Code of Ethics for
Breeders of APBTs/
Section I: Introduction & Mission Statement

Code of Ethics For Breeders of American Pit Bull Terriers/American
Staffordshire Terriers

Section I: Introduction & Mission Statement

Introduction: The material presented herein is to serve as a guide for
breeders and reference tool for potential buyers seeking out breeders.
The goal in presenting this Code of Ethics is not to promote Pit Bull
breeding, but rather to discourage indiscriminate breeding, poor breeding
practices, and support of unethical breeders. RPB supports and
encourages rescue above and beyond breeding or purchasing Pit Bulls.

Mission Statement: The ethical breeder of American Pit Bull Terriers
and/or American Staffordshire Terriers ("Pit Bulls") shall always hold
paramount the future of the breed. A desire for betterment and
preservation of the Pit Bull breed should be the sole driving force behind
a breeder's choice to produce puppies.

1) The breed's future: because of a) anti-Pit Bull legislation, b)
irresponsible ownership, c) criminal animal abuse, and d) a surplus of
dogs, the future of the Pit Bull is in jeopardy. Prior to planning a litter, a
breeder should ask himself/herself if the litter will jeopardize the future of
the breed by contributing in any way to a, b, c, and/or d above.

2) Betterment of the breed: the goal of the ethical Pit Bull breeder should
always be, first and foremost, to better the breed through the production
of puppies that are as good as or superior to the previous generation.
Production of Pit Bulls that ideally represent the United Kennel Club
(UKC), American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA), and/or American
Kennel Club (AKC) Standard(s) should be considered the pinnacle of a Pit
Bull breeding program.

3) Preservation of the breed: ethical breeders should work to preserve,
through legal and humane means, the Pit Bull breed as it was, is and
should be. Means to achieve this goal include: protecting the integrity of
the breed through adherence to the Standards; careful culling (via
sterilization, and/or humane euthanasia when necessary) of sub-
standard stock; meticulous record-keeping, DNA profiling, microchipping,
and pedigree research; studying to achieve a scholarly knowledge of
breed history, temperament, health, structure, and genetics.

Section II: Actions of the Ethical Pit Bull Breeder

Note 1: For simplicity’s sake, "dog" will apply to both sexes. “Breeding
stock” will apply to any dog or dogs that the Ethical Pit Bull breeder will
breed, allow to be bred, or pay for the breeding services of.

Note 2: The pedigrees (previous generations) of all breeding stock
should be considered as important as the breeding stock itself.

Note 3:  Proper care, management and training are beyond the scope of
this document. However an Ethical Pit Bull Breeder keeps their dogs well
trained, in good health, in clean quarters, provides daily exercise and
mental stimulation, and does not keep more dogs than can adequately
be provided for.

The Ethical Pit Bull Breeder chooses breeding stock based on several

a) correctness of temperament (see #2 and Item 2)
b) health and vitality of the individual dogs (see #3,  Item 3, and Note 3)
c) conformity to the applicable breed standard of the recognized Pit Bull
registry (see # 5)
d) qualities the individual dogs may offer to future generations
e) qualities the pedigrees of the individual dogs may offer to future

The Ethical Pit Bull Breeder holds “A” and “B” above paramount above all
other considerations when choosing breeding stock.

The Ethical Pit Bull Breeder:

1) has an extensive knowledge of Pit Bulls (their history, genetics, the
Standards, care, training), as well as a strong understanding of breeding
practices, canine health, and dog behavior/training

2) chooses breeding stock that is temperamentally sound and
representative of the Standards. In addition, the Ethical Pit Bull Breeder
does not breed any Pit Bull that is human-aggressive, fearful, exhibits
behavior typically seen in breeds of the protection/guardian group, nor
any Pit Bull that is not “temperament correct” (see item 3 below).

Item 2: The temperament correct Pit Bull: seeks out human interaction; is
responsive, biddable and eager to please; may be genetically
predisposed to aggression towards other dogs or animals; is
appropriately submissive; is well balanced and optimistic; enjoys
handling; presents good eye contact; is able to be calm in the presence
of other dogs on leash or - if initially leash reactive - can learn how to
tolerate their presence; is willing to connect with handler during high
arousal; can be handled safely even in times of high arousal; accepts a
reasonable amount of confinement; drops arousal levels quickly when
removed from a stressful situation; is social with people of all types; is
responsive and good natured; is never aggressive towards humans.

3) health tests all breeding stock prior to breeding, and certifies health of
breeding stock prior to breeding where such certifications are available.
Tests and certifications shall be conducted and processed prior to any
dog being bred. Required health tests and certifications include: hips,
elbows, thyroid, and heart (evaluated and certified by organizations such
as Orthopedic Foundation for Animals [OFA] for hips, elbows, thyroid, and
heart, or PennHip for hips). Dogs should test negative for Brucellosis and
von Willebrand's Disease. Additional testing may be conducted for the
following health abnormalties: Spinocerebellar/Hereditary Ataxia
(specifically on American Staffordshire Terriers), and Progressive Retinal
Atrophy (PRA) with subsequent registration with Canine Eye Registry
Foundation (CERF) encouraged for dogs free of PRA. Results and
certifications of any and all tests will be made readily available to
potential buyers if tested and certified dogs will be bred. In addition,
immediately prior to each breeding, all breeding stock should pass a
basic veterinary health examination and be determined to be in good

