Dog breeding licence

Breeding three or more litters of puppies in any 12-month period and/or breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs will require a licence.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have a current licence. If you operate without a licence or fail to follow licensing conditions, you may face a fine and/imprisonment.

The licence must be displayed in a public-facing area of the premises such as the entrance or animal introduction area or in a home environment shown to any potential purchasers.

If you are looking to purchase a puppy and don't see one, ask 'why?' and try to find somewhere that is licensed.

Licence summary

A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.


Complete the Application for a licence to carry on the activity of breeding dogs (PDF).

To apply, vary or renew a licence, you must comply with the licence conditions and guidance.

For any other application for cat boarding, dog kennels or dog day care (not home boarding) please contact:

Licensing Partnership
PO Box 182
TN13 1GP

Or email

Written procedures and records

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018
Dog Breeding: Written procedures and records to be kept

This highlights the written policies, procedures and records that are required to meet the minimum conditions.

With your completed application form you need to submit the following:

  • all your written procedures (these are all listed below)

By submitting all the above will ensure you will meet the minimum conditions for a license to be granted.

List of required written procedures for Dog Breeding

4.3 - The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff.

Businesses must review and update their training policy every year. The review should include:

  • an annual appraisal
  • planned continued professional development
  • recognition of any knowledge gaps

Note: Even if you have no staff you are still required to keep a log of your Continuous Professional Development

5.5 - Procedures must be in place to make sure housing and any equipment is cleaned as often as necessary and good hygiene standards are maintained.

The housing must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

6.1 - The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency.

Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them. The licence holder must be able to show how they manage the diet of pregnant bitches and have an appropriate procedure in place for doing so.

7.1 - Active and effective environmental enrichment must be provided to the animals in inside and outside environments.

A facility must create a written programme that shows how they provide an enriching environment both inside and outside. The enrichment programme must include:

  • grooming
  • socialisation
  • play

8.1 - All people responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling of each animal to protect it from pain, suffering, injury or disease.

A protocol must be in place for dealing with difficult dogs. This needs to include members of staff trained in dog handling and the use of appropriate equipment.

8.2 - The animals must be kept separately or in suitable compatible social groups appropriate to the species and individual animals.

No animals from a social species may be isolated or separated from others of their species for any longer than is necessary. A policy must be in place for monitoring the introduction of new dogs to other dogs in either domestic or kennel environments. This is to avoid stress to either the new or resident animals.

9.1 - Written procedures must:

(a) be in place and implemented covering:

(i) feeding regimes
(ii) cleaning regimes
(iii) transportation
(iv) the prevention of and control of the spread of disease
(v) monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals
(vi) the death or escape of an animal (including the storage of carcasses)

(b) be in place covering the care of the animals following the suspension or revocation of the licence or during and following an emergency

10.1 - A written emergency plan, acceptable to the local authority, must be in place, known and available to all the people on the premises used for the licensable activity. It must be followed where necessary to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect all the people and animals on the premises in case of fire or in case of breakdowns for essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies.

An emergency drill programme must be in place with annual testing, or as determined by fire risk assessments. All new members of staff must have an emergency drill as part of their induction programme.

There must be a plan to house the dogs should the premises become uninhabitable.

There must be a written policy in place for dealing with emergencies, including extremes of hot and cold temperatures and abnormal weather conditions.

There must be an effective contingency plan for:

  • essential heating
  • ventilation
  • aeration and filtration systems

10.2 - The plan must include details of the emergency measures to be taken for the extrication of the animals should the premises become uninhabitable and an emergency telephone list that includes the fire service and police.

Note: Your emergency plan should be one to two sides of A4 and cover all the requirements stated above.

4.1 - The licence holder must implement and be able to demonstrate the use of a documented socialisation and habituation programme for the puppies.

The facility must have in place an adequate programme to socialise puppies and prepare them for life in the environment they will live in. Procedures must be available so that all staff know how to appropriately socialise puppies.

If bitches are anxious or aggressive when their puppies are approached, this programme must be gradual.

5.3 - Procedures must be in place for dealing with dogs that show abnormal behaviour.

These procedures will include people competent in understanding and handling difficult dogs and the use of appropriate equipment. Professional advice must be sought as necessary and any advice applied.

6.12 - A preventative healthcare plan agreed with the vet with whom the licence holder has registered under paragraph 9(8) of Schedule 2 must be implemented.

