What is a ‘Registered Breeder'?

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 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.

Breeding Organisations

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.


The largest and oldest of the breeding organisations is the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC), for purebred dog breeders. They have a variety of state bodies - e.g. Dogs NSW, Dogs QLD and Dogs Victoria – which breeders can register with as members. The ANKC has sister associations around the world, including the AKC in America and the Kennel Club in the UK.

Other Breeding Associations

The ANKC 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 popped up that accept breeders of non pedigree purebred breeds, and of mixed-breed dogs. eg. The Master Dog Breeders Association (MDBA) and the Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB). Each organisation will have their own entry criteria and often a code of conduct their breeders abide by. However, with such a wide variety of breeder organisations now available, they differ in quality and resources. Some have stringent entry requirements and will inspect breeder’s properties and require vet documents to join. However, others might only investigate a breeder if multiple complaints were made about them, or may have no entry requirements at all.

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 our breeders to be registered with someone no matter which state they are in. Our breeders will display their relevant State, Council or Organisation 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.