Overview of the process for importing dogs less than 8 months of age for breeding or show/exhibition (permanent stay) from the USA
Detailed information on the animal health and documentation requirements are provided in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and are the official requirements. This overview is provided for ease of reference only.
Before deciding to apply for an import permit
- Review the import requirements outlined in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). Insert the following codes when making your search:
HS Code Level 1: 01-Live Animals
HS Code Level 2: 06-Other Live Animals
HS Code Level 3: 19-Other Mammals
OGD Extension Level 1: 2083-Domestic Dog (permanent, temporary entry / in-transit)
OGD Extension Level 2: 02-Commercial dogs – less than 8 months of age
Origin Level 1: US-United States
Origin Level 2: (Select the State you intend to import from)
End Use: 96-For breeding purposes, not for direct retail sale
End Use: 43-Show or Exhibition
Miscellaneous Code: 909-Permanent stay in Canada
Importers using the breeding or show/exhibition (permanent stay) end uses must demonstrate that they are a recognized breeder in Canada by providing proof of their current, valid membership with either the Canadian Kennel Club or another equivalent national breed association/club in Canada at the time of import permit application.
Breeders are limited to 2 import permits per year with a maximum of 2 dogs per permit. If a breeder would like to import additional animals, they must meet the requirements outlined under the resale/adoption end use in AIRS.
If you will be importing dogs by air, review the criteria for quarantine facilities for commercial dogs less than 8 months of age.
Requests to approve a quarantine facility located more than 100 km away from the airport where the shipment will first enter Canada may be considered provided there is a written contingency plan in place should any animals require immediate medical attention, quarantine and/or further inspection on arrival.
If you have questions about the quarantine criteria or are uncertain whether your facility or contingency plan would be acceptable, contact your local CFIA animal health office for assistance. They will be able to discuss your specific situation and provide guidance on meeting the requirements.
Share the certification requirements, as outlined in AIRS, with your breeder in the USA so they are prepared and able to meet the requirements. These include, but are not limited to:
- inspection of the kennel of origin to ensure it meets specific animal health criteria,
- vaccination of the dogs against rabies (if 3 months of age or older) and other canine diseases,
- treatment of the dogs for external and internal parasites, and
- examination of the dogs to ensure they are healthy and fit to travel.
The breeder in the USA will require the services of a veterinarian who is accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to complete the required kennel inspection, vaccinations, treatments, examination, and export documentation.
Obtaining USDA certification is a simple and efficient process.
- Many private licensed veterinarians in the USA are already USDA Accredited Veterinarians. If the breeder in the USA needs to find an accredited veterinarian in their area they can consult the USDA website for a list.
- Most of the requirements for certification can be completed during a single on-site visit before the animals are exported.
- The USDA Accredited Veterinarian may submit the export certification to the USDA electronically for timely review and endorsement.
- The breeder in the USA can print their completed and endorsed export certificate from home.
The requirement for the kennel of origin to be inspected within the 90 days immediately preceding the date of export to Canada does not mean that the kennel must be inspected every 90 days. If a breeder exports to Canada on an occasional basis they will only require a single inspection within the 90 days immediately prior to exporting the animals. This inspection can occur at the same time the USDA Accredited Veterinarian completes the other export requirements for the dogs being exported.
If a recognized breeder in Canada is advised by their exporting breeder in the USA that they are unable to obtain the required inspection and certification of the kennel of origin from a USDA Accredited Veterinarian, the recognized breeder in Canada can submit a derogation request along with their import permit application. The CFIA will consider derogation requests on a case by case basis. See the Derogation Request Overview section below for more information.
Vaccination against rabies is required if the dogs will be 3 months of age or older at the time of export to Canada. However, contrary to other categories of imported dogs, there is no waiting period after rabies vaccination before the dogs are eligible for export.
The required export certificate for breeding dogs being exported to Canada from the USA can be found on the USDA website in the Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS).
If you decide to apply for an import permit
- Create a My CFIA account as applications must be submitted online.
- Submit your import permit application form through the My CFIA portal.
To import dogs under the breeding end use you will be required to provide proof of a current, valid membership with the Canadian Kennel Club or another equivalent national breed association/club in Canada.
