Monday 22 November 2010

Kennel Club - still registering puppy-farmed dogs

This Welsh puppy farm registers its puppies with the KC           ©Puppy Love
The Kennel Club  today announced that from January 2012 (why the wait?) it will not normally register more than four litters from one bitch.  This is two-better than current legislation which sets the limit at six litters per bitch, and the move (a good one) is designed - in part - to clamp down on puppy farmers.

Not that the KC news release actually says this as the KC doesn't like to admit that it registers puppy-farm dogs.

In fact, the KC seeks to distance itself from puppy-farming in this announcement by saying: “Of course, this decision will sadly not impact on those people who do not register their litters with the Kennel Club, in particular puppy farmers who breed purely for profit and tend to show little consideration for an animal’s welfare. Legislation needs to be tightened so that these people can be brought to account.”

But the KC itself needs to tighten up on this issue.

Here's what Ronnie, from campaign group Puppy Love, has to say.

""Limiting litters from individual bitches is a step in the right direction," says Ronnie. "But you've got to bear in mind that some puppy farmers who register their pups with the KC have 100 bitches or more. This move won't effect them at all. We would like the Kennel Club to not register puppies from any breeder that has more than four of five breeding bitches because keeping any more than that is so open to abuse."

As it happens, I think it's possible to keep one or two more bitches than this and breed responsibly. But it irritates that the KC continues to publicly tut-tut about puppy farms while taking money from puppy-farmers by registering their puppies.

What else could they do? How about that any breeder/kennel that registers more than five litters a year should be subject to a KC inspection?

Anyone currently producing five or more litters a year should be visited and licensed by their local authority but licensing departments are often understaffed and underfunded so the checks aren't done. The KC does not have a system for alerting local authorities when a breeder registers five or more litters a year (even though it has the data and even though the breeders are breaking the law if they are unlicensed) and so high-volume breeders slip through the net that way, too.

At the moment, only breeders signed up to the KC's Accredited Breeder Scheme (ABS) are visited by the KC (and even then not all of them).

Inspecting higher-volume breeders on the KC's general register is surely feasible? Given an average of, what, 4 pups a litter,  at £12 each for registration - that's £240 the KC takes for registering five litters. Surely that's enough to cover the cost of a visit? After all, the KC has recently appointed a number of area reps to do inspections of Accredited Breeders and the KC doesn't pay them - it only covers expenses.


  1. Ah! that's the KC covering their @rses!! They know that folks are asking for breeders details ie numbers of litters registered per breeder to show that puppy farmers DO indeed register a huge number of litters.

    Perhaps the KC should start with being open and transparent and doing the same with their Accredited Breeder Scheme. Why in god's name any breeder would wish to remain hidden is beyond me .............. that is of course if they are genuine good health testing breeders.

  2. This bit got me

    "The club also called for other aspects of its breeders' code to be made mandatory by the government. This would include all breeders having to give their dogs required health tests for their breed and ensuring that potential buyers saw puppies with their mothers and in their home environment."

    Yoo Hoo! KC wakey! wakey! Aren't you just saying "Ban the Sales of Puppies in Pet Shops", so why not come right out and say it - stand by your decision?? Be like your precious breed standards, have some ........... well, Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

  3. Now this doesn't stack up either

    "The Kennel Club has told members it will not normally register more than the first four litters bred from one animal and wants the government to lower the legal limit of six in line with its new guidance."

    and in the next breath

    "Very serious consideration has to be given to the matter if a breeder wishes a bitch to have more than four litters but the Kennel Club may grant permission for this to happen if it believes that there is good and justifiable reason for doing so on a case-by-case basis."

    Tut! tut! KC you ask the government to change the law but are setting out occasions when you will assist breeders to break the new rules, hmmm?

  4. Goodness.. I may be about to defend the KC... It says a possible exemption might be if a bitch has only had one pup in a previous litter. That doesn't sound totally unreasonable to me.

  5. And re the KC's position on pet shops, surely the KC HAS said that it is against puppies being sold in pet shops?

  6. Anon wrote: "They know that folks are asking for breeders details ie numbers of litters registered per breeder to show that puppy farmers DO indeed register a huge number of litters."

    But this move won't prevent that - it is not limiting the number of litters in total, just the number per bitch.

  7. Dogs should be bred in a home environment with love and consideration, the KC should do more to ensure any registered dog is leading a fulfilling life. Instead some live in the most awful squalor, riddled with disease and painful hereditary complaints.  Its time dog breeding in our country moved into the 20th century and who better to set an example than Kennel Club instead of just paying lip service and trying to convince the public they care. A the moment KC reg means very little.
    Some KC breeders kennel dogs 24/7 because they have no time to exercise so many dogs or give them individual care.  These kind of breeders are breeding for monetary gain alone with the KC giving them credibility.   They try to convince the public they want an end to puppy farming but do they really, it would be a great financial loss for them.    

  8. Problem is, what's the definition of 'breeding bitch'? Any intact female, whether or not there are plans to breed her in the near future?

    In toy dogs, it is not rare for breeders to have up to 10 or 12 dogs, and to claim that just because an arbitrary number is passed that someone is probably abusing their pets is absurd.

    I would agree with a plan of inspections for people who breed more than a certain amount of litters each year, to ensure that the dogs are being treated humanely.

  9. If a bitch has already had 4 litter regardless of number in each litter does she need to go through the process again just because she didn't have enough to satisfy breeder ? No, there should be no exemptions as this is where the waters start to muddy!

  10. Can I also add that the registered bitch may only have 4 KC recongnised litters but what happens if the breeder puts that bitch with another breed to produce a so called "designer" breed, these will not be registered and therefore bitch gets abused again.

