This particular piece relates to my other article ‘Levelling the playing field’ which was published in my Dog World column ‘Crossing the headlines’

A number of us have recently become increasingly worried about the number of private registries mushrooming up that claim to cater for both pedigree and crossbreed.

In America a number of these entities have had relationships with the ‘puppy mill’ industry and it seems a similar thing could be quietly happening here.

Apparently the pedigree horse (and cat) world have also been plagued with problematic registries, particularly for certain colours – some ‘registries’ are being set up solely as a marketing tool for these ‘non-recognised’ colours and as a way of selling poor quality animals that are not accepted by mainstream organisations. Other ‘registries’ are even marketing newly created breeds that aren’t yet breeding true.

Sound familiar?

These unscrupulous registries can often be spotted by a policy that doesn’t require any proof of pedigree. I see this again and again in their eye-catching adverts and the service providers aren’t hard to stumble across on Google, especially when some even cleverly fuse established names to increase their ‘credibility’ and confuse potential owners.

One particular company starts their ‘about us’ section with ‘Our first priority is health and quality’ and promotes the fact they celebrate the variety of colours across the breeds however, scratch below the surface and it’s clear that those using this platform (and others) are clearly putting profits first. For example, their stud dog listings include many non-standard colour (including merles) Frenchies for up to £4,000. Over 70% of the stud dogs are Frenchies and many of them are under a year old. For just £3,000 you can use a 7.5 month old blue and tan Frenchie whose only ‘tests’ specify what colours he does and doesn’t carry. Or how about an 8 month old dappled Lab for £2,000? There is no evidence of health testing without making an enquiry via email and certainly no traceable ‘pedigree’. This is actually one of the more ‘professional looking’ websites and still comes nowhere close to the information that is so readily accessible on myKC. Unlike those sites promoting young dogs being used for breeding as early as possible, websites such as Champdogs, aimed at the responsible breeder, restrict puppies from being listed for sale where the dam is less than 2 years old.

This is what Gudrun Ravetz and her colleagues at the BVA should be tackling and bringing to the public’s attention and it is something that the Kennel Club should be taking very seriously, to avoid even more dogs being bred solely in the name of profit and more confused owners being left with worthless ‘papers’ and the potential owning of a disease-prone, temperamentally unsound timebomb.

Published on Dog World online on 15th June 2017