Pet breeding

The American Animal Hospital Association’s position regarding pet breeding.

The American Animal Hospital Association opposes dog and cat breeding operations that do not support the highest standards of animal care and breeding objectives.

Breeding operations that cause animal suffering due to substandard breeding practices, overcrowding, inappropriate or insufficient human contact, poor sanitation, inadequate shelter, food, or water, and a lack of veterinary oversight should be reported to local animal cruelty protection agencies.

Breeders should ensure their breeding programs strive to eliminate hereditary disorders and minimize genetic defects. Proper early socialization is essential to reduce the risk of behavioral problems later in life such as fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Breeding establishments should provide puppies and kittens with a socially and physically enriched environment and numerous diverse, positive experiences.

AAHA supports breeders who promote animal health and welfare and who are striving to improve the temperament and functional purpose of the breed.

AAHA also supports current and future legislation and education designed to ensure the humane breeding and care of companion animals in breeding facilities and retail stores. There are many guidelines available that give details on best practices for breeders that should be thoroughly understood by breeding establishments. The references below represent several guides or protocols for the care of breeding animals and progeny.

  1. Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 2015. Petition for Rulemaking.
  2. Victoria State Government. 2014. “Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses, Revision 1.” 
  3. Kaminski Leduc, Janet L. September 6, 2013. “Standards of Care for Dog and Cat Breeders: 2013-R-0309.” Hartford, Connecticut: Office of Legislative Research. 
  4. American Veterinary Medical Association. “Companion Animal Care Guidelines.” 
  5. Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. 2009. “A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations.” 
  6. Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. 2018. “A Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations.” 
  7. Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. 2014. “Commercial Dog and Cat Breeding Position Statement.” 

Adopted by the AAHA board of directors March 1997. Last revised September 2016.