Animal Humane Society position on breeding of companion animals

Animal Humane Society supports reputable breeders and responsible breeding of companion animals. However, inhumane and inadequate breeding facilities exist; therefore, we encourage individuals to exercise caution when purchasing animals from breeders.

Reputable and responsible breeding operations play a role in preserving and enhancing the very best characteristics of the breed and are committed to the humane care of their breeding animals and their breeding animals’ offspring.

Breeders must be ethical, committed to exceptional care of their animals, educate themselves to recognize inherited disorders and sterilize animals that could pass on these disorders.

We advocate for altering breed standards to eliminate those which may prove detrimental to an animal’s health and contribute to ongoing inherited disorders.

If people do choose to purchase animals from a breeder, Animal Humane Society encourages them to diligently research potential breeders to ensure they’re not supporting inhumane and inadequate breeding practices. Responsible breeders do the following:

  • Adhere to State and/or USDA regulations breeders and breeding facilities.
  • Sell their animals only to individuals, often selecting pet owners in advance of pet’s birth.
  • Specialize in one or two breeds.
  • Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the breed’s history, traits, temperament and conformation.
  • Rarely advertise and never sell to pet shops or online.
  • Value their reputation for seeking to improve their breed(s).
  • Breed their animals only a limited number of times — not every year or multiple times each year.
  • Consistently evaluate the health of their breeding animals and their offspring to ensure the well-being and optimal health of all animals in their care.
  • Do not separate offspring from their mother before seven to eight weeks of age.
  • Allow consumers to tour the premises where the breeding operation takes place and to meet the parents of animals being bred.
  •  Provide guarantees and allow owners to return animals at any point in their lives and for whatever reason if the purchaser no longer wants or can no longer care for the animal.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline