Commercial Dog and Cat Breeding

July 16, 2014


The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) opposes commercial dog and cat breeding operations that subject animals to suffering caused by conditions such as overcrowding; inadequate shelter, sanitation, food, water and veterinary care; long-term confinement; and lack of social or behavioural enrichment.

The CVMA encourages potential owners to consult the brochure Check List for Acquiring a Dog (1), to avoid buying a dog from substandard breeding operators. The CVMA urges all companion dog and cat breeding facilities to abide by the CVMA Code of Practice for Kennel Operations, 2007 edition (2), and the CVMA Code of Practice for Cattery Operations, 2009 edition (3) as the standard for care and management.



  1. The CVMA supports dog and cat breeders who promote animal health and welfare and are motivated by the ideal of improving the temperament or functional purpose of the breed rather than solely by profit.
  2. Substandard commercial dog and cat breeding operations, which sell purebred or mixed breed animals in high volumes to unsuspecting buyers, share common characteristics:
    • Substandard health and/or environmental issues;
    • Substandard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
    • Substandard breeding practices that lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
    • Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background.
  3. Note: These conditions may also exist in small volume or single-breed establishments as well.  All substandard commercial dog and cat breeding operations should be reported to local animal cruelty protection agencies.
  4. The animals produced in substandard commercial dog and cat breeding operations often have behavioural problems resulting from indiscriminate breeding practices (hereditary), lack of socialization, isolation and the trauma of being transported at a young age (4-8). They also may suffer from physical ailments, including genetic disorders, resulting from irresponsible breeding practices (9,10).


  1. Check List for Acquiring a Dog, National Companion Animal Coalition, [last accessed April 30, 2013].
  2. A Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations, 2nd edition, May 2007, [last accessed April 30, 2013].
  3. A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations, 1st Edition, 2009, [last accessed December 16, 2013].
  4. Overall K. Manual of Clinical Behavioural Medicine for Dogs and Cats. Mosby, 2013.
  5. Houpt K. Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists. Iowa State University Press, 1991.
  6. Luescher AU. Canine aggression toward familiar people: A new look at an old problem. Vet Clin Small Anim 2008:1107-1130
  7. Pérez-Guisado J, Lopez-Rodriguez R, Munoz-Serrano A. Heritability of dominant-aggressive behaviour in English Cocker Spaniels. Appl Behav Sci 2006:100;219-227.
  8. Houpt KA. Genetics of Canine Behaviour. Acta Vet Brno 2007:76;431-444
  9.  Crook A, Hill B, Dawson S. Canine Inherited Disorders Database Last accessed May 16, 2014.
  10. Ackerman L. The Genetic Connection. American Animal Hospital Association Press, 1999.

((Revised July 2014))