With our ‘product’ being a living breathing animal, one that we have deliberately brought into the world, we have to take responsibility for them for as long as they live. It’s down to the breeders where the pups end up spending their life and if things don’t work out we take them back. Many buyers signing to say they will do so have mentioned they are assured by this clause as no-one can predict the future. I naively believed everyone would see this new Scheme in the same way I had. That it was a positive step forward to ‘up-grading’ the breeding of pedigree dogs. How wrong I was !
Breeders I spoke to seemed very wary. The main reasons for not joining were;
• Kennel Club are just out to make more money out of us
• Anyone can join it including puppy farmers
• Health tests are pointless/inconclusive/expensive
• I only have dogs
• I don’t want my dog to have an anaesthetic (this one always makes me smile- no, but you would risk your dog’s life by breeding from it!)
• Kennel Club don’t back breeders when there are legal issues,
And so on.........
Some were fair reasons, most were not. But I was still hopeful for the future of the Scheme and even managed to persuade a few to join. Then a few years later I came across my own issues with it. How to find suitable stud dogs.
When it was first started, the Kennel Club gave breeders a ‘cooling off’ period of two years to enable to continue their breeding programmes without the stud dog needing to be hip and elbow scored or the owner of said dog to be registered as an (Accredited) Breeder. They presumably expected the numbers to increase enough that within a couple of years the majority would be on the scheme. WRONG!
The lack of interest by breeders to join the scheme meant that unless you had your own stud dog it was nearly impossible to find a suitable health checked dog that could be used under the scheme. Hence my decision to go into Europe to use studs with generations of health checked dogs behind them.
It was at this point my loyalty to the Accredited Breeder Scheme, as it was known then, started to wane.
Whilst I rigidly stuck to all the rules, still scoring elbows even when it had been taken off the Schemes health tests (that’s a debate for another time!) most ABS. breeders were not doing so. Many litters were registered with only one parent health tested and it was usually the bitch.
This is SEVEN YEARS after the launch of the ABS and five years from when The Kennel Club said that ALL dogs used in breeding programmes will have to have the health checks in place.
I sent a bitter and despondent e-mail to the ABS office. I detailed the facts and expressed my decision to leave the Scheme even though I would continue to provide the best possible service to my puppy buyers as I had done previous to joining.