Information for Breeders
Science-based standards for breeders to ensure a higher, documented quality of care for dogs and puppies.

Breeder Information

Canine Care Certified establishes extensive, science-based standards for breeders to ensure a higher, documented quality of care for dogs and puppies. Canine Care Certified is wholly administered by Purdue University.

Overview

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).

Consumers and pet owners can be assured that dogs and puppies raised under the program by certified breeders are cared for under stringent standards.

“It was important for us to participate in Canine Care Certified because we are committed to always raising the bar and improving the lives of dogs. Through our participation in the program, we have improved our documentation practices, enhanced public perception and awareness about responsible dog breeding, and highlighted our dedication to ensuring dogs are well cared for.

This has been a heartwarming and comforting process for the new pet families we are working with daily. They don’t have to assume anything about how the dog was raised. It’s laid out for them in the standards. They understand and can see, through our certification, our sincere desire to always raise the bar.

It is my hope that the pet community knows that this is a voluntary program that is backed by science."

-Terry Buening, Canine Care Certified Breeder (My PawPaws Puppies) 

Frequently Asked Questions

As of 2019, Canine Care Certified is wholly administered by Purdue University.

All questions regarding communication and management of breeder participation in the certification program should be directed to caninecarecert@purdue.edu.

Currently, only breeders who are interested in becoming Canine Care Certified have the option to view the complete Standards of Care (PDF) prior to moving forward with the application process for certification. While our goal is to be fully transparent about our program, we have opted to retain confidentiality of the standards while we grow the cohort of participating breeders.  Because this program is the first of its kind for the pet industries, we want to avoid disreputable entities cherry-picking the contents and marketing themselves as operating at the level of Canine Care Certified or inaccurately implying affiliation with our program.  Such actions would harm the integrity of our program, mislead consumers, and ultimately deprive dogs of the opportunity to benefit from the comprehensive program they deserve. In rare circumstances an exception to this policy may be made to those with strong justification.  Under those circumstances, a signed nondisclosure agreement is required.

To request the password to view standards of care, please email caninecarecert@purdue.edu.  If you do not qualify to receive the standards, rest assured we are happy to answer any questions we can that would help you.  In addition, the following Appendix contains a table of contents that may provide you further insight into the broad scope of our program. Supplemental information is provided for each of the chapters in our Canine Care Certified Breeder’s Manual, which is provided to help participating breeders understand the scientific basis for our standards and get started. Topics covered include food and water, housing, healthcare, genetic selection, puppies, behavioral wellness and more.

Purdue University offers the Canine Care Certified program as developed by Dr. Candace Croney, Ph.D.  However, in keeping with best practice in objective, credible, animal welfare assurance, Purdue does not conduct audits. Rather, audits must be completed by our designated independent third-party in order to obtain certification.

For this reason, we have selected a highly reputable independent certification company with a long history of, and expertise in, animal welfare and on-premises auditing to partner with us. Our auditing partner, Validus, is nationally recognized and is an independent certification company using proprietary assessments and audits based on the Standards of Care that are the basis of our certification program.

Interested breeders are asked to sign-up for the program on the website to begin the certification process. They will then submit the application and required documentation before an independent audit with Validus can be scheduled. Upon completion of the audit, the breeder will either receive certification and supporting materials or they will be have the opportunity to address any outstanding issues needed to become certified.

Validus is continually training third-party auditors to assess compliance with our comprehensive standards. Re-audits for participating breeders will occur every 16 months.

Breeders can create an account at any time on the website to begin the process of certification. Those breeders without access to computers may contact us to submit documentation for the application process. (Please note: only participating breeders will receive the full Standards of Care.) Our team is available to help answer any questions along the way. Email us at caninecarecert@purdue.edu.

Breeders can create an account through the website and begin the certification process at any time. Following the submission of required documentation, Validus will deploy trained auditors based on a number of factors including access, geographic location and other considerations.

It’s important to understand that these are rigorous standards, and some breeders may need extra time and assistance to successfully complete their first audit. Because we are committed to helping breeders raise their standards of care for dogs, we will work to help them meet the standards for certification.

Attempts will be made to complete audits in the order in which applications are obtained. However, audits also will be scheduled in a manner that allows for the maximum number of site visits within a local area as to reduce auditor costs.

No. Only breeders who have been audited through the Canine Care Certified program and have successfully demonstrated compliance with all standards may claim certification. The program is copyrighted and trademarked and may only be used by participating and audited breeders who have completed all program requirements and received documentation of certification.

No. Breeders wishing to be certified under Canine Care Certified must participate in the third-party audit of their operations before they can be certified. Only the independent auditors may certify a breeding operation, and only upon successful completion of an audit will breeders officially become Canine Care Certified. Breeders cannot use the program seal without the corresponding audit participation and signed certificate from Validus.

At the completion of a successful audit process, Validus will provide a certificate to breeders who have completed a detailed assessment and audit of their practices. A breeder that has not passed the Canine Care Certified third-party audit will be provided with an improvement plan by Validus. Breeders will not receive certification until all standards are met.

There is no relationship between the Canine Care Certified program and USDA licensing. Professional breeders must continue to comply with all applicable state and federal licensing whether they choose to participate in Canine Care Certified or not. The Canine Care Certified logo, however, gives consumers an added measure of assurance or “seal of approval” from an independent animal welfare verification process. 

All initial program funding came from members of the pet industries (see About Us). To avoid any conflict of interest, these funders had no involvement, direct or indirect, in the development of the standards or the certification process performed by Validus. No public funding of any kind was solicited or used as part of the research or development of the standards.

We recognize that it will take time for breeders to become certified and communicate their status to the public. Consumers can ask their breeder if they are or plan to become certified, and they can inquire with pet stores about their relationships with certified breeders. Anyone engaging with a professional breeder and considering a dog or puppy should at minimum ask questions about the animal’s care, housing, nutrition, health record, behavior, and genetic screening practices.

All initial funding came from the World Pet Association and the Pet Food Institute. Recent research funding has been provided by the Stanton Foundation (see About Us).  To avoid any conflict of interest, funders have no involvement, direct or indirect, in the development of the standards or in the design, conduct or reporting of the research.

Canine Care Certified is a 100 percent voluntary program. However, breeders who choose to become certified must follow the standards in order to obtain and maintain certified status.

For consumers, the designation indicates that puppies and dogs that are raised by a Canine Care Certified breeder are raised under an independently audited program that ensures that specific health and welfare standards have been met. The program provides an added measure of assurance that certified breeders are attending to their dogs’ physical, genetic, and behavioral health, and are committed to continuously raising the bar on the standard of care and attention they offer to their dogs. For breeders, participation in the program allows them to differentiate themselves on their commitment to, and investment in, canine welfare. This also helps to build trust with customers with shared values about the need to improve the overall well-being of dogs.

Sign Up For Certification Today!

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