Breeding of Dogs

Under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 the scope of breeding activity that requires a licence is much wider than before.

You must have a licence if you do either or both of the following :-

  • breed three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period (unless you can show that none of the puppies have been sold as puppies or adults)
  • breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs (irrespective of whether you are breeding less than three litters in any twelve month period).

The circumstances which a local authority must take into account in determining whether an activity is being carried on in the course of a business (the business test) include for example, whether the operator —

  • makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • earns any commission or fee from the activity.

More information and guidance to determine whether your dog breeding activity requires a licence can be found in the Breeding of Dogs Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities – see the link below.

Certain activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria do not require a licence:

  • organisations can provide documented evidence (if requested) that none of the puppies were sold or that they kept all of the puppies themselves as puppies or adults - 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 (for example, Guide Dogs for the Blind)
  • anyone keeping a dog under the Animal Health Act 1981
  • organisations regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

Please note - For details of the current fees see the Animal Welfare Licence page. The first fee must be paid with your application for it to be processed. If your application is successful your licence will not be valid or issued until the second (compliance) fee has been paid.

Please ensure you have all the required procedures detailed under 'supporting documents' below to submit with your application. 

Download Application Form

Breeding of dogs application form.

Alternativley you can contact us to request a copy of the application form by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 0115 907 2244.

Your application will not be successful if you do not meet the licence conditions. You are advised to read the following documents

Supporting Documents

Please ensure that you have the written operating procedures that are required by the licence conditions to include with your application. Your application should include the following documents:-

  • A plan of the premises
  • