In March 2014, the AKC Board of Directors approved the development of a program for all breeders. The program’s intent is to improve the health and well-being of purebred dogs by challenging breeders to meet health testing standards and participate in continuing education. The program will provide marketing and other support for those breeders who accept the challenges of participation.
1. Why is AKC offering this program to its breeders?
Bred with H.E.A.R.T. not only allows AKC to engage and educate a wide scope of breeders on best breeding practices, including health testing, it also creates a resource for the public to find puppies from responsible breeders who are demonstrating a commitment to health testing. The Bred with H.E.A.R.T. logo will directly connect consumers to breeders who agree to the commitment.
2. What does H.E.A.R.T. stand for?
An AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeder makes an on-going commitment to the health and well-being of purebred dogs by committing to these program requirements:
- HEALTH: Certifying that their breeding stock is health tested in accordance with the recommendations of their breed’s AKC Breed Parent Club. Visit our Health Testing Requirements page to see the requirements for your breed(s).
- EDUCATION: Promising that they will pursue AKC-provided or AKC-approved continuing breeder education so that they stay educated on the best breeding practices, including advances in canine health.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: Agreeing to comply with the AKC Care and Conditions Policy, including inspections by the AKC, and promising to share health testing and continuing education documentation with AKC.
- RESPONSIBILITY: Accepting responsibility for the health and well-being of the puppies they produce and for complying with all laws regarding the ownership and maintenance of dogs.
- TRADITION: Upholding the AKC’s tradition of breeding purebred dogs that are happy and healthy.
3. Can an AKC Breeder of Merit participant also be in this program?
Yes. The end goal of both programs is to encourage breeders to work in tandem with the AKC to advance the health and welfare of their dogs. Bred with H.E.A.R.T. breeders must agree to complete AKC-provided and/or AKC-approved continuing breeder education courses annually.
4. I have not bred a litter in more than five years but when I did I always did health testing; can I still join?
No. The program is intended for active AKC breeders. If you restart your breeding activity, you may apply for enrollment after registering a litter and meeting the other program requirements.
5. How do I comply with the health testing requirements?
First, visit the Health Testing Requirements web page. If you are not currently meeting the requirements, talk to your vet and put together a plan of action that will enable you to begin meeting these important requirements. Once you can certify that your breeding stock has been tested accordingly, you may proceed with program enrollment. Be prepared to provide proof of health testing compliance if asked by a representative of AKC. If you have questions, please email BredwithHEART@akc.org.
6. How do I comply with the health testing requirements if my breed’s AKC Breed Parent Club does not have any specific recommendations regarding health testing?
If your breed does not have specific health testing requirements listed, consult your veterinarian to discuss their recommendations for your breed.
7. How do I comply with the education requirements?
Many breeders already participate in on-going education efforts. AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. encourages breeders to do so annually. After you enroll in the program, you must complete 4 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) of AKC-approved or AKC-provided on-line or in-person educational courses, seminars or conferences in the next 12 months. The AKC has made available to all breeders free, online breeder education courses hosted on AKC Canine College. You can also demonstrate your knowledge of a course by taking the corresponding test and earning a certificate of completion. If you have questions, please email BredwithHEART@akc.org.
8. When and how does a breeder get the benefits for program participants?
The web certificate, breed-specific web banner, litter registration coupon and microchip discount code will be available to you electronically (in your MyAKC Account) a few minutes after you enroll using the on-line application process. The credit for on-line reports will also be available for your use in the AKC Store at AKC.org. The benefits associated with listing your puppies on the AKC Marketplace will be automatically set up for you as well.