Dog breeders encouraged to complete certification program

October 26, 2017

Program was developed based on research and pilot testing led by Purdue University animal welfare faculty.

Canine Care Certified, a voluntary U.S. program that sets rigorous, science-based standards for dog breeders, is accepting applications for breeders across the country to become certified, according to a release from the group. This national outreach follows research and pilot testing of the program within the breeder community, which was led by faculty from Purdue University.

The program is based on standards of care (table of contents available here, prior to publication) developed by researchers at Purdue's Center for Animal Welfare Science in 2013, and was peer-reviewed by animal scientists, veterinarians and canine welfare experts. Pilot testing of the program, which was developed in response to a request from responsible breeders, has been taking place since 2015, the release states.

“For responsible breeders, there should be no more important business practice than ensuring the health and well-being of their dogs,” says Candace Croney, MS, PhD, director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science, in the release. “We took a hard, thorough look at the welfare status of the dogs we studied, public expectations and the relationship of breeders with their dogs. This research directly impacted the standards that address the dogs' physical and behavioral health. It is the backbone of this comprehensive and truly unprecedented program.”

An independent third-party auditing firm, Validus, completes onsite inspections of breeding facilities that apply and issues certificates to those who meet the standards of care. To begin the certification process, breeders are encouraged to create an account on the Canine Care Certified website. The onsite audit follows, the release states.

A portion of the pilot-testing breeders who participated in Purdue's research have passed the audit and become certified, while several others are in the process of implementing the standards in preparation for their audit, according to the release.

“Through our participation in the program, we have improved our documentation practices, enhanced public perception and awareness about responsible dog breeding, and highlighted our dedication to ensuring dogs are well cared for,” says Terry Buening of My PawPaws Puppies, one of the first breeders to receive certification. “This has been a heartwarming and comforting process for the new pet families we are working with daily. They don't have to assume anything about how the dog was raised. It's laid out for them in the standards.”

Current regulatory programs provide a minimum level of breeding standards as required by law, but none fully address areas such as behavior or socialization, the release states. Other voluntary programs don't have substantive measurement and evaluation provisions, representatives say. Canine Care Certified is available to all breeder who commit to meeting the standards, regardless of the size of their operation.