Every single Kennel Club Assured Breeder will be inspected by the Kennel Club, a UKAS accredited certification body, in order to ensure that the scheme is recognised as the essential quality seal for puppy breeding and buying. The change will mean that UKAS accredited certification will be given to all breeders who have passed an Assessment Visit since 1st January 2014 and will be backdated for those breeders who have successfully passed an inspection in 2013.
Inspections will now be carried out for all new joiners, prior to their acceptance on the scheme, and every member will thereafter be inspected every three years or prior to each litter bred, as part of the Kennel Club’s commitment to continually improving the scheme. The increased inspection programme is essential in its role as a UKAS accredited certification body, a status granted in April 2013.
This more rigorous inspection process is in line with the wishes of the majority of Assured Breeders, who were surveyed by the Kennel Club in the summer and said that they would like to see additional inspections and added benefits.
Formerly, inspections were carried out on a risk assessed basis and normally only those members who bred more than two litters in a year were inspected. Other inspections were carried out randomly and in response to complaints, which will continue. The Kennel Club now has fifteen Standards Assessors, two of which are full time, and further recruitment will take place. The new requirement means that the Kennel Club will be inspecting many more breeders, and as a result the application fee and yearly membership fee will be increasing for the first time in the scheme’s ten year history.
From 1st January 2014 the application fee for new joiners will increase from £15 to £20.
The new Full Annual Membership fee will increase from £10 to £30, which will include the cost of an Assessment Visit. This annual fee will increase incrementally over the next two years, costing £45 from 1st January 2015 and £60 from 1st January 2016.
Existing Assured Breeders who do not wish to pay by direct debit or prefer to pay a reduced annual fee will be given the alternative option of paying a nominal Associate Membership fee of £12 annually, and a separate inspection fee of £167, applicable when they decide to breed their next litter. The inspection fee will provide UKAS Certification for a period of 3 years. The average cost of inspection and of maintaining somebody on the scheme is in excess of £200 over a three year period, so the changing fee structure will help to cover these costs. The Kennel Club will continue to subsidise membership fees as part of its commitment to improving dog health and welfare.
Assured Breeders are critical to the future of puppy breeding and buying in the UK and are deeply valued by the Kennel Club. In recognition of this, the Kennel Club and its partners and supporters are providing a comprehensive package of discounts which amount to a minimum of £300 annual savings, including Optigen DNA testing, health screening schemes with CVS Veterinary Group and for pet healthcare products with Pet Drugs Online.
Steve Dean, Kennel Club Chairman, said: “The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme is unique and those who are part of it are leading a quiet revolution in the way puppies are bred and sold.
“There is no other dog breeding scheme in the country whose members are inspected and there are no other breeders in the country who are certified by a UKAS accredited body, a status granted to the Kennel Club this year. This gives puppy buyers absolute assurance about the credentials of the breeders on the scheme and the strength of our inspection process.
“Before the Assured Breeder Scheme, it was difficult for puppy buyers to differentiate the good breeders from the rogue breeders but the message is now clear. If you want to buy a puppy that has been given the best possible start in life, go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.”
Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme Manager, said: “We have listened to the views of breeders and know that the majority wish to see more inspections, which will now take place. We urge every responsible breeder to join the scheme to give clear signposting to puppy buyers and we promise that we will be supporting and promoting you every step of the way.
“The Kennel Club has always subsidised the Assured Breeder Scheme as part of its commitment to dog health and welfare, and whilst we must increase fees for the first ever time to accommodate the Assessment Visits, which are mandatory for a UKAS-accredited body, we are putting in place additional benefits and discounted services to support our valued membership.
“Additionally, we will continue to promote Assured Breeders through our website, free Find a Puppy listings and through marketing and PR. This is part of our commitment to these responsible breeders who are joining the scheme and changing the future of puppy breeding and buying in this country.”