Under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & 1991, the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 and the Breeding of Dogs (Licensing Records) Regulations 1999 a person must have a licence from the Local Authority to keep a breeding establishment for dogs.
When is a Dog Breeding Licence Required?
Dog breeders need to be licensed if they have five or more litters in any twelve month period from any bitches. The bitches may be:
- kept by the person at his premises at any time during the period; or
- any bitches kept by relatives of him at his premises at any such time; or
- any bitches kept by him elsewhere at any such time
- or any bitches kept anywhere by any person at any such time under a breeding arrangements with the person
Applying for a Licence
To make an application you will be required to submit an application form and the fee of £200, (which includes the cost of an inspection by an authorised Veterinary Practitioner). Application forms and the standard conditions can be found under the Document Links area on this page.
What happens next?
Before being granted a licence the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the Council's Licensing Division and Local Authority appointed veterinarian:
Special conditions with regards to breeding bitches and pups:
- bitches should not be mated if they are less than one year old
- bitches should not give birth to more than six litters of puppies each
- bitches should only give birth to one litter of puppies in any twelve month period
- pups must be at least eight weeks old when sold, unless they are sold to a licensed pet shop
- records should be kept of each bitch and litter
Conditions relating to the facilities provided:
- that the dogs will at all times be kept in accommodation that is suitable in respect of construction, size, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
- that the dogs will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink, and bedding materials, adequately exercised and visited at suitable intervals
- that there is control and prevention of diseases
- that there are adequate precautions from fire and other emergencies
A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such that conditions are not suitable for the keeping of animals.
Whilst these conditions apply to licensed breeding establishments, the above conditions would be good practice, which should be followed by all breeders.
The licence is renewable annually. The licence will expire on 31st December each year irrespective of when it is issued.
Licences and any subsequent licences must be renewed before the date of expiry if the premises are to continue as a Pet Shop establishment.
Animal Welfare Act 2006
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 creates a legal duty for anyone responsible for an animal to ensure that its needs are met. The law requires that those responsible for animals take reasonable steps to ensure that:
- the animal has a suitable environment to live in
- the animal has a healthy diet
- the animal is able to behave normally
- the animal has appropriate company
- the animal is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
The Act has also introduced wider powers and enforcement powers for Local Authorities and other welfare professionals (such as the RSPCA), to ensure that those responsible for animals meet their duty of care. Penalties for offences under the Act include fines of up to £20,000 and / or 51 weeks imprisonment.