Item 3: No dog with unsatisfactory health tests and/or certification
results shall ever be bred. Unsatisfactory results would be (among

a) OFA hip ratings below fair
b) OFA elbow ratings that indicated elbow dysplasia
c) PennHip ratings that show abnormal joint laxity
d) thyroids that do not test normal; thyroids that test TgAA positive
e) hearts that are not found to be clear of murmurs or other
abnormalities upon examination with a Doppler (ultrasound) exam by a
Board Certified Cardiologist
f) positive tests for Spincerebellar/Hereditary Ataxia
g) positive tests for PRA
h) positive tests for any other hereditary/congenital/genetic disease

Note 3) No dog that has ever been diagnosed with a  
hereditary/congenital skin disease (including  demodectic mange) shall
ever be bred. A dog with chronic health problems (such as skin allergies)
and/or weaknesses, and/or immune weakness shall never be bred. A
dog that has torn anterior cruxiate ligaments (ACL) shall never be bred
unless the torn ligaments were damaged because of conceivable stress
and/or injury which indicate normal environmental causes and not
hereditary/congenital/genetic weakness.

5) chooses breeding stock that conforms to the Standard(s) of the
applicable recognized Pit Bull registry.

6) registers breeding stock and produced litters with a recognized Pit Bull

Item 1: For the sake of this Code of Ethics, recognized Pit Bull registries
will be considered the United Kennel Club and the American Dog
Breeders Association (for American Pit Bull Terriers and American
Staffordshire Terriers being registered as American Pit Bull Terriers), and
the American Kennel Club (for American Staffordshire Terriers). These
organizations are the oldest and hold breed standards that are most
sought after and followed.

7) only breeds mature (over 2 years of age) dogs. Does not breed elderly
bitches, nor does the Ethical Pit Bull breeder breed any one bitch more
than once every 24 months.

8) seeks validation of quality of breeding stock through competition in
organized dog sports and subsequent achievement of titles and
certifications such as:

a)        UKC, ADBA, and AKC conformation, obedience, agility, and
performance titles
b)        certifications such as the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC),
American Temperament
Test Society’s Temperament Tested (TT), Therapy Dogs International’s
Therapy Dog International (TDI), and other similar, valid certifications.
c) events, titles, and certifications offered by other valid organizations.

9) breeds less than 3 litters every year. Should ideally breed no more
than 1 litter a year.

10) breeds when there is a specific demand for the puppies, and owners
for puppies have been predetermined before birth.

Section III: Puppies, Placement, and Care

Note 5: Section III also applies to adolescent dogs and/or adult dogs any
breeder may have in their care and potentially place.

1) chooses homes based on ability to properly care for and handle a Pit
Bull, and acts as match maker between puppy/dog and potential owner  
to ensure compatibility.  

Item 4: The quality of the home any puppy or dog is placed into should
be of great importance. The Ethical Pit Bull Breeder only considers a
potential owner that:

a) has already done good breed research. Asks good questions. Shows
willingness to learn more
b) is realistic about breed challenges (dog-aggression, high energy
levels, strong and pushy, breed specific legislation, rental and home
owners insurance issues, bad reputation of breed, etc.)
c) shows a stable, mature, open-minded personality
d) is happy to be interviewed and receive a home inspection
e) is physically capable of handling a strong dog
f) wants an indoor pet as a companion animal/family member
g) has had some dog experience and knowledge of basic training.
h) has a reasonably active lifestyle and is prepared to satisfy dog's daily
exercise needs
i) owns a home or has a secure rental that will allow a Pit Bull (should
provide proof in lease)
j) can provide safe containment: tall, secure fences if yard is present and
working latches on gates.
k) lives in a household (includes roommates, children, seniors) that  is
involved in the decision to bring a Pit Bull into the family and is able to
help manage a dog
l) has other pets in the home that are a good match and understands
that Pit Bull must be separated from other pets when not supervised

12) socializes and conducts basic training with all puppies before sending
them to their new homes.

13) microchips all puppies prior to sending them to their new homes.

14) does not place puppies under 8 weeks of age.

15) does not place puppies in areas where breed specific legislation that
would endanger the puppy’s life or quality of life exists.

16) provides legally-binding, non-expiring contracts upon purchase that
protect buyer as well as puppy. Contract certifies health (congenital,
genetic, hereditary) and temperamental soundness of puppy. Assures
puppy is disease-free prior to placement through records detailing proper
veterinary and health care. Contract includes clause that requires new
owner to relocate with the dog, or return the dog to the Ethical Pit Bull
Breeder in the event that breed specific legislation that would endanger
the puppy’s life or quality of life is enacted in the new owner’s city/state.

17) takes responsibility for any puppy produced, during any point in the
lifetime of that puppy, should the original home become unable to care
for the puppy or grown adult dog.

18) sends puppies home with papers from the recognized Pit Bull registry
to allow the new owner to register the puppy in his/her name; unless the
puppy is pet stock and is not spayed or neutered prior to going to new
home, in which case, the Ethical Pit Bull Breeder will withhold papers until
the new owner can provide proof of spay/neuter. It is strongly advised,
however, that the Ethical Pit Bull Breeder spays/neuters all pet stock
prior to placement in new homes.

Item 5: “Pet stock” is any puppy that is not or would not potentially be
bred by an Ethical Pit Bull Breeder, and/or any puppy that will not
potentially be shown in conformation events.  

19) after sending puppy home, offers support indefinitely to new owner
by way of breed counseling, training/behavior advice, health care
information, referrals, etc.

20) recognizes that breeding is not a money making venture, a business,
nor a means to bring in extra money. Stud fees and sale prices of
puppies should reflect the costs of ethical breeding. The ethical breeder
does not see a profit at the end of the year, but may actually see a loss.

© Copyright 2005 Mary Harwelik