The facility’s appointed vet must be consulted and a written health plan provided. This must include:

  • vaccination
  • internal and external parasite control
  • monitoring of weight
  • body condition score
Records to be kept by operator and will be checked during inspections
ConditionDetails of what to record
4.2The licence holder must keep a record of their staff’s training.
4.3The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff.
Staff participation can be shown by:
records of the courses they are taking
records of written or online learning
keeping up to date with any research or developments for specific breeds
annual appraisal documents
Evidence of staff attendance or completion of the training must be provided.
6.1The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency. Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them.
The licence holder must keep a record of the type, quantity, frequency of food each dog receives.
6.2Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.
Weekly records of weight and Body Condition Scoring (BCS) must be kept to ensure the health of puppies and to allow any issues to be tracked.
Weight and BCS of adult dogs must be monitored to ensure they are healthy and any issues tracked.
7.3The animals’ behaviour and any changes of behaviour must be monitored. Advice must be sought, as appropriate and without delay, from a vet or, in the case of fish, any person competent to give such advice if adverse or unusual behaviour is detected.
The behaviour of each dog must be monitored every day. Changes of behaviour must be recorded and the owner must be told if there are signs of:
Records of these assessments must be kept.
9.4All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals and people of infectious diseases and parasites.
An up-to-date veterinary vaccination record must be seen to show that dogs have current vaccinations against:
canine parvovirus
canine distemper
canine adenovirus
infectious canine hepatitis
other relevant diseases
9.7Where necessary, animals must receive preventative treatment by an appropriately competent person.
Routine and documented treatment must be in place for internal and external parasites (adult dogs and puppies must be wormed and given flea and tick treatment as appropriate).
9.14Any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and the advice and further advice (if necessary) of a vet (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.
Businesses must record all observations. Records and any checklists must be made available to inspectors.
Presence or absence of faeces and urine must be monitored daily. Anything unusual must be recorded and acted upon.
6.7Breeding bitches must be adequately supervised during whelping and the licence holder must keep a record of:
(a) the date and time of birth of each puppy
(b) each puppy’s sex, colour and weight
(c) placentae passed
(d) the number of puppies in the litter
(e) any other significant events
6.8The licence holder must keep a record of each puppy sale including:
(a) the microchip number of the puppy
(b) the date of the sale
(c) the age of the puppy on that date
6.9The licence holder must keep a record of the following in relation to each breeding dog:
(a) its name
(b) its sex
(c) its microchip and database details
(d) its date of birth
(e) the postal address where it normally resides
(f) its breed or type
(g) its description
(h) date or dates of any matings, whether or not successful
(i) details of its biological mother and biological father
(j) details of any veterinary treatment it has received
(k) the date and cause of its death (where applicable)
6.10In addition to the matters mentioned in sub-paragraph (6.7), the licence holder must keep a record of the following in relation to each breeding bitch:
(a) the number of matings
(b) its age at the time of each mating
(c) the number of its litters
(d) the date or dates on which it has given birth
(e) the number of caesarean sections it has had (if any)
6.11Unless the licence holder keeps the dog as a pet, they must make arrangements for any dog that is no longer required for breeding to be appropriately rehomed.
Breeders have a responsibility to care for their animals and must be able to document how puppies that do not sell, or bitches and dogs that are no longer able to breed, are cared for or rehomed.
6.13The licence holder must keep a record of any preventive or curative healthcare (or both) given to each dog.
Consent (if any dogs used for breeding purposes are not owned by the operant)
ConditionDetails of consent
7.2For species whose welfare depends partly on exercise, opportunities to exercise which benefit the animals’ physical and mental health must be provided, unless advice from a vet suggests otherwise.
The owner must consent to their dog being walked with others.
Veterinary (which we need to see evidence of during the inspection)
9.3Appropriate isolation, in separate self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals. If the isolation facility is at another location, such as a local veterinary practice, the licence holder must be able to show evidence that this is ready to use (e.g. A letter/email from the practice).
9.8The licence holder must register with a vet with an appropriate level of experience in the health and welfare requirements of any animals specified in the licence and the contact details of that vet must be readily available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity.
6.12A preventative healthcare plan agreed with the vet with whom the license holder has registered with.

The Licensing Partnership will write to you at least three months before your licence expires, to remind you to renew it. You must apply for a renewal licence at least 10 weeks before the current licence expires if you wish to continue to operate without a break in trading.

Fees and charges

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 - Keeping of a breeding establishment for dogs

  • new licence application (commercial) £1,029
  • new licence application (domestic) £857
  • renewal of licence (commercial) £737
  • renewal of licence (domestic) £641
  • mid-term licence visit (recharged to licence holder) £298
  • re-assessment of star rating £450
  • complaint visit (recharged to licence holder) £298
  • duplicate licence £35
  • minor variation (minor changes to licence not requiring site visit) £222
  • major variation (more substantial changes to licence requiring a site visit) £520
  • general admin charge - for work on applications which cannot be resolved/made valid (to be deducted from any refund of application fee - where this exceeds the application fee then no refund shall be given) £54

Eligibility criteria

You need to be eligible to apply for a licence, you will find information on persons who may not apply in the regulation summary below.

Regulation summary

The regulation relating to animal activities requiring a licence

Application Evaluation Process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions will be attached.

The licence runs for one to three years from the date of issue.

You will receive a one to five-star rating on your licence, with a five-star rating the highest possible. The rating will be an accurate reflection of the level of risk of your business and the animal welfare standards you adopt.

Once we grant a licence, there are separate procedures for varying, suspending or revoking it as well as requesting a review of your star rating.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact the Licensing Partnership.

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