    I also don't think much of the bit where it says 4 litters unless say for instance bitch only has one pup, so what that is still 4 litters. Makes no difference to the bitch she still has to go through the same whether it is 1 pup or 10. What they actually mean to say is that the breeder didn't make enough money from just one pup and so needs her to have another litter to fill their pockets.

    I do however support if I have to the 4 litter rule if it applies totally 4 no matter size and breed mix.

  11. 'abused again'? You consider breeding a dog to be animal abuse in and of itself, seriously?!

  12. It would certainly help to improve puppies' suitability as future pets if more of them spent the first weeks of their lives in a domestic environment rather than kennels.

    I wonder how much the desire to create a personal strain of dogs becomes a driver to acquiring more dogs than can be given individual care?

    I can see that someone who simply happened to love corgis (or whatever) might want to get a bitch suitable for breeding and have the fun of rearing puppies. It seems to me that a lot of the problems start to arise when you "need" to have lots of dogs so that you can select in a particular direction rather than just propagating the next generation.

    Someone in that position might quite sincerely deny that they were only interested in money. You only have to look at the saga of the St Bernards in 2008; their owner certainly wasn't making money out of them but she seems to have been obsessed with breeding more and more.

  13. Any move towards controlling the number of litters a bitch has is welcome, sadly however many breeders do not register their litters with the kennel club especially the fashionable' doodle' crosses so this is of limited value. Hopefully it could set in motion some legislation that would monitor and control all breeding and remove its commercial value.

  14. I don't believe it's possible to do a good job with the puppies if you have more than one litter at once. Having fostered a couple of litters of older puppies this year, the time needed to start housetraining, socialising, training, all the things needed to get them off to a good start was ridiculous. How can anyone do this if they have 7 breeding bitches if they all have one litter a year? With that many breeding bitches can they all live harmoniously in a home? Or are they in kennels? If dogs are going to be family pets breeding in a kennel that many times is not giving those puppies or new owners the best start in life.

    If breeders aren't doing those things then they should be!

  15. Limiting litters to four per bitch is too easy to circumvent. Puppy farmers will register additional non existent bitch puppies when registering a litter, to get extra sets of papers. They can then register litters of puppies from these non existent bitches. This enables them to breed every six months from the bitches they actually own, and still register all the puppies with the KC. Unless the KC insist on DNA testing all their puppies, it is hard to stop this practice

  16. It is a step in the right direction. I'd like a cap on the number of dogs who can be registered to any one person. Even a cap of 50 dogs is better than having a person with 200 dogs, or with over a 1,000 breeding dogs, like we sometimes have here in the US.

    When the owners of puppy mills (puppy farms) gets older and older, they often let their puppy mill decline, and afte 10 or 20 years without maintenance, and years of spotty grooming and no vet care, when the old owner finally dies or is put away, the government has to close the puppy mill down, and find dog rescues to come in and bathe, transport, and socialize all those dogs. Big expensive mess!

    In the US, many local, and some state governments, have stepped in, and put a cap on the number of dogs and cats that can be kept on any one residence. Forced to do something to fix all the problems with dog and cat breeders, some local government have put a cap of only 2 dogs and cats. That's 2 total.

    There are people in the US looking for examples of what works in comtrolling breeding problems, and genetic problems in dogs. The world is watching.

  17. Hmm
    so essentially someone with 2 bitches could breed 2 litters, but if the numbers of pups from each are low or below average, they could register the whole lot under just one of the bitches and then breed the second again on next season??
    Looking at the KC ABS info, they do say they require DNA profile, microchip OR tatoo of breeding stock. Does this mean one or all three? Does this mean DNA on pups too?

  18. Haha the puppy farmers will just put a different name on the 'dam'!!
    The only way to be really sure which bitch is the dam of pups is to have ALL dogs DNA profiled;
    And to insist on controls;
    It's a laugh

  19. I'm not in the UK so don't understand the regs in question. I am horrified by raising dogs like farm animals, but I can't see anything wrong with going past four litters with a bitch who lives as part of a family and is loved and well cared for . . . and where pups are raised in a family environment.

    The repro vets I've talked with say that 'early and often' is the healthiest way to breed. It prevents the accumulation of gunk on the wall of the uterus, and thus reduces chances of pyometra and reporductive system cancers.

    The girls I've had love having pups. If one had pups, the one(s) without pups often got milk and pushed their way into the whelping box. I can't see anything mean about letting them go past four litters, and I can't see how having several litters makes a 'puppy mill' out of a family breeder. Nor can I see how limiting to four litters would make a puppy mill any more humane. If the bitch has had her four, what are they to do. She isn't going to be highly marketable . . . so what you do? PTS?

  20. Jennifer said: "If the bitch has had her four, what are they to do. She isn't going to be highly marketable . . . so what you do? PTS?"

    She's still a prime candidate for designer crosses, pure-bred non-reg, or export for more breeding. All of which are regularly done anyway once the limit has been hit. That aside from the old trick of registering a few extra non-existent bitch puppies in a litter in order to have the papers and a name/number for a dam of a later litter.

  21. It seems that there is denial over natural selection in the dog world. It's rather like zoos thinking that they are saving an animal from extinction by ring-fencing it (genetic bottleneck comes to mind). If an animal or dog-type is close to extinction or change through natural selection, then that is life, even if it hits the pockets of thse trying to prevent evolution. Anyone who intervenes and trying to prevent change through natural selection is committing themselves to a life of battling with an enemy far more powerful than their bank manager...and they will lose.

    If dogs are allowed to evolve, then it may make things difficult for Crufts, but it will produce dogs which ae much more in tune with their environment. There is no evolutionary advantage to a dog with a 'ridgeback'. If anyone from the Kennel Club can respond and tell me what advantage that gives the dog, I would be pleased to hear.