After importing severel Cocker spaniels from the UK from very different breeders I had to realize that the British way of breeding within the KC is very different from most european countries.
Let me compare the kc rules in the country I am breeding our breed (Cocker Spaniel) in with the rules of the kc. The consequences are massive and it’s about time that the kennel club reorganizes the way it works.
First of all we should keep in mind what the idea is behind bying a kc registered puppy versus e.g. a puppy just from the internet or a puppy mill. From my point of view it’s not important to most puppy byers what the exact name of the grandmother of a puppy is or if there are champions in the pedigree (let’s better leave the theme: „Shows as a selection criteria for breeds“ out – would be a book of it’s own) no – people have the impression that bying a puppy from a kc breeder guarantees well raised, healthy puppies whose parents (and maybe grandparents) are health tested fit dogs and that they DO make a difference with a puppy from a puppy mill. They are hopefully raised in a normal enviroment, dewormend, vaccinated etc. just well taken care of.
In the Netherlands (and most other european countries are the same) the Kc tries to make sure that they DO make this difference by checking as followed: first thing is, when you apply for a kc kennel name a control person comes to your home, checks on the shape of your dogs, the space you have for raising puppies but also your adult dogs. Every single time you import a dog, somebody comes to check if the dog fits to the chip and what impression the dog makes.
Bitches have minimum and maximum age for breeding and also minimum time span between litters. (In the Netherlands 12 months between matings) When having a litter , at the age of about 6 weeks a controler comes again, checks on mother and puppies , takes swabs from ALL of them, gets the puppies chipped (breeder is NOT allowed to do that!!) and the father of the puppies has to have taken a swab too. ALL of them will have a genetic profile which puppy byers get too and makes it easy to proof when something is fishy. NO cheating on the parentage possible that way! Whenever breeder does something against the rules or irresponsible breeding (e.g. breeding with dogs untested on a common desease or puppy byers don’t get a vaccinated puppy without pet passport, or breeding in between without pedigrees) not only the kc can force the breeder to litarally pay for it but also Dutch comsumers law. puppy byers get their Export pedigree automaticly sent by the Dutch kc – payed by the breeder. Multiple litters are reason to check VERY critically. Endorsements on the Pedigrees of any kind are against ethics. Your dog is your dog!
Now the UK kc:
what do you do to make a difference between a puppy mill and a kc breeder? First of all – and maybe worst: NO checking on the home of the dog at the breeders place! no checking on the way puppies are raised, the condition they are in or the amount of litters in a kennel. No checking or reaction on breeders with „friends“ who obviously have fake kennels. I’ve seen a documentary about a puppy mill in Ireland showing a kc breeder who had his bitches under terrible circumstances – registered 60 (!!!) of them on his name – all kc registered breeding bitches with pedigree puppies. This is the result of NO control. There IS a kc assured breeders scheme though – a Little trial to do make a difference. This scheme shows to me the absoloute minimum of what should be done and not the max. If you do more health testing than required – no mentioning on the pedigree of it (I must admit – the Dutch KC doens’t do this too )
Not checking on litters , the amount of them within a kennel, the circumstances etc. is the greatest failiure in the kc.
There’s no checking on vaccination, the pedigrees have to be ordered by the puppy byers themselfes, there is practically no way for a puppy byer to get an endorsement lifted when breeder is not helping. Even when parents are PROVED to be wrong in pedigrees , there’s NO action taking place ( forcing breeder to name the puppy byers , to inform them, or sanctions on the breeder. I really don’t get it. What is actually the difference between a kc registered puppy and one without pedigree in the UK ? What does a breeder have to do not to get pedigrees from the kc anymore?? I guess being in prison……..
despite from that I made the experience that health testing as a whole is not very common in the UK . Most vets have no idea about OCD, ED, patellar testing , how to do it correctly and where to find forms for it – something the kc should do something about too.
The UK kc is the mother of all kcs in the world but now it’s hopeless behind and definitly NOT doing a good job. Get people out to Control breeders like in other countries, make a difference, and yes – puppies will get more expensive – so what ? they are now already WITHOUT making a real difference. You will loose clients but for animal welfare it would be a HUGE step forward!