Dog breeders

Changes to legislation →
On 1st October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (external link) came into force. This legislation has changed the way dog breeding is licensed and regulated.

If you are a dog breeder, you may need an animal activity licence. To obtain a licence, you need to ensure that you meet the specific licence conditions for breeding dogs.

Do I need a licence?

You will need a licence if you are:

  • Breeding three or more litters of puppies per year (unless you can show that none of the puppies have been sold)
  • Breeding puppies and advertising a business to sell them, with a view to making a profit, regardless of the number of litters produced per year. This is not restricted to registered businesses - individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.

For further guidance visit GOV.UK (external link).

When do I NOT need a licence?

You will NOT need a licence if you are:

  • A breeder who can provide documented evidence, if requested, that none of the puppies were sold or that you kept all of the puppies yourself. Documented evidence will need to include records of the new owners of all of the puppies and provide details on why there was no transaction involved (including in kind)
  • A registered charity that re-homes puppies that are born to rescue dogs, unless such registered charities are running this element of their operations as a commercial activity
  • Breeding only assistance dogs as defined in the Equality Act 2010 (e.g. Guide Dogs for the Blind)
  • Keeping a dog under the Animal Health Act 1981
  • An organisation regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
  • Breeding a small number of puppies (i.e. less than 3 litters per year) that are sold without making a profit.

Fees

To find out how much your animal activity licence will cost, see:

How to apply

Inspections

We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before we can approve an application.

As part of your inspection, you will be given a rating based on specific criteria.

What do I do if I already have a licence?

Before the expiry date of your licence, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.

You are advised to familiarise yourself with the new licence conditions to ensure you are able to comply with these before making a new application - see further guidance on complying with the new conditions (external link).

Public register

We maintain a public register of all the businesses which hold an animal activity licence, a copy of which is available below. This will be updated on a regular basis.

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