Puppymill & Backyard Breeder Definitions

Puppymills - a definition

The Humane Society of the United States provides this definition of puppymills: "Puppymills are breeding facilities that produce purebred puppies in large numbers. The puppies are sold either directly to the public via the Internet, newspaper ads, at the mill itself, or are sold to brokers and pet shops across the country."

AAS would not include the word "purebred" as many puppymills are breeding popular crossbreeds that are not AKC or CKC registered.

The Canadian Kennel Club definition: The members of the National Companion Animal Coalition(NCAC),consisting of;the Ministry of Agriculture,Canadian Kennel Club,Canadian Veterinary Medical Association,Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council,Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and the RCMP have developed the following agreed upon definition of a "puppymill".

...A puppymill has been defined by the NCAC as a high-volume, sub-standard dog breeding operation which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs, to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppymills are:

  • a) Sub-standard health and/or environmental issues;
  • b) Sub-standard animal care,treatment,and/or socialization;
  • c) Sub-standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
  • d) Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration,pedigrees,and/or genetic background.

Note: These conditions may also exist in small volume or single-breed establishments.

The AAS definition:

A puppymill is any place or person or business that:

  • 1. Breeds more than one dog at a time;
  • 2. Sells pups without screening of the purchaser;
  • 3. Sells pups to retail pet stores and puppy resellers;

And/or keeps the dogs and pups:

  • 1. Isolated from human interaction: i.e. exclusively in kennels, sheds, garages, trailers, pens, basements and closets;
  • 2. In conditions generally accepted by the public to be dirty and unhealthy: in cages and buildings that lack light; outside in rain and cold; in mud; feces and urine;
  • 3. In a condition generally accepted by veterinarians as unhealthy; skin, ear, eye, penis and vaginal/utereal infections; rotten and broken teeth; overgrown nails; parasitic infestations; and other disease and unhealthy conditions.

Puppymills generally breed pure-breds or popular mixes and charge several hundred dollars to a thousand dollars per pup. Many puppymills are registered with the Canadian Kennel Club.

Backyard breeders - a definition

A backyard breeder is a person who:

  • 1. Breeds only one dog at a time;
  • 2. May breed their dog just once, but for the purpose of making little money;
  • 3. May repeat breed the same dog;
  • 4. May dispose of one dog and obtain another (more lucrative) to breed;
  • 5. Often keeps the dog and pups in a yard, garage, shed, basement, closet, or pen;
  • 6. May sell puppies as young as four weeks, with no vaccinations, and for as little as $50, although some backyard breeders sell pups of more desirable breeds for several hundred dollars each.
  • 7. Often breeds the pups that end up being killed in pounds when they are abandoned as unwanted adults: cross breeds of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Huskies, Pit Bulls, and other large breed dogs.

A backyard breeder does not include the family or person that breeds the family dog once and keeps the pups in the house with them, making sure the pups are well-socialized and healthy, does not give away or sell the pups until they are 10-12 weeks old, and carefully screens prospective adoptors, making several homes visits and refusing a pup to unsuitable people.

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