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Updates to Canadian Dog Import Laws May Impact U.S. Breeders
November 23, 2021 by AKC Government Relations

The United States isn’t the only country reviewing its rules for importing dogs. Changes in Canadian dog import laws were also implemented earlier this year at the height of the pandemic. Now, as borders open up for travel, some of the changes to Canadian requirements could be a surprise to U.S. breeders who export, co-breed, or co-own dogs with residents of Canada.  

Due to concerns about the health of animals being imported into Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection  Agency (CFIA), which oversees animal imports into Canada, has updated requirements for importing commercial dogs into the country and clarified requirements for importation of dogs from the U.S. 

Unlike the U.S., Canada categorizes dogs that are imported for show as well as transfer as “commercial.”  Canine imports categorized as “commercial” under Canadian law include dogs obtained for sale, adoption, breeding, show, exhibition, scientific research, or animal welfare organizations. 

Updates/clarifications to Canadian import requirements for puppies from the U.S. that are less than 8 months of age and obtained for showing or breeding include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Use of the MyCFIA online portal to obtain an import permit, for a single entry of no more than 2 dogs. The permit is valid for 3 months.
  • Generally, dogs must be at least 16 weeks of age and fully vaccinated against rabies. However, a puppy less than 8 months of age may be imported into Canada under the commercial category from the U.S. if the importer is a Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized breeder. A CKC recognized breeder is a member of a CKC recognized canine association or club). Recognized breeders are limited to importing 2 puppies on each import permit and are limited to 2 import permits per year. 
  • Canadian importers must obtain a CFIA certificate of inspection of their facilities  before importing the dogs by air. 
  • Dogs imported from the U.S. for the purposes of breeding or show/exhibition must come from a kennel with a certificate of origin and have a USDA veterinary health certificate for export of commercial dogs to Canada for Breeding or Show/Exhibition. This certificate requires that the U.S. facility of origin to be inspected by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and the dogs’ health be certified prior to export to Canada. USDA APHIS Veterinary Services must endorse the veterinary health certificate following the accredited veterinarian inspection and signature. Kennels already subject to USDA licensing may be able to utilize their regular inspections to fulfill the certificate of origin requirements. Breeders who are not subject to USDA licensing can obtain a list of USDA- accredited veterinarians online.
  • Dogs imported from the U.S. for the purposes of resale or adoption must have originated from a facility licensed by the USDA and have a USDA Kennel License number. The USDA veterinary health certificate for export of dogs for resale or adoption must be signed by an accredited veterinarian. USDA APHIS Veterinary Services does not endorse this certificate. 

Canadian breeders seeking an import permit from CFIA will not be granted one until the facility has been inspected and all requirements including the U.S. source inspections are completed.

There are no changes to the requirements for dogs older than 8 months imported into Canada under the personal or commercial category. Personal or commercial pets over 8 months of age require a rabies vaccination certificate and must be in good health. Assistance dogs that accompany the owner are exempt from any restrictions.
For more information,  visit USDA Resources for Pet Travel or visit Canadian government resources

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