The Kennel Club today reveals that one in four of the top winning dogs at Crufts 2009 were bred or owned by Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, who agree to put the health and welfare of their dogs first and foremost. This news has been welcomed by leading vets, who believe that the Accredited Breeder Scheme, in conjunction with responsible dog showing, will ensure healthier, happier dogs in the long run.
Twenty eight Best of Breed winners at Crufts 2009 were bred by Kennel Club Accredited Breeders, out of a total of 130 that were competing for the prize (excluding those entries from overseas, who are not eligible to join the scheme). Another five are owned by Kennel Club Accredited Breeders – accounting for 25 percent of all of the Best of Breed winning dogs, who could potentially have been owned or bred by Accredited Breeders.
The Accredited Breeder success was further cemented when Boxer, Max, made it through to the final round of the competition, Best in Show, and a Norwich and Irish Terrier - Trueman and Sedge – were given third and fourth places in the Best in Group competition – each owned and bred by Accredited Breeders.
The Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme was established in 2004 and its members agree to follow high breeding standards, such as vaccinating and properly socialising their puppies and giving their dogs the required health tests for their breed. The scheme is voluntary but the Kennel Club, which has no statutory powers, has called on the government to make the standards and principles of the scheme mandatory for all breeders.
Nick Blayney, Kennel Club Veterinary Consultant, said: “I am extremely heartened to see that so many dogs, bred by members of the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme, have achieved success at Crufts. The figures are remarkable considering that there are currently 3,500 Accredited Breeders, compared to tens of thousands of non-accredited breeders, but they have managed to take 25 percent of the top winning titles.
“Dogs shows can encourage the breeding of healthy dogs and by only rewarding those that are fit and healthy in the show ring, we can help to improve dog health and breeding practices overall. Accredited Breeders agree to follow certain codes of practice that put the health and welfare of their dogs first and their success at Crufts show that this is also what has been valued in the show ring.
“Accredited Breeders, of course, make a difference all year round, not just at dog shows. They follow standards that the Kennel Club recommends and if every new puppy buyer brought from a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder then we could put an end to the practice whereby people breed purely for fashion and profit and not for health. There are many good breeders out there who are not currently part of the scheme and we encourage them to join, so that members of the public are able to clearly distinguish between responsible breeders and those who might be committed to much less.”
The Kennel Club saw more than 200 people sign application forms to join the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme during the four days of Crufts (5-8 March) and on the opening day of Crufts the 3,500th Accredited Breeder, Mrs Julie Hibbert, was welcomed onto the scheme.
Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services manager said: “We were delighted to welcome Julie to the Accredited Breeder Scheme as our 3,500th member and to reach such an important milestone in our aim of ensuring that as many breeders as possible agree to follow our principles of good breeding practice. The scheme is continually growing in size and stature and we hope that more and more people are coming to realise the importance of ensuring that they buy a puppy from a responsible breeder.
“The Kennel Club’s first priority is to improve the health and welfare of dogs and its Accredited Breeder Scheme is the only system that exists in this country, which aims to improve breeding standards and whose members are monitored to ensure that this is achieved.”
You can support the Kennel Club’s call to make the standards and principles of the Accredited Breeder Scheme mandatory throughout the country by signing its petition at www.fitforfunction.org.uk