Dog breeding licence

Guidance and conditions

General conditions

General conditions apply in respect of:

  • licence display
  • records
  • use, number and type of animal
  • staffing
  • suitable environment
  • suitable diet
  • monitoring of behaviour and training of animals
  • animal handling and interactions
  • protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
  • emergencies

Other conditions

Specific, extra conditions for dog breeding set out rules for:

  • advertisements and sales
  • suitable environment
  • suitable diet
  • monitoring of behaviour and training
  • housing with or apart from other dogs
  • protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Before a licence is issued an inspection will be undertaken by an experienced council animal licensing officer. This will include a visit from a vet for a new licence holder.

Where a licence holder is expected to have written plans, procedures, or documented checks, officers will wish to see these as part of the inspection.

A licence with a score of one star can be issued to a previously licensed business if they have 'minor failings' which are predominantly administrative or if they are in relation to standards, they do not compromise the welfare of the animals.  New applicants can only be licenced if they meet or exceed the minimum standards.  Businesses meeting minimum standards will be graded 2 or 3 stars.  Those meeting the higher standards, as laid down in the guidance, will score 4 or 5 stars.

Complaints about unlicensed dog breeders 

We regularly receive complaints that a person selling a puppy should be licenced as a dog breeder. We will investigate these if the person reporting their concerns is willing to provide a statement and give their evidence (e.g. screenshots of web pages) if the matter goes to court.

The current rules are complex and we must establish the number of litters bred and how the puppies were sold.

Fines and penalties

If you or your business breeds dogs without a licence you could go to prison for up to 6 months or get an unlimited fine. You could also get an unlimited fine if you break the conditions of your licence.

Full conditions are available on the Gov.UK web site.