Registered dog breeders
You have now decided that your family will benefit from having a dog in the home. You have also considered the many variables you should take into account so helping you to make a wise choice.
There are over 200 different breeds of pedigree dogs, each with their own characteristics. As with people, certain characteristics may be an advantage in some situations but problematic (or at least a challenge) in others. Find out more about the characteristics of different breeds by visiting the Kennel Club website http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk . Better still, get first hand information by visiting Discover Dogs, an annual event organised by the Kennel Club which showcases nearly every dog breed.
You have also thought about the possibility of giving a home to a dog from a rescue shelter, but opted instead to get a new pedigree puppy. Great! What should you do now?
Where should you get a pedigree puppy?
When sourcing a healthy pedigree puppy it is the breeder that is the most important consideration. Buying a pedigree dog should not be done ‘on the cheap’ nor should it come from a disreputable source. Not all breeders have the same standards, and so by going to a responsible dog breeder you stand the best chance of getting a dog that will not only enjoy a happy and healthy life but will most enhance the life of your family.
Where can you find a responsible breeder?
The Kennel Club operates an Accredited Breeder Scheme and provides an up-to-date list of breeders with pedigree puppies currently available on its “find a puppy” service.
The scheme is an opt-in scheme for breeders, where they agree to follow basic good breeding practice requirements and recommendations as a minimum, which encourage the breeding of healthy, well-adjusted puppies. They make use of health screening schemes, such as testing for hip problems and eye conditions, which will help owners to predict the future health of their puppy. They will ensure the puppy is seen with its mother, to give an indication of how the puppy is likely to turn out. Any responsible dog breeder should be prepared to answer your questions about the breed. They will also give new owners written information regarding the socialisation and training of the puppy and will be there as a point of contact throughout the puppy’s life to ensure that the dog and owner have a happy and fulfilling relationship.
Find out more about the Accredited Breeder Scheme on http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/203 .
By searching and buying a pedigree dog via The Kennel Club “Find A Puppy” puppies for sale service, you can be reassured that only KC registered puppies are advertised, and that the breeders are accredited and so are expected to adhere to a code of ethics. A free e-mail alert option is available when new puppies are added.
Find out more about the “Find a puppy” service on http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/puppiesforsale .
If you are not able to find what you are looking for, or there are no breeders of your chosen breed currently listed, then you should contact the Breed Clubs. The Breed Club secretaries can provide you not only with expert advice on your particular breed of interest, but put you in touch with other breeders who may be able to help you with your search. Breed Club contact details can be found on (http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/480 )
What should you expect from a breeder?
You should be given the opportunity to see the puppy with its mother and the rest of litter.
You should have the opportunity to see all the puppies and be able to handle them, rather than just seeing the puppy being offered to you.
It is the responsibility of the breeder(s) to register the litter with the Kennel Club and each puppy in the litter will initially be registered in the breeder(s)’ name(s). The breeder(s) chooses the official Kennel Club names for all the puppies.
Under normal circumstances, litter registration with the Kennel Club takes about 14 days, after which time the breeder(s) will receive the registration certificates for all the puppies in the litter. If there is a query with the application the Kennel Club will contact the breeder to resolve and further action may be required which may delay the registration process.
If the dog is advertised as “Kennel Club Registered”, you should ensure that you take receipt of the Kennel Club Registration Certificate. You must then apply to the Kennel Club to transfer your dog into your own name. Please be aware that you will require the signature of the breeder(s) to complete this. If the registrations certificate is not available at the time of purchase, ensure that you receive an undertaking in writing from the breeder that this will be sent to you when available.
What information should the breeder provide?
It is recommended that the breeder provide you with a contract of sale. Amongst other things this should detail both the breeder(s)’ and your responsibility to the puppy. The contract should also list any official Kennel Club endorsements (restrictions) that the breeder has placed on the puppy’s records, and in particular on what basis the breeder may be prepared to remove the endorsement. Endorsements the breeder may place on your puppy include not for breeding and not for export. Before or at the time of sale, you must give a signed acknowledgement of any endorsement placed.
- Written advice on training, feeding, exercise, worming and immunisation
- A certificate of vaccination with a clear indication when the next dose is due
- A pedigree detailing your dog’s ancestry – this could either be hand-written or a printed pedigree from either the breeder or an official one from the Kennel Club.
- Copies of any additional health certificates for the sire and dam. Just like humans, some breeds of dogs can be affected by inherited conditions.
The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association offer three canine health schemes, which aim to detect and monitor certain inherited conditions. It is important that you are aware of these conditions and know the right questions to ask of breeders before buying a puppy. There are also some DNA tests now available for certain breeds. For specific breed information visit http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/breedhealth or consult your veterinarian.
Is there anything I should be careful about?
If a breeder doesn’t follow The Kennel Club guidelines, and if the puppies do not appear happy and are not kept in good conditions, then look elsewhere. Pedigree puppies sourced from pet shops or dealers may have originated from puppy farms. Such breeders are out to make a quick profit at the expense of the health and welfare of the puppies, and so should be avoided.
Problems with the dog you have purchased?
The purchase of a puppy is one of the most important decisions that a new owner may make. In the vast majority of cases both the breeder and new owner will be happy. However, what happens when things do not go as smoothly as they should and particularly where there is some doubt over a puppy’s pedigree?
It should be stressed The Kennel Club does not register breeders, and therefore is not able to become involved in disputes arising from the purchase of a dog. Your rights as a purchaser are based upon the contract you have made with the breeder. In the UK, the sale of a dog is covered under the general terms of the Sales of Goods Act 1979 and as such there will be legal rights and remedies available. (For more information www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1979/cukpga_19790054_en_1 )
However, it may be better first to approach the breeder and attempt to openly discuss any issues and to try and reach an amicable solution to any problems. It may be that there are also statutory rights under the Trades Description Act to explore and therefore your local Trading Standards Office or Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to give you some guidance. This applies both for breeder and owner. Alternatively, advice can be sought from a solicitor, although undoubtedly it is best to resolve any problems directly with the people concerned.
Pet Advertising Advisory Group
- The Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) was created in 2001 to combat the growing concern amongst animal welfare organisations regarding unethical classified advertising relating to pets. There were examples where such adverts were illegally offering dogs banned under the Dangerous Dog Act, endangered animals or advertising establishments which were not fit for the breeding or boarding of animals.
- The UK’s Animal Welfare Act (2006) imposes on the owner or keeper of an animal, a legal duty to ensure the welfare of the animal[s] in his/her care. A pet’s welfare needs include a proper diet, somewhere suitable to live, and any need to be housed with (or apart from) other animals. Animals should be kept in a way that allows them, as far as is practicable, to express normal behaviour and be free from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
- The PAAG is comprised of the following organisations: Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, The Blue Cross, Cats Protection, The Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, Wood Green Animal Shelters, DEFRA, Metropolitan Police, Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund and the RSPCA.
- The PAAG website ( http://www.paag.org.uk )offers downloadable advice booklets, practical tips and fillers for consumers and publishers alike and aims to promote best practice, provide uniformity, transparency and ultimately improve the welfare of the animals being bred, bought and sold via newspapers and online.