the right to refuse an application.
Any breeder subject to KC disciplinary penalties under Rule A42/43 will not be eligible for Assured Breeder Scheme membership.
3. After acceptance
New members are effectively 'policed' by breed clubs who report names that are, in their opinion, inappropriate candidates to us. If this happens then the Kennel Club investigates carefully.
When Assured Breeders register a litter
Every time an Assured Breeder registers a litter, the sire and dam of that litter are checked for compliance with the requirements. This includes checking for compulsory permanent identification (microchip) and both sire and dam are checked for compulsory health screening Scheme results that are relevant to their breed. All the usual Kennel Club rules and regulations must be complied with.
When Assured Breeders sell their puppies
Assured Breeders are required to use ABS puppy sales wallets for every puppy that they sell. Included in these wallets is a feedback form that the new owner is requested to return directly to the Kennel Club. There are questions on this form that inform us about the Assured Breeder's compliance with aspects of the Scheme that we are not able to police in any other way, for example whether the breeder provided advice on training, feeding, socialisation etc.
This provides ample opportunity for the puppy buyer to provide information about the whole puppy buying experience. Should any issues arise from this feedback then this is taken up directly and in confidence, with the breeder. Litters and numbers of puppies registered by Assured Breeders are monitored and compared with the feedback received.
Upon joining the Scheme all Assured Breeders sign a declaration as follows:
“I understand that by signing this declaration I confirm that I have read and agree to adopt the rules, regulations and practices of the Assured Breeder Scheme and as may be amended from time to time*. I recognise that some of these may only be applicable if I am breeding dogs. If I breed dogs then all the rules will automatically apply. If I breed dogs in partnership with someone outside of the Scheme then the rules of the Scheme continue to apply to me and my membership may be affected by the activities of the other party. I accept that in the event of non-compliance, my name may be removed from the list of Assured Breeders and I will no longer be entitled to use the Scheme literature or Accreditation. I consent to the release of data/information to any relevant authority. (Note; there is a set grievance procedure and a copy of this can be obtained on request)
*Amendments will be announced and published on the Assured Breeder website and alerts will be provided. It is important that the Assured Breeder ensures that he/she checks for any Scheme amendments before breeding a litter.”.
Breeder Assessor Visits
The breeder agrees that the Kennel Club may visit facilities at any time upon giving reasonable notice.
If there are issues of concern arising from a visit and it is considered that the facilities fall short of the standards expected for an Assured Breeder then this may result in the breeder being removed from the Scheme.
Full details of what is involved and expected of an Assured Breeder for a Breeder Assessment Visit are available at the following address /breeding/assured-breeder-scheme/breeder-assessment-visits/
What happens if breeders breach any of the Scheme requirements?
- Temporary Suspension - at any time during the investigation of a complaint a breeder may be suspended from using or operating under the Scheme pending the conclusion of such an investigation. During such suspension, puppies must not be sold under the Scheme.
- Complaints Procedure - there is a Complaints Procedure which will be followed in the case of a complaint by a purchaser of a puppy under the Scheme (complaints form available here).
- Grievance Procedure - there is a grievance procedure which will be followed in the case of a complaint by a purchaser of a puppy under the Scheme. A copy of the Grievance Procedure is available on request.
There has been some misunderstanding about the Scheme expressed in the canine press so it must be stressed that the Assured Breeder Scheme is NOT any of the following:
- A Scheme designed to set certain breeders apart as elite
The Kennel Club recognises that there are some breeders who already offer their puppy buyers a service equal to or beyond the terms of the Scheme and who, for whatever reason, choose not to belong to it. For example, an established breeder who has a long list of people waiting for their puppies may not feel the need to promote their activities within the Scheme.
- A Scheme which only accepts highly experienced or well-established breeders
The Assured Breeder Scheme is very much about what breeders agree to do once they have joined, so, while the Kennel Club naturally wants established breeders to join, equally it feels that newer breeders should be encouraged to do all the right things and be recognised for doing so.
- A Scheme designed to make lots of money for the Kennel Club
The Kennel Club subsidises the cost of running the Assured Breeder Scheme and it is likely that it will always need to do so. The cost to the Kennel Club of running the Scheme far outweighs the fees charged to its members.
- A Scheme which recognises only breeders who have won lots of awards with their dogs
The Assured Breeder Scheme is concerned less with the points looked for in the show ring for example, than it is with the production of healthy, well-adjusted puppies for the puppy-buying public. Where breeders can achieve both, it is a bonus and other achievements over and above those enshrined in the scheme requirements are recognised by the additional accolades.
4. How Assured Breeder Scheme members are monitored
The Kennel Club takes compliance with the Scheme's requirements very seriously and has a robust system in place to ensure that members follow standards set by the Scheme, which include the following:
- All Applicants' records are checked prior to acceptance on the Scheme;
- Check of the health screening records for a member's breed is required;
- All members agree to be spot checked by the Kennel Club throughout their membership of the Scheme, in order to ensure our standards are maintained;
- The Kennel Club has a team of Regional Breeder Assessors located across the UK. As the Scheme grows in size, this team is expected to grow so that the scheme can continue to monitor the standards of its members;
- All new puppy buyers are given feedback forms by Assured Breeders that they return to us and if this does not happen then we look into the reason why. The Kennel Club receives hundreds of feedback forms from new puppy buyers each month; most of the feedback is positively glowing. However, if any concerns are highlighted then the Kennel Club investigates fully and takes the appropriate action. In some cases this might include removal from the scheme.
- All new puppy buyers are given feedback forms by Assured Breeders that they return to us and if this does not happen then we look into the reason why. The Kennel Club receives hundreds of feedback forms from new puppy buyers each month; most of the feedback is positively glowing. However, if any concerns are highlighted then the Kennel Club investigates fully and takes the appropriate action. In some cases this might include removal from the Scheme.
5. How does the Kennel Club check the properties of KCABs?
Upon joining the Assured Breeder Scheme, every member agrees to allow a Regional Breeder Assessor access to visit their premises at any time upon reasonable notice. Occasionally we may have a complaint about an Assured Breeder and we ensure that these too are dealt with as a matter of urgency. We also arrange randomly selected visits to ensure that good practices as outlined in the Scheme are followed. Every member of the Scheme is visited prior to joining and thereafter at least once every three years.
In addition to Breeder Assessor visits, we ask all puppy buyers to complete and return the feedback form that all Assured Breeders must give out at the point of sale. This allows the puppy buyer to, amongst other things, advise upon the conditions of the premises in relation to the housing of dogs and puppies.
6. When Assured Breeders breach requirements
It should be remembered that there can never be a guarantee with buying a dog. It is entirely possible that a problem can develop in a puppy that is entirely outside of the control of the breeder or even the owner. However, in the unfortunate event that someone has a problem with a puppy bought from an Assured Breeder, or they believe that a member is not upholding the standards of the Scheme, then there is a robust complaints procedure in place.
In the first instance, the problem should be discussed with the Breeder; most responsible breeders will wish to know of any issues at the earliest opportunity and may wish to help or attempt to resolve matters or give advice at an early stage.
If the breeder is unwilling to help or give advice then we have a complaints and appeals process in place regarding Assured Breeders.
Read the customer complaints procedure here.
Download a complaint form here.