Canine Care Certified Standards
Purdue University is proud to offer this program purely as a public service consistent with our land grant mission.

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 Standards of Care were created by Dr. Candace Croney, Ph.D. at Purdue University in 2013 based on existing and ongoing research. They were further developed in collaboration with recognized academic and practicing animal science, and veterinary medicine leaders with expertise in diverse canine welfare sciences (e.g., genetics, physical health, and behavior).

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.

Physical Health

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.

Behavioral Health

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.

Caretaker expectations

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
  • Susan J. Barrett, DVM, VCA Morris Animal Hospital
  • 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, PhD, Associate Professor, Nutrition, Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph

Program Sponsors

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.

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