Breeders and coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQs

Last updated: 27 May 2020

Given the rapidly changing situation, please regularly check the latest government advice across EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland and continually assess your own situation based on this information and where you are in the UK. The Kennel Club is in regular contact with Defra to keep up-to-date on developments.

The full guidance on complying with the most recent measures in England is available on the GOV.UK website:

For information on our health testing schemes during this period click here.

Guidance for pet owners is available from the government here.

I have a litter of puppies due. What is the advice about visiting families?

Government advice is to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with others, so if you already have a litter of puppies, keep in contact with and update new owners by phone, email, video calls, and sending photos – not visits to your home.

What about puppies which would be ready to go to their new homes during lockdown?

As a priority we must all be following government measures, which is to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with others.

Of course however, we recognise the significant animal welfare concerns for those puppies already born or conceived. Following the new guidelines set out by government (13th May), the Kennel Club and other experts have updated short-term emergency advice specifically for breeders and others involved in pet businesses based in England, which can be viewed here.

This advice, which has been approved by Defra, sets out that new owners in England may now (15th May) collect a puppy by prior arrangement when the sale has already been agreed, and as long as you adhere to social distancing and hygiene requirements. The puppy must be at least eight weeks of age and any viewing of them with their mother and litter mates can be achieved remotely.  

Further guidance on how this can be done safely is available here.

It is important to note that at present, all other existing legal obligations, such as microchipping your puppies prior to sale and any licensing conditions, remain in force. Issues related to licensing should be raised with the relevant local authority.

In the rest of the UK, for those who are in the business of breeding, then you are able to leave your house to travel for the purposes of work as long as you adhere to social distancing and hygiene requirements.  Likewise, where keeping puppies longer than originally planned is becoming a significant welfare concern for those who breed but aren’t considered as a ‘business’, then it is possible that this will be deemed a reasonable excuse to leave your house, with regard to the Covid-19 regulations (please note these differ by nation within the UK). Other factors such as financial hardship, or mental health issues associated with keeping the puppies longer may also meet the legal threshold for leaving your home to transport the puppies.

How can people socialise their puppies at this time?

Of course it’s more difficult to socialise puppies at this time. Some practical tips you can do at home to help socialise your pups include:

  • Play different sounds to them via your phone or computer, like traffic noises, dog barks, other animal noises, and anything else your pups might not be experiencing in real life while we are staying at home more.
  • Make additional efforts to get them outside in your garden to experience as many sights and sounds as possible, but at a safe distance for you and others around you.
  • Get them used to different environments and everyday situations where you can, for example hoover around them, show them the washing machine while it’s on, if you’re near a road show them it at a safe distance, etc. 

Will there be a delay of registering my puppies with the Kennel Club if the offices are closed?

There are currently no delays with any of our registration services.  However during this time, we would strongly advise that customers use the online methods where possible as there may be unavoidable delays to postal applications.

We were planning a litter but should we now delay this?

This has to be personal decision, based on your individual situation and risk assessment of this, but do consider the difficulties around socialising puppies in the current climate, the potential of you getting poorly and not being able to care for your puppies or dogs, whether your local vet will be able to assist if needed and how to deal with prospective owners responsibly when the public have been told they must stay at home and avoid others unless absolutely essential, and the situation is changing rapidly.

Depending on how the situation evolves, do also consider that you may need to keep your puppies for longer than eight weeks, and whether you will be in a position to care for your puppies for as long needed during uncertain times.

How can I best take care of my puppies and dogs during this period?

It’s important to follow government advice depending on your situation. If you have symptoms of the virus and feel unwell, the advice is to self-isolate and this includes physical contact with your dog/s and/or puppies – as hard as it may be. If you live alone and become unwell and need to self-isolate, a friend or family member may be able to care for your dog/s and/or puppies for you.

Otherwise, if you have puppies, are feeling well but staying at home and away from others, take extra hygiene precautions: try to avoid your puppies or dogs licking your face, keep your puppies as clean as you can and always wash your hands with soap and water after touching them, preparing their food, and cleaning their sleeping and toileting area.

Make sure anyone in your household where you are rearing the puppies follows these measures. There is no evidence that dogs can get or transmit Covid-19, but these measures are to reduce the likelihood of your pet spreading the disease through environmental contamination on their fur – so it’s essential to increase hygiene precautions.

Keep your puppies mentally and physically active – start training early, play games and let your puppies socialise with each other in the home and outdoors, where it is safe to do so.

Will vets still be on hand to assist if something goes wrong?

Government advice is to stay at home and avoid others, unless absolutely necessary, so if your dog or puppy needs vet care during this period, call your vet in the first instance. Don’t leave the house to go to your vet if you are self-isolating.

Vets are classed as ‘key workers’ so you will be able to get advice from your vet if you call them.

What should I do if I need to get my puppies vaccinated or microchipped?

Guidance from the British Veterinary Association now states that primary vaccinations and year 1 boosters in dogs could go ahead (as of 14th April 2020) as an essential service, and that microchipping could be undertaken if the puppy is already in the practice for an essential service. However, veterinary practices may vary in their approach due to individual circumstance, so call your vet in the first instance to ask them what they recommend and what procedures they are carrying out at this time.

We’re here to support breeders however we can, and will update this information as soon as we can.

Is it safe for someone else to take care of dogs that I breed from if I'm taken ill or have to self-isolate?

A friend or relative may be able to care for your dog/s for you if you have symptoms, or are vulnerable or elderly, but let them know in advance if you are self-isolating and follow government guidelines when handing over your dog/s, maintaining social distancing measures. Always wash your hands before and after handling your dog/s and preparing their food, and ask whoever cares for your dog/s to do so as well.

Further government guidelines on how to safely help others during the pandemic can be found here.

Assured Breeder Scheme 

When will you be starting the visits again as mine has been cancelled?

 We are suspending all certification visits for the foreseeable future. All new applications, or applications pending a certification visit, will be placed on hold until further notice. The Kennel Club is monitoring the situation closely and will align to Government advice and information. We will keep all members updated on this situation and thank them for their understanding at this time.

What happens if I can’t get my dog health tested?

In light of the developments relating to Covid-19, the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme recognises that, in some cases, health testing may be impacted. If this is likely to affect you and your breeding plans, you will be required to contact the ABS team prior to the date of mating via email on

I have already applied, how will this affect my application?

Your application will be processed as usual, however, no visits will be booked until further notice. We will be reviewing the situation continuously as Government information changes.

Can my puppies go to their new homes before 8 weeks old?

Usual standards will apply, please refer to The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme Standard for further information.

What happens if I cannot pay my renewal fee?

Membership renewal notices are sent out one month prior to the annual renewal date. If payment is not received, membership status becomes inactive. Assured Breeders whose memberships are inactive due to a missing payment are able to renew at a later date to bring their membership up to date, however their membership renewal date will always remain the same.

What happens to my payment now my application has been put on hold?

If your application is placed on hold, then your payment will be held in place with your application on file. Renewal payments will only be activated after your visit has taken place and your visit report completed.

I have a litter to register and a pending ABS Application, can I register my litter?

Litter registration applications can still be submitted to the Kennel Club but these must be made under the standard Kennel Club registration system. Providing the requirements of registration have been met, you will receive confirmation from the Kennel Club once your litter is registered. Please note, you are only eligible to register non-ABS litters whilst you are not a member of the scheme

*Timelines are provided as a guide only and may be subject to revision, in accordance with government advice and guidelines.

Can I still join the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme but have a visit at a later date?

New applications will still be accepted, however, no visits will be booked until further notice. We will be reviewing the situation continuously as Government information changes.



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