Code of Practice for Member Breeders

Effective from 30 October 2015 

Prepared by:
Mark Sheppard – Dogs Queensland Government Liaison Officer, Chairperson – Code of Practice Project Team

Ms Ainslie Carius – Chairperson Canine Health Committee, Senior Vice President Dogs Queensland

Mrs Carol Thompson Mr John Burgess Mr Eden Thornton



The Dogs Queensland Code of Practice for Member Breeders was developed as an initiative of the Dogs Qld Canine Health Sub-Committee.

The standards and guidelines provide minimum requirements for Dogs Queensland member breeders responsible for the keeping and breeding of dogs.

By adhering to these standards and guidelines our responsible member breeders demonstrate their concern for the welfare of the dogs in their care.

The standards will be revised from time to time to take into account new knowledge of dog physiology and behaviour, technological advances, developments in standards of dog welfare and changing community attitudes and expectations about the humane treatment of breeding dogs.

Dogs Queensland member breeders are reminded that under the requirements set out in the CCC(Q) Ltd Code of Ethics, Section 2, L - I shall not permit any of my purebred dogs to be mated:

i to a dog of a different breed;

ii to a crossbred dog;

iii to an unregistered dog of the same breed or;

iv to a purebred registered dog of the same breed that is not the property of a current financial CCC(Q) member and in the case of a bitch, where that aforementioned member does not hold a valid breeders prefix.



The document describes standards and guidelines for the care and management of breeding dogs and their progeny that:

• allow dog breeders to meet their duty of care and

• prevent pain and distress to dogs.


The document covers the minimum acceptable treatment, management and handling of dogs (kept for breeding) and their resulting progeny. The standards and guidelines apply to all Dogs Queensland members who may be involved in breeding pedigreed registered dogs and raising puppies. Principle The fundamental principle guiding these standards and guidelines is that breeding dogs and their progeny are more vulnerable to pain, distress and disease than other dogs and require specialised care and management. The standards and guidelines are designed to complement the existing Dogs Queensland Rules and Code of Ethics requirements.


Standards - These are the acceptable dog welfare requirements designated in this document - the requirements that must be met under law for dog breeding purposes. The standards are intended to be clear, essential and verifiable statements. However not all issues can be well defined by scientific research or can be quantified. Standards use the word ‘must’ and are mandatory requirements.

Guidelines – These are the recommended practices to achieve dog welfare outcomes. Guidelines use the word “should”. Non compliance with one or more guidelines does not in itself constitute an offense under law.


Bitch means the female animal of the species Canis lupus familiaris Breeding dog means any entire dog which is used to produce offspring.

Enrichment describes provision of an environment that ensures a dog’s emotional and behavioural needs are met.

Facility means the place, as defined under the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, used for the accommodation or shelter of breeding dogs, or used to house puppies following breeding.

Housing means the space that the dog normally lives in. This can include a specially built facility or an area at a residence of the person in charge.

Humane killing (Euthanasia) is the activity that results in rapid loss of consciousness and then death of the dog whilst still unconscious. The primary consideration is to prevent the dog from suffering further pain or distress.

Person in charge has the same meaning as Section 12 of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

Rehome means the process of providing a dog with a new owner or new place to live.

Significant infectious disease means a disease that is likely to cause illness or death in susceptible dogs that become infected. Common examples include canine cough, parvovirus, canine infectious hepatitis, heartworm and distemper.

Staff includes any person who works at the facility where dogs are being kept and bred whether or not for fee or reward.

Stereotypic behaviour means any pattern of action and attitude assumed by a dog, such as a movement or sequence of movements repeated with little or no variation and which has no obvious purpose.


Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 The Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (the Act) places a duty of care on the person in charge of a dog to properly care for the dog and provide for its needs.

Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 Compliance with these standards does not remove the need to abide by local authority laws (model local laws) or the Animal Management (Cast and Dogs) Act 2008 or subordinate legislation.

Standards and Guidelines



A person who cares for and manages a breeding dog is competent and aware of their responsibilities.


G.1 A person caring for a breeding dog should be trained and /or experienced in dog care and management or be under the supervision of a trained and experiencedperson. An example of a suitably experienced person may be a Dogs Queensland breeder mentor or a fellow member breeder whose years of first hand knowledge will provide valuable support for newer breeders.

