Marie Burns, 46, from County Durham, first became an Assured Breeder in 2013. Since joining, she has bred six litters of Westie puppies and became a certified breeder under the UKAS accredited scheme after receiving an assessment visit in March 2016. Here she explains why she joined the Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) and her experiences so far.
How did you come to be Assured Breeders? What were your reasons or motivations for joining the Scheme?
We both think promoting responsible breeding is very important for the benefit of the breed and want to be part of that and support the Assured Breeder Scheme in achieving this.
How have you found being Assured Breeders? Do you find it helps locate suitable puppy buyers?
After being in the breed for a number of years people get to know about you and most of our puppy enquiries do come from recommendations. However we do get a good number of calls from the Kennel Club website from being listed as Assured Breeders.
Do you agree with the ABS principles of promoting responsible breeding practices?
Absolutely, yes. This is a breed we love and want to safeguard it for the future.
Many people say they feel "nervous" before having an ABS visit, but surely you won't have been?
I suppose having someone come in to inspect you home is a bit nerve racking, but if you are doing everything correct then there is nothing to worry about. In my job (grooming training school) my work premises are audited annually, I like to think that the inspection is not to find problems but to highlight the things I am doing right and also those that I can change to make my operations better. So I looked on my visit as a positive thing, the Kennel Club RBA (Regional Breeder Assessor) is coming out to help me make any changes that I need to for the benefit of my dogs. They are there to help breeders, not find problems.
How did your ABS visit go? What was your Assessor like?
We actually enjoyed the visit. The assessor was very professional and informative. It was lovely to talk dogs with someone with the same interest.
Did you find you had to make a lot of changes to become an Assured Breeder? Is there a lot of paperwork or "red tape"?
No not at all. We already give new owners a comprehensive file of information to help them look after their puppy correctly, and found I was already doing the things an Assured Breeder should be.
Are there any changes you would like to see for the Assured Breeder Scheme?
We have watched the Assured Breeder Scheme develop over the years and feel that changes that have been made over this time are what makes this scheme work so well.
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering becoming an Assured Breeder?
I would recommend the scheme to all other breeders. As I have said earlier, the aim of the ABS is to help you achieve good animal care - something all of us want to give our dogs.
For more information on the Assured Breeder Scheme please click here.