Methods of permanent identification

There are currently three methods of permanently identifying a dog - by microchip, tattoo or DNA profile - and the Kennel Club believes that all three have a role to play in helping to reunite dogs with their owners, should they go missing.

It is a requirement of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme that all members must permanently identify any dog which is to be bred from, and all three methods of identification are accepted. Since January 2010, all dogs presented under the BVA/KC Canine Health Schemes must also be permanently identified by either microchip or tattoo.

The only method of permanent identification now deemed suitable by Defra under the Pet Travel Scheme is the microchip, with no dog born after 4thJuly 2011 allowed to travel overseas purely on the strength of a tattoo. Given the number of dogs which routinely travel overseas with their owners since the relaxation of quarantine restrictions, the Kennel Club feels that this is a significant reason to choose microchipping as the preferred method of identification at the present time.

The Kennel Club has spent a considerable amount of time assessing the pros and cons of all three methods of permanent identification. It feels that its support for microchipping as the preferred method is further supported by the lack of people trained to be able to carry out tattooing. Tattooing may fade with time, can be difficult to detect on darker coated dogs and is considered to be more painful to the animal than implanting a microchip.  DNA profiling - while the most 'fool proof' of all - does not allow for 'instant' identification of a found dog though it may be used as confirmation of the identification of a dog in the event of any uncertainty using the other two methods.

Last updated - November 2013

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