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Dog Breeding Licence


Under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, as amended by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, you must have a licence from the council to keep a breeding establishment for dogs.

The 1999 Act amends the definition of a breeding establishment in the 1973 Act.

A breeding establishment is defined as any premises where the business of breeding dogs for sale is carried on.

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:

a)    Kept by him/her at any premises during any period of 12 months
b)    Kept by any relative of his at those premises
c)    Kept by him/her elsewhere; and
d)    Kept by any person under a breeding arrangement with him/her.

Premises must be inspected by a council officer and a vet prior to the issuing of a licence. A breeding establishment means any premises where more than two bitches are kept for the purposes of breeding for sale of their offspring.

Licensing of breeding establishments

Applications for a licence must be made to the Local Authority and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under:-

Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963

The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and 1991, Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999

The Pet Animals Act 1951

The Protection of Animals Act 1911and 1954

The Protection of animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1912

Animal Welfare Act 2006

There is an application fee which must be paid at the time of application. Where a licence is granted, that licence and any subsequent licences will expire on the 31st December of the year to which the licence relates and must be renewed before that date if the premises are to continue as a dog breeding establishment. An application form can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.

The Council's duties

Before being granted a licence, the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the council officer's satisfaction that:

  • the dogs have access to suitable accommodation at all times, with regard to the construction and size of the quarters, number of occupants, ventilation, cleanliness, exercise facilities, temperature and lighting
  • the dogs will be suitably fed, watered, visited and supplied with adequate bedding material
  • all reasonable steps are in place to prevent and control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases
  • appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in the event of a fire or other emergency
  • the dogs will be suitably cared for when being transported to and from the breeding establishment, such as food, drink, bedding, exercise
  • bitches are not mated if they are less than one year old
  • bitches do not give birth to more than six litters of puppies each
  • bitches do not give birth more than once in a 12 month period

A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such that conditions are not suitable for the breeding of dogs.

Each licence is subject to standard conditions that are imposed on all dog breeding establishments licensed by the council.

In addition to the standard conditions, a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.

Your 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 magistrate's court.

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 environmental health officer 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 defendant's licence may be cancelled and the person may be disqualified from keeping a dog breeding establishment for such length of time as the court thinks fit.

Further information

A copy of the Breeding of Dogs Act can be viewed here. To apply for a Dog Breeding Establishment Licence, please download the application form from the Related Documents below.

Dangerous Wild Animals Licence Application Form [9.68KB] Animal Welfare Fees [12.91KB] Dog Breeding Licence Application Form [19.79KB]