Breeder assessment visits

Labrador asleep with a small house sat beside them

We visit all our Assured Breeders to make sure that they are following our schemes rules, to give them information about the scheme and as an opportunity to talk face-to-face with them in their own surroundings.

When can I expect a breeder assessment?

  • Before being accepted on to our scheme, all applicants need to be assessed and inspected by one of our regional breeder assessors (RBAs)
  • All current members are routinely inspected at least once every three years
  • We may arrange a random visit to check that the rules of the scheme are being followed
  • We may need to arrange an inspection to investigate a complaint

Who carries out breeder assessments?

We're the only organisation accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to certify dog breeders under our Assured Breeders scheme. All of our visits are carried out by highly trained and experienced regional breeder assessors. Most of our assessors are experienced dog breeders with a good understanding of the issues and problems faced by breeders.

Our assessors are trained in the visit process and have usually seen a variety of different circumstances, from owners with a single animal that they plan to breed from, to kennels with 50 dogs or more. Although no two visits, or circumstances, are the same, the standards applied remain so.

We have a team of regional breeder assessors around the country. All current regional breeder assessors have passed an initial assessment and receive continual training and assessment. The training and assessment processes are carried out to standards audited by UKAS as part of our certification process.

What is UKAS?

To ensure that our scheme is robust and impartial, we are accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to certify breeders on our scheme.

What is UKAS?
We are recognised by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) as a certification and inspection body and, as such, we are able to issue UKAS accredited certificates to members of our Assured Breeders scheme.

UKAS is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess against internationally agreed standards. It is a level of quality assurance that means that we are checked and audited by UKAS, in a similar way to the way that breeders are checked during a visit by us. UKAS accreditation demonstrates that we have been assessed against internationally recognised standards to demonstrate our competence, impartiality and performance capability.

This gives confidence to puppy buyers that our Assured Breeders are part of a robust scheme that effectively monitors them. As such, puppy buyers will have the best possible chance of buying a well reared and healthy puppy.

Our Assured Breeders scheme is audited on a regular basis in order to ensure that it meets the UKAS quality standards.

Find out more about UKAS.

Arranging a visit

One of our assessors (not our office staff) will contact you directly to arrange a visit. We’ll then send you an email to confirm the date and provide you with information on what to expect on the day of the visit.

Although we do not accept cancellations, we do understand that, under exceptional circumstances, an appointment may need to be postponed. In these cases, we would expect you to contact us as soon as possible to arrange another visit date.

During the visit

Visits normally take between one to two hours, depending on the size of your premises, how many dogs you have and what facilities are available. 

As soon as they arrive, our assessor will show you their Kennel Club identification and will wish to discuss three main areas:

Background information

The first part of the visit will include a discussion to understand your breeding practices. You'll be asked questions to confirm that the records we hold are correct. Our assessor will want to know how many dogs you have, where they live and sleep and what your daily routine is. They will also ask questions about where you store your dog food, where it is prepared and what you feed them. You'll also be asked about your plans in case of a fire or an emergency and who could look after the dogs if something unforeseen happened to you.

Canine management and facilities
Our assessor will want to see where and how your dogs are kept. We recognise that many breeders breed dogs in their own home, where the dogs live as family pets, and have no special facilities. Nevertheless, our assessors will want to see where they live, sleep and exercise and to see that they are happy and content.

This means ensuring that:
  • Dogs are housed in clean and comfortable conditions with adequate heat and ventilation, with particular regard to the dogs 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 well-being, and that they are in the care or supervision of a fit and responsible person
  • Dogs are kept in 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 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 prevent the spread of infectious or contagious diseases

Our assessor will want to see the paperwork and the puppy pack that you give to new owners. We often advise breeders to imagine that the assessor is a puppy buyer and they need 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 features and characteristics
  • Socialisation
  • Training

If you need any help creating a puppy pack, then we offer guidance on paperwork for assured breeders.

During this discussion, our assessor will also want to see how you keep your breeding records. This will of course vary from breeder to breeder and there are no set requirements on how you keep your records. However, our assessor will want to be assured that they are at least clear and identifiable and provide an insight into your record keeping.

Once the visit is finished, our assessor will be pleased to answer any questions that you have about the scheme, or the visit process, and may use this time to discuss any issues they have.

After the visit

Afterwards, our assessor will complete a written report and return this to the office. This will be assessed and a copy of the report will be sent to you, along with confirmation of the outcome of the visit. The report is confidential and remains a matter between the breeder and us.

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

Further actions and improvements

In some cases, there may be some further actions that you need to take to continue your scheme membership. These will be detailed on an improvements sheet, which may list immediate improvements that you need to make, or observations you need to sort out before your next visit.

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 you to make the improvements (usually 30 days).

Once those improvements have been made, we ask that you provide evidence that you have made the necessary improvements required. This may simply be amended paperwork or submitting evidence, such as photographs of repairs to kennels. In some cases, we may require a further visit to be carried out to verify that the improvements have been adequately met.

If a breeder disagrees with the findings of the assessor, there is an appeal process that may result is a second opinion.

The visit process is a cornerstone of our Assured Breeders scheme and provides assurance that our breeders are adopting all our principles of responsible breeding. 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.