G.2 A record of training undertaken or experience gained by a person should be kept.

G.3 Training may include

• canine behaviour and social needs

• managing new introductions, releasing and re-homing a dog

• the requirements for appropriate housing of a dog

• dog husbandry and management, including handling, control, moving, transporting and capturing a dog

• identifying signs of health and ill health in a dog, including identifying symptoms of stress or when prompt veterinary care is required

• procedures for the care of a sick and/or injured dog

• special requirements of a young dog

• disease and parasite control and prevention

• emergency management and evacuation procedures; and

• record keeping procedures



Record keeping assists to demonstrate that welfare standards are achieved and assists with the provision of accurate historical data on individual dogs. Socially responsible pet ownership is promoted when transferring the ownership of dogs. Dogs Queensland rules require that all surviving puppies of a litter must be registered and that microchipping is required before registration will be accepted. This ensures that the integrity of the Dogs Queensland pedigree database is not compromised and that members comply with Queensland Government compulsory microchipping legislation.


S.1 For facilities that are used as a breeding establishment records on each breeding dog must be kept and should include

  • Form of identification (including registered pedigree and microchip number)

  • the vaccination status of the dog;

  • details of preventative and veterinary treatment, including routine husbandry procedures such as worming or parasite control;

  • the identity of both parents;

  • the dates of mating; and

  • the dates of whelping. 


G.4 A full copy of a dog’s records should be provided with transfer of ownership. These records would usually include a vaccination card, a comprehensive diet chart and a Dogs Queensland certificate of registration and pedigree. Note – it is not unusual for the pedigree certificate to be received some time after a puppy joins it’s new owners. This is entirely dependant upon when the breeder submits the litter registration application to the Dogs Queensland office for processing.

G.5 A dog breeder should attempt to ensure that when selling a dog it goes to a responsible owner who has the means to provide for the needs of the dog in an appropriate way.

G.6 When assessing the suitability of a buyer member breeders should attempt to inspect the properties of prospective buyers to ensure that the environment that the dog will be living in meets the minimum requirements for the size, type and breed of dog.

G.7 New owners should seek and take advice about care, management and training issues from their registered Dogs Queensland member breeder, a Veterinary surgeon or other persons with appropriate expertise.

G.8 Dogs not intended for inclusion in any future breeding program or for show purposes should be de-sexed at an appropriate age. Dogs Queensland member breeders should ensure that new owners are familiar with the need to de-sex dogs and bitches not intended for future breeding or the conformation show ring. Note – Dogs Queensland does not support “early age de-sexing” due to the high risk of surgery and the long term effects which can be experienced (particularly in the case of young bitch puppies).



A dog is managed in a manner that provides for its safety, wellbeing and psychological health and protection from distress, injury, illness and disease.


S.2 A bitch in season that is not intended for breeding must be kept separate from entire male dogs.

S.3 Pedigreed registered dogs the property (or in the care) of Dogs Queensland members must be maintained in the peak of health and general well being.

S.4 Particular care and attention must be paid to the fundamentals of feeding, grooming and socialisation.


G.9 From four weeks of age a dog should have regular contact with humans to establish the human/dog bonding relationship.

G.10 A puppy should be provided training to develop cooperative behaviours such as allowing mouth checks and foot care.

G.11 A dog should be protected from distress or injury caused by other animals or persons.

G.12 A bitch with dependent young or about to give birth should be housed singly in a quiet, warm and dry area isolated from other animals.

G.13 A dog that is kept separate from other dogs should be provided with additional enrichment such as socialisation with human carers.

G.14 An orphaned puppy should be provided with appropriate facilities and be reared by competent carers.

G.15 A dog that is aggressive to humans or other dogs, or excessively nervous, should not be used for breeding.

G.16 When grooming a dog special attention should be given to the eyes, nose, ears, breech, claws and teeth.

G.17 Equipment should be constructed and maintained to minimise the risk of illness or injury.

G.18 All efforts should be made to rehome physically healthy and behaviourally sound dogs.

G.19 A dog that has reached the end of its useful breeding life, or is unsuitable for breeding purposes, should (unless the dog is intended for showing):

• be de-sexed, and

• either be provided with a permanent home or be rehomed.



