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Animal Care

Canine Studies Diploma

The Canine Studies Diploma is perfectly suited for those with an interest in dogs, either in an employment capacity, or simply for pleasure.

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Level 3 / Quality Licence Scheme / ODL37

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over 12 months and £ deposit

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Course summary


Expert Tutoring

12 months tutor support


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Course, assignments & tutor


Endorsed by the

Quality Licence Scheme


NUS Card Eligibility

Enjoy student discounts

Course introduction

This Quality Licence Scheme Level 3 Diploma course is perfectly suited for those with an interest in dogs, either in an employment capacity, or simply for pleasure.

Module 1 - Introduction to Canine Studies
This first unit of the Diploma in Canine Studies course will go through how the dog has changed over time, through its ancestors and the story of domestication. The first unit will provide students with the foundation knowledge required for further studies related to dogs and begin to provide answers to the manner in which dogs behave. The reasons why humans care for them in the way that they do is also examined.

It covers the following:
- Taxonomy - how dogs are classified and categorised and how they fit into the animal kingdom
- The origins of canines, and the various theories as to how they evolved
- The history of domestication of the dog
- The links between dogs and wolves, and the similarities and differences between them
- The ways in which humans used dogs in the past, and the ways in which we continue to use them today, for working purposes and for sport and leisure

Module 2 - Canine Anatomy and Physiology
This unit will cover the anatomy and physiology of canines in much greater detail providing students with an extensive knowledge of their structure.

It examines the main body systems of the dog, including the following:
- skeleton
- muscles
- nervous system and sensory organs
- endocrine system
- circulatory system
- respiratory system
- immune system

Please note: The digestive system and reproductive systems are not covered within this unit. They will be discussed in more detail within the units on nutrition and reproduction at a later stage.

Module 3 - Nutrition
This section focuses on canine nutrition. Nutrition is more than just eating food, but is the science of food and of nourishing the body. The bodies of all mammals are built and maintained using the nutrients that are consumed in their diet, and dogs are no exception to this, therefore a crucial topic that needs to be considered. In order to maintain healthy physiological systems, and have plenty of energy, dogs must consume a diet containing the correct nutrients in the correct quantities, so a knowledge of nutrition is important for anyone involved in the care of canines to ensure their well being.

This unit introduces the following:
- The structure and function of the canine digestive system
- The particular nutritional requirements of the dog, and understand how the various nutrients affect the functioning of the physiological systems
- A knowledge of the levels of protein and fat in the diet, according to age and lifestyle
- Monitoring the effectiveness of a dog's diet
- The health problems associated with incorrect feeding
- Foods that are poisonous to dogs
- Ailments of the digestive system

Module 4 - Canine Diseases

Diseases can vary considerably in terms of their ferocity, some harmful and obvious, others more subtle. There is an endless list as to the causes and number of diseases that could be potentially harm a canine. They can be divided into two groups; infectious and non infectious.

Not every disease can be covered in detail within this unit. Students will learn about those that are most common and will be introduced to the following areas:
- The disease causing organisms - bacteria, fungi and viruses, and the difference between them
- The main internal and external parasites that affect the dog
- The signs and modes of transmission of the main infectious diseases affecting the dog
- The signs of some degenerative diseases that dogs may suffer from

Canines can also suffer from genetic diseases which have not been touched upon in this module, they will be covered in a later unit.

Module 5 - Canine Health and Veterinary Care

In this unit students will look at how some of the previously mentioned diseases can be diagnosed and treated, and what measures can be adopted to prevent such diseases from occurring and what can be done to promote good health of the dog and prevent many problems.

The following issues are covered:
- The diagnostic methods and medicines used for a range of canine diseases
- The diagnostic methods, treatment and prognosis for injuries affecting the canine
- The legal restrictions placed upon the veterinary profession and lay people
- The application of First Aid to a dog
- Some of the technological equipment used in small animal veterinary practice

Module 6 - Canine Genetics

This module covers the science of genetics and how the knowledge can be put to use when selecting dogs for breeding. The process of evolution is explained to students and explains how dogs and wolves have naturally evolved over millions of years, due to the process of natural selection to become the creatures that they are today.

