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Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments

By Franklin D. McMillan, Deborah L. Duffy, James A. Serpell

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Canine commercial breeding establishments (CBEs) are kennel facilities where puppies are produced in large numbers for commercial sale. In the popular media, CBEs are commonly referred to as “puppy mills” or “puppy farms.” Conditions in CBEs vary widely in quality. Dogs in these facilities are routinely housed for their entire reproductive lives in cages or runs, and provided with minimal to no positive human interaction or other forms of environmental enrichment. Numerous anecdotal reports have suggested that after removal from CBEs many of the former breeding dogs display persistent behavioural and psychological abnormalities when compared with the general pet dog population. The purpose of this study was to determine if this anecdotal evidence could be confirmed empirically. Behavioural evaluations of the dogs were obtained from current owners/fosterers using the Canine Behavioural Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ), which utilizes ordinal scales to rate either the intensity or frequency of the dog's behaviours. A total of 1169 former CBE dogs were included in the study. Among the CBE ex-breeding dogs, 76 different breeds were represented. With the exception of the Bichon Frise (31.5%), all other breeds comprised

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 135
Issue 1
Pages 86-94
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.09.006
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. C-BARQ
  2. Dogs
  3. psychopathology
  4. Stress
  5. welfare