The mating, breeding, birthing (whelping) and rearing processes are managed to ensure good dog welfare outcomes, maintenance of genetic diversity, the reduction of heritable diseases and prevention of surplus dogs.


S.4 A bitch must not be mated:

  • if it is less than one year old;
  • if it is not fit and healthy;and
  • with a sibling (brother/sister) or a parent unless there is written veterinary advice indicating that there will be minimal risk of transmission of traits that will affect the wellbeing of the offspring. (See Dogs Queensland Code of Ethics in respect of close mating restrictions).

S.5 When whelping, a bitch must:

  • be able to withdraw from other animals;
  • be monitored to ensure that any adverse consequences are detected early and corrective action provided; and
  • where there is no progress within two hours or where there is evidence of strong contractions or straining, without a pup being produced within 30 minutes, veterinary advice must be immediately sought.

S.6 If a caesarean is necessary to deliver a litter, a person must not intentionally mate that bitch again unless veterinary advice indicates that there is a reasonable expectation there will be minimal health impacts on the bitch in the future.

S.7 Unless under exceptional circumstances a puppy less than six weeks of age must not be permanently separated from its mother. A puppy must be accustomed to (solid) food other than its mother’s milk before being re homed. 



  1. G.21  Breeders should consider the welfare of a breeding dog when deciding on the best time to breed or to cease breeding.

  2. G.22  A bitch older than eight years should not be bred without veterinary advice that indicates there will be minimal health impacts on the bitch.

  3. G.23  A person shall not breed a bitch (except under extenuating circumstances) causing it to whelp more than four times without prior veterinary certification of fitness for further breeding (see CCC(Q) Ltd Code of Ethics, Section 2. e. iii)

  4. G.24  A person shall not breed a bitch causing it to whelp more than twice in eighteen months. The age for the first breeding of bitches may be breed-specific, based on maturation after the second heat, but is preferably 22 months of age. This regulation is not intended to reduce minimum requirements for breeding set out in the Code of Ethics of Dogs Qld and the rules of the ANKC, National Breed Councils and/or Breed Clubs.

  1. G.25  The age for first breeding for a male dog should be no less than nine months unless there are Litter Registration Restrictions in place which require mandatory hereditary defect tests. (An example would be mandatory hip and elbow scoring of both parents the results of which are not valid or recognised if a dog is under 12 months of age. That then determines that 12 months is the minimum age at which a young male dog can be included in a breeding programme).

  2. G.26  The maximum number of litters for an individual bitch should be four, unless certified for further breeding by a veterinary surgeon.

  3. G.27  A litter should only be produced when the mating is considered to be beneficial and worthwhile for the breed and there is reasonable expectation of finding suitable long term quality homes for each puppy.

  4. G.28  Current vaccination certificates of a dog introduced to the facility should be sighted prior to mating to minimise the introduction of serious infection or disease.

  5. G.29  A dog with a heritable condition that is severely detrimental to the welfare of the progeny should not be used for breeding.

  6. G.30  A breeding dog should be selected to eliminate any negative heritable behavioural traits.

  7. G.31  During mating, the breeding pair should be monitored and isolated from other dogs.

  8. G.32  A pregnant bitch should be provided with a suitable whelping area that is clean, dry and contains suitable bedding.

  9. G.33  Following whelping, the bitch and puppies should be checked for signs of ill- health, preferably at least twice daily. The bitch and puppies should also be checked by a veterinary surgeon as soon as possible following whelping, but within 10 days.

  10. G.34  Where ill-health, including excessive vulval discharge and signs of mastitis are detected, appropriate treatment should be given or advice obtained from a veterinary surgeon on appropriate action to be taken.

Rearing and weaning

  1. G.35  Advice from a Dogs Queensland breeder mentor or a Veterinary surgeon should be sought on any extra nutritional requirements of a lactating bitch and in the feeding of puppies.

  2. G.36  A puppy that does not achieve a regular weight gain should be inspected by a veterinary surgeon for assessment and treatment.

  3. G.37  A lactating bitch should be provided with the ability to rest and withdraw from her puppies.

  4. G.38  Breeds known to lie on their puppies should be monitored closely in the first three weeks after whelping.

  5. G.39  A puppy’s eyes will open naturally between seven and 14 days and its ears will begin to unfold naturally between 18 and 20 days. If not, seek veterinary advice.

