Breeding of dogs

Breeding establishments are required to be licensed by the local authority.  A breeding establishment is defined as any premises where the business of breeding dogs for sale is carried out.

A person will be presumed to be carrying on the business of breeding dogs for sale where during any twelve month period five or more litters are born to his/her bitch or bitches which are;

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



Licences expire on 31st December each year, regardless of when they were granted. The licensee must then apply for a new licence which will run until the next 31st December.


A fee is payable upon application.  View details of fees for Dog Breeding Licence.

Application evaluation process

Before being granted a licence the applicant must be able to demonstrate,

  • that the dogs will at all times be kept in accommodation that is suitable in respect of construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
  • that the dogs will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised, and (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals
  • that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread amongst the dogs of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of isolation facilities
  • that appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the dogs in case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable and sufficient fire fighting equipment
  • that all appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the dogs will be provided with suitable food drink and bedding material and adequately exercised when being transported to or from the breeding establishment

The Council will send an inspector to check that the conditions at the premises are adequate. A veterinarian must also inspect the premises and submit a report to the Council, the cost of this is the responsibility of the applicant. For licence renewals a veterinary inspection is not usually required.

Each licensed premises is inspected at least once a year by a Council inspector. The inspector ensures that the licence conditions are being met and advises the licensee on improvements that can be made.

Conditions are attached to each licence that deal with accommodation, feeding, control and prevention of disease/infection, emergency procedures, minimum breeding age, maximum litters per birth, frequency of breeding, maintenance of records.


An applicant must not disqualified under any of the following Acts.

  • The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 The Pet Animals Act 1951
  • The Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954

Right of appeal

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

Offences and penalties

The following offences apply to the breeding of dogs.

  • Anybody found guilty of keeping a dog breeding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,500
  • Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,500
  • Anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector or authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers may be fined up to a maximum of £1,000

If found guilty under this Act, the defendants licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping a dog breeding establishment for such length of time as the Court thinks fit.

See also advice when buying puppies