A copy of the membership/registration document (whether it's a certificate, card or other official document) which was issued to you by the association/club at the time you were approved/renewed as a member and demonstrates that your membership is current/valid is considered acceptable as proof of valid membership for recognized breeders.
The address of the importing kennel listed on the import permit application must be the same as the address of the registered kennel listed on the provided proof of membership.
If you will be importing dogs by air, ensure that your post-import quarantine facility and contingency plan (if applicable) are ready, including any necessary arrangements for veterinary care. These will need to be approved by your local CFIA office before an import permit is issued. The CFIA will contact you to arrange this.
The post-import quarantine facility and contingency plan (if applicable) will only be required if there are health or documentation issues that require further inspection or the animals will be ordered removed from Canada for non-compliance.
- You must have a transport plan. Animals must be shipped by the most direct and appropriate route from the point of export to the address of destination in Canada. This will include identifying the planned airport or land border crossing that will be used to enter Canada.
When your import permit has been issued and you are ready to import
- Provide your breeder in the USA with a copy of your import permit. This is required by the USDA to complete the certification process.
Once the export documents are endorsed and you are ready to transport the dogs, notify the CFIA animal health office located at the airport or land border crossing that will be used to enter Canada of your import, including the planned arrival time in Canada, number and type of dogs you are importing, and the intended end use of the dogs.
Entry into Canada must be through the airport or border crossing identified on your import permit and notification must be provided before transport begins.
Upon arrival at a Canadian airport or border crossing.
You or an authorized agent should be reachable by the CFIA veterinarian inspecting the shipment at the airport or land border crossing identified on your import permit.
All imports of dogs less than 8 months of age must be inspected by a CFIA veterinarian at the airport or land border crossing. If no health or documentation issues are identified, the dogs will be permitted entry into Canada and can continue to their destination.
If a shipment arriving by air is found to be non-compliant, the dogs will be required to quarantine in your pre-approved post-import quarantine facility. You or an authorized agent will be required to transport the dogs under a CFIA seal and license to the quarantine facility. The dogs will remain in quarantine until the CFIA completes a review of the situation to determine if the shipment will be eligible for entry into Canada or ordered removed.
If a shipment arriving by land is found to be non-compliant, the dogs will be refused entry and be required to return to the USA.
Explanation of certain terms used in the Automated Import Reference System
- Licensed veterinarian – a veterinarian who is authorized to practice veterinary medicine in the country of origin. In Canada, USA and other many other countries this type of veterinarian would also be referred to as a private practice veterinarian
- Accredited veterinarian – a veterinarian who is recognized by a government veterinary service as being trained and approved to complete export documents which will then be endorsed by the central veterinary service of the country of origin before being used to export animals
- Official veterinarian of a central veterinary service – a veterinarian that works for the authority recognized by the CFIA for endorsing documents prepared by a licensed or accredited veterinarian. Examples of central veterinary services include the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Germany's Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Derogation Request Overview
Considering that some breeders in the USA may not have had sufficient time to adjust their export activities to be able to meet the kennel of origin inspection and certification requirement, the CFIA has developed a temporary derogation to allow for an additional transition period. This derogation will be available only to recognized breeders in Canada importing dogs for breeding or show/exhibition (permanent stay) from the USA from July 1, 2021 until December 31, 2021.
During this time, if a recognized breeder in Canada is advised by their breeder in the USA that they are unable to obtain the required inspection and certification of the kennel of origin from a USDA Accredited Veterinarian, the recognized breeder in Canada can submit a derogation request to the CFIA's National Centre for Permissions.
In order to be considered, your derogation request must include the following information:
- 1) Either the number of the issued import permit that was issued to you or a completed import permit application.
- 2) A signed and dated letter from your breeder in the USA outlining the reason why a USDA Accredited Veterinarian was unable to inspect and certify their kennel of origin. Including any supporting documentation.
- 3) A copy of your USA breeder's current, valid membership with a national breed association/club in the United States to demonstrate that they are a recognized breeder in the USA. The exporting kennel listed on the import permit application should be the same as the registered kennel listed on the provided proof of membership.
The CFIA will consider derogation requests on a case by case basis. Depending on the reason given for not being able to comply with the kennel of origin certification, CFIA may contact USDA to validate the information provided.
Incomplete derogation requests will not be considered and you will be required to re-submit the derogation request with all the necessary information and documentation.
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