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Dog breeding establishment licence

Licence summary

The aim of the licensing requirements is to ensure that high standards of animal health and welfare are maintained both in breeding establishments and during the transportation of puppies.

A person will be presumed to be carrying on the business of breeding dogs for sale where during any 12 month period five or more litters are born to his/her bitch or bitches which are:

  • Kept by him at any premises, including a private dwelling, during any period of 12 months
  • Kept by any relative of his at those premises
  • Kept by him, elsewhere; or kept by any person under a breeding arrangement with him

Sale of dogs

The keeper of a licensed breeding establishment may either:

  • Sell a dog direct to its final home, provided that the dog is not less than 8 weeks old and that the buyer does not intend to sell on the dog; or
  • Sell a dog to a licensed third party, namely a licensed pet shop or licensed Scottish rearing establishment, providing the dog is wearing a collar with an identifying tag or badge indicating the licensed breeding establishment at which it was born.

Regulation summary

Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999

Transport of dogs

Dogs and puppies being transported to and from the breeding establishment are to be properly supervised to ensure compliance with:

Power of entry

Local authorities may authorise competent persons to enter premises licensed under the Act at all reasonable times, producing if required their authority, and the authorised officers may inspect these premises and any animal in them.

Where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a dog breeding business is being unlawfully carried out without a licence a warrant may be issued to any authorised person to enter, by reasonable force if necessary, and inspect unlicensed premise (excluding private dwellings). However, a warrant may also be issued in relation to a garage, outhouse or other structure which belongs to or is usually enjoyed with a private dwelling.

Offences and penalties

Anybody found guilty of:

  • Operating a dog breeding establishment without an appropriate licence
  • Failing to comply with any licence condition
  • Breaching the requirements with regards to the sale of dogs
  • Having custody of a dog in contravention of a Court Order
  • Failing to comply with the requirements of a Court Order

shall be subject on summary conviction of a fine or to imprisonment or both.

Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector or Authorised Veterinary Practioner or Veterinary Surgeon shall be subject to a fine.

Eligibility criteria

The licence is valid from 1 January to 31 December.

How to apply

If you are applying for a new licence please download the application form(pdf, 31KB), complete it and send it to the Licensing Team. Do not send any payment with the application as this will be apportioned depending on the date the application is made.

Application evaluation process

Once your application is received, a licensing officer will contact you to make arrangements to carry out an inspection of your premises. The officer will be accompanied by an approved vet who will set the licensing conditions.

The apportioned licence fee will be collected at the time of the inspection.

EUGO - Part of the EUGO network

Will tacit consent apply?

No. Your licence will only be issued to you when all the necessary inspections/checks have been carried out and the premise meets the required standards.

Renewal of a licence

If you already have a licence and it is due for renewal you pay by credit or debit card by telephoning the Licensing Team on 020 8831 6455. The current annual fee is £445. Credit card payments are subject to a handling fee. There is no handling fee for debit card payments

Failed application redress

Any person who is refused a licence can appeal to the local magistrates' court.

Licence holder redress

Any licence holder who objects to any of the licensing conditions attached to a licence may appeal to the local magistrates' court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise in the first instance that in the event of a complaint, you make contact with the trader, if you are not satisfied with their response please contact the Licensing Team.

Other redress

Please Contact the Licensing Team.

Trade associations

Dog Breeders' Association

Contact the Licensing Team

If you have any questions or comments please contact Licensing


Regulatory Services Partnership
Merton Civic Centre
London Road


Updated: 07 October 2020