  6. G.40  Between three and four weeks of age a puppy’s digestive tract has developed sufficiently to accept solid food Solid food offered should be softened initially to make it more acceptable and palatable.

  7. G.41  By eight weeks of age, a puppy should no longer be reliant on its mother’s milk and should be eating three meals per day to maintain good health. Breeders should supply instructions to new owners regarding feeding regimes and supply a small quantity of food to ensure changes in the diet occur gradually.

  8. G.42  A puppy should not be re homed before 8 weeks of age.



A dog is provided with stimulation that encourages physical and psychological well- being, promotes fitness and prevents the development of inappropriate behaviours. 


S.8  A dog must be given social contact with humans at least once per day.

S.9  A dog must receive enrichment to ensure their physical and psychological well-being. 


G.42 A dog is a pack animal and should have social contact with other dogs. Strong bonds can be formed between dogs and humans. When deprived of these relationships a dog can become distressed and depressed as well as develop behavioural problems such as barking, howling and digging.

G.43 Social contact to a dog can be provided through: • daily grooming, playing, stroking, training and talking; • group housing socially compatible dogs where possible; • allowing visual and sensory smell in housing design; • allowing a dog contact with other dogs during exercise periods; and • introducing new experiences.

G.44 A dog should be monitored regularly for signs of abnormal behaviour (e.g. stereotypic behaviour) which indicate boredom, a lack of fitness or poor mental or physical health and an enrichment and socialisation program developed and implemented to address the cause.

G.45 A dog with persistent abnormal behaviours should be assessed and treated by a veterinary surgeon, or suitably qualified person, with experience in behavioural problems in dogs.

G.46 Enrichment programs should provide complexity, choice and change, and may include :

• physical enrichment – space, natural grass surfaces and furniture to encourage appropriate canine behaviours;

• occupational enrichment - objects for a dog to manipulate (e.g. toys)

• feeding enrichment - feed activities, novel food items and feeding devices to increase foraging times (e.g. hiding food to increase activity). Care should be taken to ensure these feeds are part of the normal diet, rather than in addition, in order to decrease the likelihood of obesity;

• sensory enrichment - novel smells or noises;

• social enrichment - opportunities to interact with other dogs, humans or other compatible animals.

• behavioural enrichment - positive reinforcement training appropriate to the age and breed of the dog should be used to facilitate physical exercise, mental stimulation and learning of cooperative behaviours; and

• exercise – providing appropriate and regular opportunity to exercise. Standards S.8 A dog must be given social contact with humans at least once per day. S.9 A dog must receive enrichment to ensure their physical and psychological well-being. 



A dog’s health is monitored and appropriate treatment is provided for disease, injury and distress. Appropriate preventative health regimes are in place and appropriate veterinary advice and treatment is provided for a sick, injured or distressed dogs.


S.10 A dog used for breeding must receive an annual health check by a veterinary surgeon.

S.11 A dog must be inspected daily to monitor health and wellbeing and to detect signs of disease, injury or distress; and receive appropriate treatment for any adverse signs detected.


G.47 A dog suffering from a significant infectious disease or severe injury should be isolated unless advised otherwise by a veterinary surgeon.

G.48 When re homed, a dog should be free of illness, injury or disease or the new owner provided with treatment information and contact details of the treating veterinarysurgeon.

G.49 A dog should be kept at body condition score 3 as shown in Appendix 2.

G.50 Signs of good health in a dog include:

• eating and drinking normally (in the case of puppies drinking milk);

• defecating and urinating normally;

• behaving normally and not showing any obvious signs of illness or distress; and

• is able to move about freely.

G.51 Signs of illness, injury or distress in a dog for which veterinary treatment should be sought include:

• a runny nose;

• eyes which are runny, discharging or inflamed;

• repeated sneezing, coughing or vomiting; •

severe diarrhoea (especially if bloodstained) or difficulty in defecating;

• difficulty in urinating or passing red or brown coloured urine;

• lameness, difficulty or inability to stand or walk and/or reluctance to move;

• bleeding or swelling of body parts (other than the vulva of a female on heat)

• loss of appetite and weight loss, particularly if severe or sudden; • drinking excessive amounts of water

• apparent pain;

• fits, staggering or convulsions;

• patchy hair loss;

• bloating of the abdomen;

• depression;

• fever;

• presence of external parasites;

• teeth, gum and mouth problems; and

• being able to move about freely

G.52 A bitch in the last week of pregnancy should be inspected at least every eight hours.

