When looking around for a breeder, you might have come across the term ‘registered breeder’. It’s a term that sounds professional and certified, but making sense of it can be a little tricky – being ‘registered’ doesn’t necessarily guarantee a breeder is ‘responsible’.
RightPaw are here to help you make sense of it all!
So what does it mean to be registered?
Being a registered breeder means the breeder has registered with some form of governing body or organisation. There are a few ways you can do this in Australia.
State and Council Registration
In some states, such as Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, breeders are legally required to register with a state register, and be issued with an identifying number. This number has various names in different states eg. Breeder Identification Number (NSW), Supply Number (QLD) & Breeder Registration Number (SA).
In most states, breeders are required to register with their local councils (sometimes in addition to the state register) in order to legally sell dogs, but this can vary depending on their location.
In most states, getting registered with the state or council is as simple as filling out an online form and paying an annual registration fee. It can be easily obtained and there is usually no inspection or quality control process, so this registration does not tell you that the breeder acts responsibly.
The other use of the term ‘registered’ breeder is for breeders who have joined formal breeding organisations. These vary in size, legacy and whether they are for purebred or mixed-breed dogs. Membership with some of the well regarded organisations can be used legally in place of a state or council registration, in some locations.
Being ‘registered’ with an organisation is often a sign that a breeder wants to be held to a higher standard, and cares about the practice of breeding, but there can still be a wide variety of quality between these organisations.
Dogs Australia/ The ANKC
The largest and oldest of the breeding organisations is Dogs Australia (formerly the Australian National Kennel Council, or ANKC), for purebred dog breeders. They have a variety of state bodies - e.g. Dogs NSW, Dogs QLD and Dogs Victoria – where breeders can register as members. Dogs Australia has sister associations around the world, including the AKC in America and the Kennel Club in the UK. Puppies from a Dogs Australia breeder will come with pedigree papers to show the lineage of the dog and guarantee their breed. Dogs Australia breeders must adhere to a strict code of ethics, outlined by their relevant state body. The rules in these codes all align with RightPaw's Code of Ethics.
Other Breeding Associations
Dogs Australia is a traditional breeding association and only allows breeders of purebred dogs, bred to a breed standard and with a pedigree. In recent years, many newer organisations have been formed that accept breeders of non-pedigree purebred breeds, and of mixed-breed dogs. With such a wide variety of breeder organisations now available, they can differ in quality and resources. Some associations have stringent entry requirements, will inspect a breeder's property and require vet documents to join. However, others may have no entry requirements at all, and might only investigate a breeder if multiple complaints were made about them.
Two of the most reputable breed associations are The Master Dog Breeders Association (MDBA) and the Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB). Each of these organisations has a strict code of ethics that are aligned with RightPaw's Code of Ethics. The MDBA can provide their own pedigree papers for certain breeds of dog. The AAPDB have very strict health and welfare protocols in their code and conduct a physical veterinary audit of a breeder's property for all full members.
RightPaw breeders are ‘registered’ AND responsible
The fact that it is so easy to become ‘registered’, and the over-saturation of different ‘registries’, makes it very hard for new pet owners to know which registration is the most important. The term ‘registered’ can be referring to totally different things in different circles. It can be a confusing and disheartening area to search through when you are trying to find a puppy.
That’s why we created RightPaw - to simplify your puppy search. RightPaw demystifies what a great breeder should look like and applies the same, simple criteria to everyone. You can have confidence that not only are all our breeders ‘registered’, they are also responsible.
RightPaw requires all of our breeders to be registered with someone no matter which state they are in. Our breeders will display their relevant State, Council or Association numbers at the bottom of their profiles in the Credentials section. These numbers are checked by our team during the breeder verification process, and periodically checked for renewals where applicable.
All our breeders are taken through our RightPaw Code of Ethics, which covers responsible breeding practices across welfare, health, housing and environment, feeding, condition of dogs and record keeping.
We speak to every single one of our breeders on the phone during our verification process, to ensure they are abiding by our code. We do a virtual inspection to meet their dogs and see their property.
Any health testing the breeder lists on their profile must be supported with evidence sent through to our veterinary team, to ensure they are conducting the listed tests.
By selecting a RightPaw breeder, you can have peace of mind that your puppy is getting the best start in life, with a breeder who is committed to ethical, responsible breeding - no matter where they are registered. Help support puppies everywhere, by starting off on the right paw.