If you wish to operate a dog breeding establishment, you must first obtain a licence from the local authority. Please contact us using the details below.

Dog breeding

If you wish to operate a dog breeding establishment you must furst obtain a licence from the local authority. The definition of Dog Breeding is stated within Schedule 1 of the regulations and is either or both of the following: (a) breeding three or more litters of puppies in any 12-month period; (b) breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs.

Examples of breeding which meet these criteria are:

  • Anyone breeding three or more litters of puppies per year (unless they can show that none of the puppies have been sold).
  • Anyone breeding puppies and advertising a business of selling them, as defined under the business test outlined above. This is irrespective of the number of litters produced per year. This is not restricted to registered businesses – individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.
  • Factors that should be considered when determining whether someone is “advertising a business” include:
    • The number, frequency and/or volume of sales - systematic and repeated transactions using the same means of advertising are likely to indicate a commercial activity.
    • High volumes of animals sold or advertised for sale could indicate a business.
    • Low volumes of animals sold or advertised could indicate a business where high sales prices or large profit margins are involved.
    • High range and variability in the breeds traded. A wide variety of breeds being advertised could indicate the commercial nature of the activity.
    • High numbers of advertisements of puppies for sale, including on classified websites, could indicate commercial behaviour, even where there is no actual sale taking place via the internet. This could be high numbers of advertisements at any one time or over a short period of time, and/or regularly.
    • Advertising through a variety of sites, forums or media could indicate a commercial activity.

Examples of breeding which do not meet this criteria are:

  • Breeders who can provide documented evidence, if requested, that none of the puppies were sold or that they kept all of the puppies themselves. Documented evidence will need to include records of the new owners of all of the puppies and provide details on why there was no transaction involved (including in kind).
  • Registered charities that rehome puppies that are born to rescue dogs, unless such registered charities are in practice running this element of their operations as a commercial activity.
  • Anyone breeding only assistance dogs as defined in the Equality Act 2010 (e.g. guide dogs for the blind).
  • Anyone keeping a dog under the Animal Health Act 1981.
  • Organisations regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
  • Breeders that breed a small number of puppies (i.e. less than 3 litters per year), and that sell them without making a profit.

These lists are not exhaustive and applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.

If you are breeding dogs and fit these criteria you require a licence to breed dogs. You can view the guidance and apply for a licence below​​​​​​​​.

Contact info
Private sector housing enforcement
1st Floor Annexe, Town Hall, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 546040

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