Health and Welfare

Like any owner, dog breeders must work to ensure that their animals are as healthy and happy as possible. Given that breeders work with whelping bitches and young pups, they have an additional duty of care.


You should provide kennels or other accommodation that suits the needs of the dogs you breed. The dogs should be protected from the elements, other animals, and anything else that could cause them hard. There should be adequate space to stand, move around freely, stretch fully and rest.


Suitable food for the breed and age of every dog should be given regularly. Fresh water should also be available at all times.


Dogs should be inspected at least once daily, and more often if appropriate (for example, in the case of a whelping bitch). Whoever owns or manages the breeding site should be aware of any health issues, and take advice from veterinary clinics where needed. If an owner suspects that a dog has an exotic disease such as rabies, he or she should contact a veterinary clinic immediately.


Dog kennels, housing and exercise areas should be kept clean, while dogs should also be groomed: coats should not be left unduly dirty, tangled or unkempt. Any dog that is suspected of having an infectious disease should be kept apart from any animals.

For any breeder with six or more bitches of six months or more, the The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 sets out a number of legal obligations to ensure the welfare of animals. Click here to find out more.

International Partnership for Dogs

The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) represents an exciting step in the cooperation, collaboration and sharing of information and resources within the global dog community. The IPFD brings together kennel clubs, health registries, research and veterinary organisations and other stakeholders in dog health and its mission is to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of pedigree dogs and all other dogs. The IPFD launched an international website in February 2015 providing a wealth of information on canine matters.

The Irish Kennel Club is an active member of the IPFD.