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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

over 12 months and £ deposit


Course summary


Expert Tutoring

12 months tutor support


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Endorsed by the

Quality Licence Scheme


NUS Card Eligibility

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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 does NCC stand for?

NCC originally stood for the National Consortium of FE (Further Education) Colleges. This brought together the FE Colleges to achieve the best provision. Regular national meetings were attended by both Colleges and Government agencies who funded them. This was very helpful to them both to best deliver training to their students.

For more than 25 years NCC has supplied FE Colleges with learning materials as well as student marketing.

NCC now specialise in online training of a very high quality to students both self-funded, paid for by schools, employers and training providers.

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 you can study anytime, anyplace, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a job, family commitments, or any other commitment that won’t allow them time off to study.

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

Both our online and paper courses are completed via an online learning portal (LMS) which you can access after you receive your login details by email. Please ensure that you check your junk email if you do not receive your login details within 48 hours.

All learners will submit their assignments, receive feedback and correspond with their tutor directly through the LMS. If you require help from our support team, then simply email [email protected].

If you opt for the online course, you will not receive any course materials through the post. Everything is available via the LMS.

If you opt for the paper version, you are simply paying for a study book to be printed and posted to your home, or place of work. You will use this book as a reference guide, but you will still be required to upload your assignments and correspond with your tutor via the LMS.

If you are unable to access our online LMS, we do have alternative options available, so please email [email protected] in order to request further support.

What do I need to do to get started?

We recommend that you choose a course that will interest you and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, contact us here or dial 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 much will it cost?

The cost largely depends on the type and size of the course. The course cost is determined by the expenses associated with its provision, taking into consideration the course's size and complexity, development costs, the presence of a study materials, and the level of tutor support required. Some courses also necessitate additional in-person assessments by assessors, which incur additional expenses and consequently affect the course's cost.

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 require an external invigilated assessment, such as A Levels, ICB qualifications etc. To clarify, please speak to a course advisor.

How do I enrol?

Once you've chosen your course, you have two options for enrolment:

  1. You can purchase the course online by clicking the "Buy now" button, which will enrol you automatically.
  2. Alternatively, you can call our helpline at 0333 3445 690, and our expert course advisors will assist you in signing up for the course and arrange for the delivery of any requested additional learning materials to your address.

All courses are available to purchase in full or via affordable monthly payments over 12 months. A £29 non-refundable deposit is required for monthly payments, and you will be required to set up a monthly direct debit.

We do not require you to complete a credit check to sign up for monthly payments.

How quickly will I receive my course materials?

We guarantee that you will receive any course materials ordered within 5 working days of registering, but for many of our courses it may take 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 book within our stated period.

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

All the relevant information required to complete your course is available via the LMS. Additional research via the internet is encouraged, depending on the level you are working at, to bolster knowledge of the subject area.

There is no requirement to purchase any additional materials.

What support will I receive?

You will have access to a dedicated personal tutor whom you can contact through the Learning Management System (LMS) for assistance and guidance on any course-related matters. Your tutor will only initiate contact in response to your messages. If you encounter any difficulties reaching your tutor, please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected]

Many courses require you to submit work to your tutor during the period of study, and your tutor will assess your work and provide feedback to you within 10 working days. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please note that the course includes tutor support for a duration of 12 months. If you require additional time, please inform us, and we will make every effort to provide you with an option for a paid extension, if feasible, to assist you in completing your course.

Please be aware that our tutors are actively assisting multiple learners, and to ensure they are not inundated with excessive workloads, we have implemented a policy limiting learners to submitting a maximum of three units of work for evaluation at any given time. We recommend that you upload your completed units as you finish them. This way, you can benefit from your tutor's feedback to enhance your future assignment submissions.

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 10 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.

Kindly note that our tutors are currently supporting multiple learners simultaneously. In order to maintain a balanced workload for them, we have established a policy that restricts learners to submitting a maximum of three units of work for evaluation at any given time.

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. Your end of support date is when you need to have your course copmpleted by in order to be able to be certificated, this is usually 12 months from purchase.

The duration of the course is largely down to you. 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.

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 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 [email protected], NCC can then discuss or put you in touch directly with the course provider.

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 that if your circumstances change you can always take a limited break and come back to your studies to save your paid for support.

If you decide to enrol on more than one course at the same time, speak to our enquiries team for any bundle deals or offers.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Certainly, in most instances, there are no geographical constraints on where you can undertake your studies. However, it's important to note that specific courses may be subject to geographical limitations imposed by the Awarding Organisation, and these restrictions will be clearly stated in the course description.

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.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you may return the materials within 14 days, provided you have not yet submitted any coursework for evaluation. Please note that you will be responsible for covering the return shipping costs. We will refund your payment, minus a non-refundable deposit of £29. Additionally, you have the option to select an alternative course that better matches your goals and aspirations.

For any help on cancelling your course please email [email protected], we will only deal with cancellation enquiries via email.

What is a Totum Card?

Totum is the new brand for UK student cards and replaces the old NUS student card. NCC students are eligible to sign-up for the Totum card where applicable, giving access to a multitude of retail, food and travel special discounts. For more information, you can visit their website:

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