Despite recent improvements to the Kennel Club's Assured Breeder Scheme, almost 10 years after it launched, the KC is still bestowing Assured status on many breeders without inspecting them. And even when a breeder has been inspected, years may pass before they are checked again.
This week, ABS breeders Sue and Sarah Stacey, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, were banned from keeping dogs for 10 years after 13 dogs, including the French Bulldog above, were found living in squalor (full story here).
A quick check reveals that Sarah Stacey has been an ABS breeders since October 2008.
The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) is the only scheme in the UK that monitors breeders in order to protect the welfare of puppies and breeding bitches. The Kennel Club has recently received formal accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to certify dog breeders under the Assured Breeder Scheme.
"Names of new members are published in the Kennel Gazette and effectively 'policed' by breed clubs who report names that are, in their opinion, inappropriate candidates to us. If this happens then the Kennel Club investigates carefully."
Family home run cattery where we personally look after your precious pets in a quiet setting. Cattery inspections always welcome.So the scheme is mostly reactive, not proactive. One would hope that bad breeders will be picked up sometime down the line. But there are no guarantees. In other words, a puppy you buy from an ABS breeders may not be any better than one produced in the most squalid puppy farm.
New for 2009 Fully qualified City & Guilds
Dog Grooming Salon opened by Sarah Stacey.
Dog training and behavioural corrections undertaken in our secure back field. We have over 30 years experience with all breeds of dogs.
Of the 42 new Pug breeders awarded ABS status in 2013, only one of them has been inspected. Five of these new uninspected breeders are currently advertising litters on the KC's Puppy Finder.
Several of the above new Frenchie and Pug breeders have registered five or more litters with the KC and still haven't been inspected.
When I put the figures to the Kennel Club, it maintained that there were always around 200-300 applications "in process" - in other words, that more of the new members above could have been inspected; it's just not showing yet on the KC website. But it wouldn't have been hard to give me the actual figures and when the KC fudges it like this, it is usually a sign that the KC doesn't want the world to know the full extent of its shortcomings. Don't forget, too, that "200-300 applications in process" doesn't just relate to Pugs and Frenchies - it's across all 200-odd breeds registered by the KC.
Frenchies and Pugs have exploded in popularity in recent years. There are loads of breeders cashing in on them. Additionally, are no mandatory health tests for either breed under the ABS, despite both breeds having a holy host of health problems. (The KC does list that an annual eye test and a DNA test for hereditary cataracts is recommended but ABS breeders are not obliged to do them.)
The upshot is that anyone who goes to an ABS breeder for two of today's hottest breeds is in danger of being conned. These breeders may be selling you rubbish pups raised in squalor, like the poor French Bulldogs above. After all, even the shittiest breeder has a half-decent front room into which pups and an adult female (which may or not be the pups real mum) can be brought in for your perusal.
Here's what we need to know about every ABS breeder in addition to what's already listed on the KC website.
• dates of all inspections - inc prior to UKAS accreditation (currently, you have to contact the KC to ask for details on any inspections prior to 2013)
• the number of litters/pups in total they have registered with the KC (a useful way of identifying volume breeders posing as hobby breeders).
• percentage of feedback forms returned by puppy-buyers
• feedback rating from puppy-buyers
And, of course, we need every breeder inspected prior to acceptance on the scheme - or clearly identified as provisional members only, pending an inspection. Anything else is just a nonsense.
I have only had time to go through Pugs and French Bulldogs and would like to put together some stats for the other Top 20 KC-registered breeds. Could you help?
A list of ABS breeders for every breed can be found here. If it's a breed with a large number of breeders, they will be broken down by county. Pick any county and near the top of the page you'll find a link from which to download a pdf of every ABS breeder for that breed.
The KC Puppy Finder is here - ABS breeders are marked and always at the top of the list.
The information I am looking for per breed is:
• number of new ABS breeders for 2013
• number of these new breeders marked as inspected (NB the KC only lists inspections done since Jan 2013)
• number of these new breeders (uninspected/inspected) currently advertising litters on the KC Puppy Finder
• number of these new breeders (uninspected/inspected) listed with a triangle containing the letter B (which means they have registered five or more litters with the KC).
If you are willing to take on a breed, please state below to avoid a duplicated effort - and then ideally please send the actual figures to me: jem[AT]pedigreedogsexposed.com.