G.53 A dog should have an appropriate preventative program for the control of infectious diseases and parasites.

G.54 Unexplained deaths should be investigated by a veterinary surgeon. The contact details for the veterinary surgeon should be readily available to staff.

G.55 The person in charge should establish a relationship with a veterinary surgeon able to attend to dogs and advise on disease prevention measures.

G.56 A pregnant bitch should receive a minimum of one health check by a veterinary surgeon during the pregnancy.

G.57 A newly acquired dog or any visiting dogs should be kept separate from existing dogs in a facility for a minimum of 48 hours to minimise the spread of disease.

G.58 A puppy should be checked by a veterinary surgeon and vaccinated at six to eight weeks, then as recommended by a veterinary surgeon, to prevent diseases that are likely to affect its health and welfare.

G.59 Worming a puppy should commence at two weeks and occur fortnightly until 12 weeks of age, then every month until six months of age, then every three months or as recommended by a veterinary surgeon.

G.60 Only companionable dogs should be exercised together and exercise areas with more than one dog should be supervised.

G.61 Equipment used should be designed and maintained to minimise the risk of illness or injury. 



A dog is provided with housing that provides for wellbeing, good health, safety, security and protection from the weather.


S.12 Housing must ensure the health and wellbeing of a dog.

S.13 Housed dogs must be provided with the minimum space requirements shown in Appendix 1.

Guidelines Housing

G.62 A dog should be provided with a clean and dry dedicated sleeping area. Sleeping areas should have sufficient clean, hygienic, dry and soft bedding to insulate a dog from the floor.

G.63 Housing should provide sufficient space to allow a dog to defecate and urinate away from eating and sleeping areas.

G.64 A dog should not be in extended contact with wet floors.

G.65 Housing should provide protection from rain and wind, direct sunlight, extreme temperatures or other adverse conditions.

G.66 Housing should provide sufficient ventilation to maintain the health of the dog and minimise undue draughts, odours and moisture condensation.

G.67 Artificial ventilation devices should have a back-up system in case the ventilation device becomes inoperable.

G.68 All potential poisons and harmful substances, whether in storage or in use, should be kept out of reach of a dog.

G.69 Only companionable dogs should be group housed.

G.70 Housing and perimeter barriers should be secure to prevent a dog from escaping.

G.71 A dog should not be permanently housed in a vehicle, caravan, portable crate or the crawl space under any dwelling.

G.72 If by keeping a dog in the minimum space required under Appendix 1 the dog is found to be closely confined under the Act then the dog should be exercised according to the Act.

G.73 Exercise areas should contain a grassed area and not be bare earth or entirely concrete.

G.74 A dog should not be exercised in a way that poses a risk of serious injury.

G.75 The area where a puppy is being reared should be cleaned at least twice a day, and kept dry and free of faeces and uneaten food.

G.76 A puppy should be encouraged to urinate and defecate away from the nesting area.


G.77 Temperature should be controlled to minimise distress to a dog. This includes ensuring warmth or the ability to keep cool, particularly for puppies and pregnant bitches.

G.78 Particular attention should be given to protect brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds against heat stress.

G.79 Housing should be located away from sources of excessive noise or pollution that could stress or injure dogs.

G.80 Measures should be in place to protect a dog from loud or sudden noise.

G.81 Artificial lighting should mimic the prevailing natural light cycles in duration and intensity and allow effective inspection and observation of dogs.


G.82 Housing should be fitted with a secure closing device that cannot be opened by a dog and prevent access by unauthorised persons.

G.83 The facility should have a documented emergency evacuation procedure. The procedure should be reviewed and approved by the person in charge every two years.

G.84 Functioning fire fighting equipment should be readily available and staff trained and practised in its use.



Housing is appropriately cleaned to protect a dog from disease.


S.14 Housing and exercise areas must be maintained in a clean state.