Purdue to Begin Testing Phase for Dog-Breeding Standards

The goal is to provide breeders with uniform standards for care and wellbeing in all states “to ensure the quality of life that dogs deserve.”

Purdue University reported that it will begin the pilot testing phase for its recently completed dog-breeding standards by the end of the year. The goal of the research is to provide breeders with uniform standards for care and wellbeing in all states to ensure the quality of life that dogs deserve, according to lead researcher Candace Croney, head of Purdue’s Center for Animal Welfare Science. The center is jointly supported by the Purdue Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture.

The wellbeing of the dogs will be evaluated before and after the breeders implement the standards.

The draft standards take in all areas of health and wellbeing and address the needs of adult dogs, juvenile dogs and puppies, including dogs’ access to food, water and shelter; availability of veterinary and preventative health care; behavioral wellness; and genetic selection. The research also is addressing ethical issues such as the end of breeding careers and rehoming of animals.

“All animal care policies must be grounded in science as well as ethics and social responsibility,” Croney said, who is also an associate professor of comparative pathobiology and animal science whose research focuses on the behavior and welfare of animals.

Input from veterinary practitioners, breeders and other experts on canine care, reproductive management and welfare was incorporated into the standards.

Croney said researching the scientific basis for the standards revealed major gaps in the existing scientific literature pertaining to housing and management that affect the welfare of kenneled and breeding dogs. The research team, therefore, prioritized several new areas of study and have begun collecting data with the support of dog breeders who volunteered their facilities for study. That data as well as the final standards are to be released next year.

“The dialogue, constructive feedback and collaboration offered by breeders and animal health and welfare experts and others have greatly facilitated Purdue's capacity to develop scientific and educational approaches needed to advance the welfare of dogs in commercial breeding operations,” Croney said. “The research team looks forward to the continuing support and input of the various communities invested in improving dog welfare.”

The project is funded by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, Pet Food Institute and World Pet Association and is drawing on the varied expertise of many Purdue researchers and colleagues at other institutions, the university noted. Additional support is being provided by the Science Fellows program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA-APHIS Center for Animal Welfare.

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