By the end of this module, you will have been introduced to:
- The terminology of genetics
- The process by which genes are passed from parent to offspring
- Genetic mutations
- The difference between natural selection and artificial selection
- Theories of evolution
- Some common genetic disorders in the dog

Module 7 - Reproduction

This section focuses on the reproduction process for canines. Following on from the previous unit on the genetics of the dog, this unit looks at how this knowledge can be put to use when choosing suitable dogs and bitches for breeding. It covers the physiology of reproduction and the care of the newborn puppies.

The following topics are examined:
- The reproductive anatomy of the dog
- The reproductive anatomy of the bitch
- The oestrus cycle
- Conception and development of pregnancy
- The process of whelping
- The development of neonatal puppies
- The different methods of insemination - natural and artificial
- Problems associated with pregnancy
- Problems associated with the birth

Module 8 - Behaviour Part 1

The study of canine behaviour and why dogs do the things they do is a massive subject area to study and must be split up into two segments. Canine behaviour encompasses many branches of science, such as biology, neuroscience and psychology. The first half explains why dogs behave in the way they do, and covers normal canine behaviour, and explains how dogs learn what they are taught by their human owners and from their own actions.

The following topics are discussed:
-The similarities and differences between wolf behaviour and domestic dog behaviour
- How genes play a part in behaviour, and the differences between breeds
- How dogs learn, and the different learning theories
- The areas of the brain associated with various aspects of behaviour
- The senses of the dog and how these affect behaviour
- The effects of diet, hormones and health on behaviour
- The effects of previous experience on behaviour
- Stereotypical behaviour
- How the knowledge of how dogs learn can be used during training

Module 9 - Canine Behaviour Part 2

This section looks at problem behaviour in dogs. Anyone with a pet dog, or anyone who trains dogs or wishes to learn more about their behaviour will find this unit of particular interest and very useful.

It will cover:
- The types of behavioural problem that are commonly reported in pet dogs
- Some of the possible reasons why problem behaviour may occur
- Some of the techniques we can use to go about finding out the cause of the problem
- An idea of some of the ways that behaviour can be altered, either through training the dog, changing the owner's behaviour, or by means of veterinary treatment

Module 10 - Working with canines

This last unit of the course takes a look at the canine industry sector.

Issues such as working with canines will be discussed including the following areas: 
- The various organisations involved with dogs and research
- The types of jobs available working with dogs
- The law with regards to working with dogs
- The laws relating to ownership of dogs
- Running a canine business - the regulations, insurance requirements, presenting a good image to clients or customers
- Setting up a boarding kennels Breeding dogs. Materials can be studied online or students have the option to have the materials delivered in print for an additional charge of £75.

Required knowledge

No previous knowledge required


Final online multiple choice examination counts for 100% of the final grade.

Throughout the course there are ten SAPs (coursework) and a thesis.
The course clearly states that this is not mandatory to complete as it has no bearing on the final grade.

We do suggest that students complete these as this will not only assist them in examination preparation but also will give the student the skill set should they wish to continue their studies (continuous professional development) at a higher level.


At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement from Quality Licence Scheme and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the components the learner has completed as part of the course).

The course has been endorsed under the Quality Licence Scheme. This means that the provider has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet defined quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to a regulated qualification* but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills gained. The Learner Unit Summary may be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this subject. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at QLS Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

The Quality Licence Scheme is part of the Skills and Education Group, a charitable organisation that unites education and skills-orientated organisations that share similar values and objectives. With more than 100 years of collective experience, the Skills and Education Group’s strategic partnerships create opportunities to inform, influence and represent the wider education and skills sector.

The Skills and Education Group’s knowledge and experience of working within the awarding sector enables them to work with training providers, through the Quality Licence Scheme, to help them develop high-quality courses and/or training programmes for the non-regulated market.

