The Kennel Club has once again received a successful UKAS audit, its sixth since being granted accreditation by the UK’s foremost accreditation body in 2013.
The Kennel Club is still the only organisation in the UK to receive UKAS accreditation to certify dog breeders, which it does under its Assured Breeder Scheme, ensuring that scheme members take all the necessary steps to breed quality, healthy puppies.
Accreditation by UKAS was recommended by Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, in the Independent Inquiry into Dog Breeding in January 2010, as an important step to give puppy buyers a clear indication of who they should trust, as there is too much confusion in the puppy buying market and too many rogue breeders. Since the report, the situation has got even worse with people taking advantage of the relaxation of pet travel laws, which makes it easier to bring sickly puppies, bred under extremely low welfare standards, into the UK from abroad.
The ABS recognises and rewards good breeding practice and aims to work with breeders and puppy buyers to force irresponsible breeders out of business. Breeders joining the scheme commit to meeting and maintaining high standards to better the health and welfare of their puppies and breeding stock.
Assured Breeders are required to provide puppy buyers with a ‘puppy information pack’ containing guidance to assist them with the ongoing care and socialisation of their puppy. They agree to provide post-sales help and advice and, in the unfortunate event that a puppy buyer can no longer care for their puppy, will assume responsibility for re-homing.
Assured Breeders are required to allow the Kennel Club’s trained Regional Breeder Assessors to visit their premises to conduct an inspection and a review of their husbandry practices and breeding records. For those scheme members who are new to breeding, this offers an opportunity to seek guidance and advice to develop their breeding programme, and for established members it is an opportunity to discuss any issues or ideas face to face.
Regional Breeder Assessors conducted more than 800 assessment visits during 2019, including initial assessments to new joiners and return visits to existing members, as all Assured Breeders must be visited at least every three years. There are around 4,000 active members of the ABS.
Jacquie Easton, Chief Operating Officer at the Kennel Club, said: “Responsible dog breeders are passionate about producing puppies which live healthy, happy lives, and they fulfil all the expectations that responsible owners demand. But it is only Kennel Club Assured Breeders that are bound to this commitment by agreeing to mandatory health testing of their breeding animals where relevant to their breed, by opening their doors to allow inspection and by being committed to providing a service to puppy buyers throughout the life of the animal. Indeed many of our members go above and beyond the scheme’s requirements.
“Membership of the ABS is the simplest and easiest way for us all to work together and ensure that puppy buyers find a responsible breeder and are not duped by somebody who is less committed to breeding healthy dogs. This is why the Kennel Club is delighted to have received the seal of approval for its Assured Breeders from UKAS yet again.”