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About the Standards

The Canine Care Certified Standards of Care were developed and led by Dr. Candace Croney, Ph.D. at the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science in 2013 after years of study and pilot research following a specific request from the breeding community for guidelines in best practices. The voluntary program requires adherence to standards for the responsible rearing, handling and re-homing of dogs raised by breeders. They are not intended to provide guidance on how to breed dogs.

The standards were written and tested in collaboration with breeders, veterinary and animal science experts, state regulators, and animal welfare organizations. The certification program has been pilot tested with breeders since early 2015.

The Center for Canine Welfare takes its responsibility to the pet industry seriously and values transparency while recognizing the proprietary nature of the science-based research. Breeders interested in becoming Canine Care Certified have the option to view the complete Standards of Care prior to moving forward with the application process for certification.

Five Pillars of Care

Breeders seeking to be certified must meet or exceed rigorous standards for physical and behavioral welfare in areas such as nutrition, veterinary care, housing, handling and exercise.

The Canine Care Certified program provides additional measures of assurance that breeders of certified dogs are attending to their dogs’ physical, genetic and behavioral health, and are committed to continuously raising the bar on the care and attention they offer to their dogs.

Certified breeders must follow the Standards of Care as summarized under the following five pillars. These standards for adult dogs and puppies far exceed current regulatory programs.

Physical Health Logo
Physical Health

Only veterinarians may perform any necessary alterations and surgeries. Breeders must also create comprehensive physical health plans for preventative care and treatment. Genetic and health screening, regular dental care, and grooming are required.

Behavioral Health Logo
Behavioral Health

Caretakers need to create a behavioral wellness plan, both for preventative and treatment, as well as provide exercise and follow specific socialization standards for adult dogs and puppies.

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Breeders must provide enriched, high-quality spaces with access to the outdoors and multiple flooring surfaces.

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Breeding life and retirement

Adult dogs at retirement cannot be sold for research. Breeders must follow established limits for retirement and rehoming.

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Caretaker expectations

Breeders must participate in continuing education, must use low-stress handling procedures, and be transparent with stakeholders and compliant with best practices.