*Regulated qualification refers to those qualifications that are regulated by Ofqual / CCEA / Qualification Wales

Course modules

  • Module 1: Introduction to Canine Studies
  • Module 2: Canine Anatomy and Physiology
  • Module 3: Nutrition
  • Module 4: Canine Diseases
  • Module 5: Canine Health and Veterinary Care
  • Module 6: Canine Genetics
  • Module 7: Reproduction
  • Module 8: Behaviour Part 1
  • Module 9: Canine Behaviour Part 2
  • Module 10: Working with canines

Learner support

This course offers full 12 months tutor support. Tutors are available to answer student questions relating to course materials and to comment on the assignments that are sent in to state how well students have understood the unit content.


What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and, therefore, you can study anytime, any place, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a full-time job, or other commitments, that won’t allow them time off to study.

What do I need to do to get started on a course?

You'll need to be able to commit the required time to your studies. We recommend that you choose a course you think will interest you, and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, please call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy now’ button against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone, call 0333 3445 690 and speak to one of our expert course advisors.

How does the distance learning/home study method work?

The course operates through a study pack and access to your own personal tutor. Once you have chosen your course we will send you your study pack, which you will be required to work through before completing the course.

Depending on the course you have chosen, you will either be required to complete assignments and submit these for marking as the course progresses and/or be required to sit an end exam. The end exam could be in the form of multiple choice questions, or be an invigilated exam at a registered test centre.

Your completed assignments will need to be sent to your tutor for marking/assessment, you will then receive written feedback and guidance. It may be possible to submit your assignments by email, however you will need to check this with your tutor. Please be aware that your assignments will be maintained by NCCHL for moderation and audit purposes.

These requirements will always be listed on the course description page, so please refer to this for details of what is required for each individual course.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from 6 weeks to 12 months to complete your course.

The duration of the course is largely down to you though. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.

We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.

How quickly will I receive my course material?

We guarantee that you will receive your course materials within 5 days of purchase, but for many courses we would anticipate that you will have to wait no more than 48 hours.

The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study pack within our stated period.

How much will it cost?

The cost is largely dependent on the type of the course. The longer the course is the higher the cost will be, due to the size of the study pack and the nature of the qualification.

All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.

Please note that there may be additional fees required should your course have an external assessment, such as A Levels, ICB qualifications etc. To clarify, please speak to a course advisor.

What support will I receive?

You will be allocated your own personal tutor who can be contacted via e-mail, telephone, fax or post for help and advice on any aspect of the course.

Many courses require that you submit work to your tutor during the period of study and your tutor will assess your work and pass comments back to you. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please be aware that officially the tutor support provided with the course is for a period of 12 months, although if you need longer let us know and we’ll endeavour to extend that.

Will I have to sit an examination?

All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.

Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.

Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit an invigilated exams at a registered test centre. You will need to organise and pay for the examinations yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be available from the centre who are delivering the qualification.

If in doubt, please email ‘’, NCC can then discuss or put you in touch directly with the course provider.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Yes, there are no geographical limits to where you can study.

You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.

Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.

Will I receive a qualification when I complete the course?

All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows. But we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.

The good news is though that if your circumstances change you can always take a break and come back to your studies.

Additionally, discounts are available if you buy more than one course at the same time.

How long will it take for my work to be marked by my tutor?

Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 12 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.

Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.

Do I need any additional books or equipment to do my course?

No, we provide everything you need to pass your course.

How do I enrol?

Once you have chosen your course, you can either purchase the course online which will enrol you, or you can call our helpline on 0333 3445 690 who will sign you up for the course and arrange to have all your learning materials sent to you.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you can simply return the goods within 14 days and we will send your money back in full for the majority of courses (excluding postage and packaging) or you can choose another course that you feel would suit your needs and ambitions better.

What is the difference between the online and paper versions of courses?

Our online courses are completed through our online learning system after receiving login and access instructions. You will not receive any course materials through the post. The paper based version is posted out in a binder to your home or place of work and requires completion of a portfolio of work that is submitted to your tutor for marking.

Where can I find your Equality and Diversity Policy?

All NCC policies and procedures can be provided on request from NCC directly by emailing or calling 0333 3445 690.

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