Assured Breeder Scheme (information for pedigree puppy buyers)

Helping puppy buyers find their way

Once you have made the important decision to get a puppy would you know where to go to find a responsible breeder and a puppy who will be credit to both you and the breeder?

As a prospective new owner it is understandable to want some kind of reassurance that you are purchasing a pedigree puppy from someone whose priority is the health and welfare of the puppies that they breed.

Someone who will provide you with a quality, supportive and informative service both before and after you take your puppy home. One way to do this is to contact a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. The scheme promotes good breeding practices, giving prospective owners the best opportunity to bring home a healthy, well adjusted puppy. As a puppy buyer there is now some kind of benchmark to help you in your search to find a responsible breeder.

While the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme is a good starting point for people wanting to find their way in the sometimes tricky process of choosing a puppy, it is not the only route to finding a suitable breeder as the Breed Clubs and Societies are also an excellent resource.

UKAS accreditation

The Kennel Club is the only organisation accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to certify dog breeders, under the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme. This means that puppy buyers can have confidence that Assured Breeders meet and maintain the standards set by the Kennel Club, which are in place to ensure that their puppies have the best chance of leading healthy, happy lives.

How to find a Kennel Club Assured Breeder

Kennel Club Assured Breeders who use the Kennel Club Find a Puppy service to advertise their puppies are flagged to show that they are assured. The Assured Breeder Scheme Team can provide contact details for Assured Breeders of your chosen breed, but please bear in mind that not all of these breeders will currently have puppies available.

Scheme requirements and recommendations

Assured Breeders are required to:

  1. Ensure that all breeding stock is Kennel Club registered
  2. Hand over the dog's signed registration certificate at time of sale if available, or forward it to the new owner as soon as possible
  3. Explain any endorsements that might pertain and obtain written and signed confirmation from the new owner, at or before the date on which the dog is physically transferred, that the new owner is aware of the endorsement(s), regardless of whether or not the endorsed registration certificate is available
  4. Follow Kennel Club policy regarding maximum age and number/frequency of litters
  5. Permanently identify breeding stock (owned or offered at stud) by microchip, tattoo or DNA profile.  Puppies must also be permanently identified prior to sale, unless otherwise advised in writing by a veterinary surgeon.  Where dogs or puppies are microchipped or tattooed, the relevant number must be registered on a national database.
  6. Make use of  health screening schemes, relevant to their breed, on all breeding stock. These schemes include  DNA testing, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and inherited eye conditions
  7. Socialise the puppies and provide written advice, in the Puppy Sales Wallet, on continuation of socialisation, exercise and future training
  8. Provide written advice, in the scheme Puppy Sales Wallet, on grooming, as well as on feeding and worming programmes
  9. Provide a written record, in the Puppy Sales Wallet, on the immunisation measures taken
  10. Provide reasonable post-sales telephone advice
  11. Inform buyers of the requirements and the recommendations that apply to Kennel Club Assured Breeders as well as the existence of the complaints procedure (complaints form available here)
  12. Draw up a contract of sale for each puppy and provide a copy in the Puppy Sales Wallet
  13. Provide a list of breed specific features and characteristicss or any further breed specific advice or information that may enhance the puppy buyers understanding of the breed they are buying
  14. Ensure that the puppy has been inspected by a veterinary surgeon prior to sale, and pass any record of veterinary treatment or examination to the new owner.

In addition there are a number of recommendations that Assured Breeders should follow:

  • Make sure that whelping facilities accord with requirements for good practice
  • Ensure that contract of sale clearly lays out to the buyer the nature and details of any guarantee given (e.g. time limit) and/or any provisions for refund or return and replacement of puppy. If endorsements are being used the contract should also explain why these have been placed and under what circumstances they would be removed (if any). The contract should be signed and dated by both breeder and purchaser, showing that both have agreed to these terms
  • Commit to help, if necessary, with the re-homing of a dog, for whatever reason, throughout the dog's lifetime
  • Follow relevant breed health screening recommendations

Taking steps to breeding happy healthy puppies

The health and welfare of the puppy you buy will always be your primary concern.  A puppy’s health is dependent on a number of factors, some of which can be controlled by a breeder and some of which, unfortunately, cannot.  A breeder can never guarantee that a puppy they sell will always be healthy, but they can take steps to ensure that the puppies they produce will have the best possible start in life, and therefore have the best chance of remaining clear of hereditary and/or preventable illnesses. 

The Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme ensures that its members follow good practices and that the puppies bred are as happy and healthy as they can be. If something should go wrong, an Assured Breeders will be there to help and support you, with the added reassurance that if you do encounter an issue which cannot be easily resolved, the Kennel Club may be able to offer additional help and guidance.

Buying a puppy from an Assured Breeder should not only give you the peace of mind that you are buying a dog from a responsible source, but can also save you money in the long run too.  Figures from insurance claims data (released by Agria Pet Insurance) have revealed that dogs bred by Assured Breeders cost their owners around 18 per cent less in unplanned veterinary fees and are also 23 per cent less likely to need to visit the vet.

We know that there are, of course, responsible breeders outside of the Assured Breeder Scheme, but the Scheme is the only way we can signpost puppy buyers to breeders who we know are doing everything they should be for their pups.  If a breeder is not an Assured Breeder then we do not inspect or monitor them and so we cannot say with any certainty if they breed in a responsible way or not.

Complaints and Appeals Process

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.

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Testimonials

"I decided to join the scheme because I wanted the confidence and the reassurance that I was doing all of the right things by my girls and the breed"

"As a novice breeder, it was reassuring to be able to tick the boxes and to have access to help and guidance."

"I was proud of my reputation as a breeder [...] to show the public that good breeders are serious when it comes to health and welfare of our dogs and puppies."

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