Canine Care Certified Standards
Canine Care Certified goes above and beyond currently available canine welfare standards programs. The program sets forth rigorous, science-based, expert-reviewed standards for canine physical and behavioral welfare in areas such as nutrition, veterinary care, housing, handling and exercise.
About the Standards
The Canine Care Certified Standards for the Care and Well-being of Breeding Dogs were developed and led by Dr. Candace Croney, Ph.D. at Purdue University in 2013 following a request from the breeding community for guidelines for best practices. The voluntary program, informed by existing science and ongoing research led by Dr. Croney, 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, veterinarians, animal behaviorists, and other animal science experts. Input and insights were also sought from state regulators and animal welfare organizations. The certification program has been pilot tested with breeders since early 2015 and is updated regularly based on relevant new scientific findings, ongoing field testing and feedback by program participants.
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, genetics, housing, handling, socialization, enrichment, 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.
Only veterinarians may perform any necessary alterations and surgeries. Breeders must also create comprehensive physical health plans for preventative care and treatment and ensure they are implemented. Genetic and health screening, regular dental care, and grooming are required.
Caretakers need to create a behavioral wellness plan, both for preventive care and treatment, as well as provide exercise, meaningful socialization, and enrichment for adult dogs and puppies.
Breeders must provide safe, enriched, high-quality spaces with access to the outdoors and multiple flooring surfaces.
Breeding life and retirement
Breeders must follow established limits for retirement and humane rehoming. Adult dogs at retirement cannot be sold for research.
Breeders must participate in continuing education on canine care and welfare, must use low-stress handling procedures, and be transparent with stakeholders and compliant with best practices.
Scientific Advisory Committee
- Kari Ekenstedt, DVM, PhD., Assistant Professor, Anatomy and Genetics, Purdue University
- Temple Grandin, PhD, Professor, Animal Sciences, Colorado State University
- Jodi Lovejoy, DVM, Indiana Board of Animal Health
- Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD, Professor of Working Dog Sciences & Sports Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Director, Penn Vet Working Dog Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
- Bernard Rollin, PhD., University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Animal Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, University Bioethicist, Colorado State University
- James Serpell, PhD., Marie A. Moore Professor of Ethics & Animal Welfare, Director, Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
- Anna Kate Shoveller, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nutrition, Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph
Initial funding for establishment of the Canine Care Certified Standards and supporting research was generously provided by the World Pet Association and the Pet Food Institute. Additional funding for the research used to inform the standards has been provided by the Stanton Foundation.