The Assured Breeder Visit Process

27th August 2014 - 11:00 AM

Assured Breeder Visits are designed to assess compliance with the Assured Breeder Scheme Standard. The standard is the rules and regulations that all ABS Members agreed to when joining the scheme. Full details can be found within the application form which is available here and further guidance notes for the scheme can be found here. All ABS assessments are conducted under United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) guidelines and gives the assessment process real credibility. 

What happens before, during and after a visit

The ABS Office allocates a list of visits to one of the Regional Breeder Assessors who in turn will contact the breeder either by phone or email to arrange a mutually convenient time for the visit. This can often be challenging due to location and availability of both the breeder and Assessor, which has in some cases resulted in delays before a visit can be arranged. A notification email or letter will then be sent to the breeder confirming what to expect during the visit. 

Dependant on the type and size of the premises and facilities, visits usually take around 1½ - 2 hours to complete. The content of the visit is a matter between the breeder and the Kennel Club and is completelyconfidential.

The Assessor will wish to sit down and chat about your dogs and your breeding programme.  This will also include viewing any records that you keep relating to the dogs and breeding. The Assessor will discuss where and how your puppies are whelped and reared and the measures you take to prepare them for their new owners. They will ask about their general welfare and how you keep your dogs, including their daily routine and how you interact with them on a daily basis. The Assessor will wish to view the general facilities, including food storage and where the dogs live, sleep, are exercised and where they are fed. The final part of the assessment is a review of the written information that you provide to new puppy owners.

The Assessor will guide you through the assessment process during the visit and as the visits are conducted under UKAS guidelines they are evidence based. This means the Assessor will wish to make notes and record information from documentation. In addition, the Assessor may ask if they can take photographs, as this is an effective means of substantiating the findings of the visit. Any use of photography is strictly controlled and only with permission from the breeder, will relate only to the dogs and their environment and is totally confidential. 

The Assessor will wish to view the following information during the visit

  • Name and address of your usual veterinary practice.
  • Registration certificates for the dogs.
  • Any Health Certificates
  • Microchip information
  • Vaccination records.
  • Breeding records

The Assessor will wish to take away copies of the information below

  • A copy of your Contract of Sale
  • A copy of your Stud Dog Contract (if applicable)
  • Copies of the written advice that you currently provide to your puppy buyers which should include advice on:
    • breed specific tendencies and traits (specifics about the breed, including health)
    • grooming (coat, ear, teeth and nail care)
    • socialisation (what you have done and future advice for socialisation)
    • exercise (the type and quantity required for a puppy and what is required of an adult dog)
    • training (basic advice of how to raise a puppy: basic obedience, crate training for example)
    • feeding advice/diet (feeding quantities, type and schedule for the puppy through to adult hood)
    • immunisation and worming (why we immunise and for what, why we worm regularly and a worming certificate for the puppy)

At the end of the visit the Assessor will discuss the outcome of the assessment with you and indicate their likely recommendation of either: satisfactory; satisfactory with some improvements; or unsatisfactory. The majority of assessments fall within the first two categories. In cases where serious breaches of scheme rules have occurred then further appropriate action can be taken, which can include suspension from the scheme until the issues are rectified. The reports will be submitted to the Assured Breeder Scheme Office and will undergo the certification process. Each individual report is reviewed by the office staff for accuracy and consistency before it is submitted to an independent verifier to confirm the outcome of the visit.

A copy of the report will be sent to the breeder generally within 6 weeks of the visit. If it is a successful visit the breeder will receive their UKAS Certificate and the Assured Breeder website will be updated with the date of the visit - 'the green tick'.If it is felt that there are any improvements or changes to be made before we can issue a breeder with their certificate then we will provide details of this in writing.

There is now an online feedback questionnaire which breeders can complete with their observations and experiences of the visit. Constructive feedback is welcomed to ensure that the Kennel Club maintain their high standards and best practice can be adopted during the visit process.  

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