New Certification Available for Breeders



Canine Care Certified, a national, voluntary program that sets rigorous, science-based standards for dog breeders, is now accepting applications from breeders nationwide to become certified. The broad introduction follows extensive research and pilot testing within the breeder community, which was led by faculty at Purdue University.


The program is based on the Standards of Care, which were developed in 2013 by researchers at Purdue’s Center for Animal Welfare Science, and was peer-reviewed by animal scientists, veterinarians and canine welfare experts. The certification program, developed at the request of a group of responsible breeders, has been pilot tested with breeders since early 2015.


“This is a program with expansive reach, deep substance and pilot testing to ensure it works,” said Dr. Candace Croney, director of Purdue’s Center for Animal Welfare Science. “For responsible breeders, there should be no more important business practice than ensuring the health and well-being of their dogs. 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. The program is voluntary and a way for breeders to assure the public that they are doing the right thing for their dogs.”


An independent, third-party auditing firm, Validus, inspects breeders onsite who apply for the program and issues certificates to those who meet the stringent Standards of Care. To begin the process of certification, breeders are encouraged to create an account on the Canine Care Certified website. Upon confirmation of their application materials, they must complete an onsite audit by Validus.


“As an experienced third-party verifier to numerous animal care and wellbeing standards, the Canine Care Certified program has been a natural extension of our core area of expertise,” said Matt Jones, VP of operations for Validus. “When you have a science-based standard that has been thoughtfully developed and well piloted it makes it easy for us to implement and maintain a program of this nature.”


Current regulatory programs provide a minimum level of standards as required by law, and unlike the Canine Care Certified program, they do not fully address areas such as behavior or socialization. Other voluntary programs do not have substantive measurement and evaluation provisions. Furthermore, the Canine Care Certified program is available to any breeder, regardless of size, that commits to meeting the standards.  


Canine Care Certified is administered by the Center for Canine Welfare, a national, non-profit organization. While a number of pet-related organizations including the World Pet Association and the American Kennel Club have publicly supported the program, none of the organizations had any direct or indirect involvement in the research or the development of the Standards of Care.


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