Dog breeding establishment licence

This page is in the process of being updated. Please find more information here.

The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, Breeding of Dogs Act 1991 and The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 require a person running a dog breeding establishment to obtain a licence.

A person keeps a breeding establishment for dogs at any premises if they carry on a business of breeding dogs for sale.

A person is presumed to be carrying out the business of breeding dogs for sale where they breed and sell more than two litters in a 12 month period, or during any 12 month period, five or more litters are born to their bitches which are:

  • kept by him at any premises during any period of 12 months;
  • kept by any relative of his at those premises;
  • kept by him elsewhere;
  • kept by any person under a breeding arrangement with him.

If a licence is required, you may only operate as a breeding establishment once in receipt of a valid licence.

  • Eligibility
    Applicants for a dog breeding licence must not be disqualified under:

    - Dog Breeding Acts of 1973 and 1999 from keeping a breeding establishment
    - Pet Animals Act 1951 from keeping a pet shop
    - Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954 from having the custody of animals
    - Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 from the boarding of animals
    - Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 34(2)(3) or (4).

    We have detailed conditions (pdf, 604kb) and guidance (docx, 56kb) for dog breeders.
  • Application process
    Before making an application, you must consider whether the activity will require planning permission. You are required to contact our Planning department. In addition to the dog breeding application form (pdf, 90kb) you must submit:

    - The licensing fee
    - Plan of the premises
    - Employer’s/public liability for dog breeding establishments
    - Planning permission - new applications only.

    Before an initial licence is issued, the premises must be inspected by a vet and a licensing officer. The cost of the vet inspection will be paid by the applicant. Subsequent inspections will be made on an annual basis by a licensing officer. If it is deemed necessary a vet may be instructed to inspect the premises at the licence holder’s expense.

    If we have not contacted you to make arrangements to complete an inspection within 14 days of your application, please contact us to check that your application was correctly made and received.

    We will endeavour to issue a licence within a period of six weeks, however, if we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications. We must determine an application before the end of a period of three months.
  • What conditions will be attached to a licence?
    In November 2014, we adopted the model conditions (docx, 75kb) and guidance (docx, 56kb) produced by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). A dog breeder will have to comply with the conditions at all times. The conditions relate to record keeping, permitted number of animals, disease prevention and control, and accommodation.
  • How long does a licence last?
    Licences run for 12 months from the date of issue and are renewable annually. Licence holders will receive a written reminder from us prior to the expiry of their licence. Licences must be renewed prior to their expiry if the premises are to continue as a dog breeding establishment.

    On the death of a licence holder, licences pass to their personal representative for a period of three months from the day of their death and then expire.

    Please be aware that we can also impose additional conditions for individual premises where appropriate.
  • Records required to be kept
    A record (docx, 14kb) must be kept by every licensed dog breeder for each breeding bitch at the premises and made available for inspection by an authorised officer. The Breeding of Dogs (Licensing Records) Regulations 1999 stipulate the format of records required to be kept. It is necessary to:

    - provide the name of the bitch, date of birth, address where she is kept, breed, description, date of mating and details of sire;
    - keep a record of any litters, including the sex of the puppies, date of birth, weight, description and total number in the litter;
    - show the details of sale, namely the date of sale, name and address of who was supplied and the status of the purchaser (private owner or pet shop).
  • Offences and penalties
    The following offences and penalties apply to dog breeders.

    - Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying any person in the exercise of his powers of entry or inspection shall be subject to a fine not exceeding level three (currently £1,000).
    - Any person found guilty of keeping a breeding establishment for dogs without a licence shall be subject to imprisonment for up to three months, or to a fine not exceeding level four (currently £2,500), or to both.
    - Any person found guilty of contravening or failing to comply with any conditions of the licence shall be subject to imprisonment for up to three months, or to a fine not exceeding level four (£2,500) or to both.

    Where a person is convicted under this Act, the court also has power to order the cancellation of the licence to keep a breeding establishment for dogs and to disqualify such person from keeping a breeding establishment for dogs and/or from having custody of any dog of whatever description is specified in the court's order for such period as the court thinks fit.
  • Rights of entry and appeal
    Authorised officers of the Council and/or authorised veterinary surgeons/practitioners may enter and inspect a licensed dog breeding establishment at any reasonable time and may apply to a Magistrates' Court for permission to enter a suspected unlicensed premises.

    Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates’ Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.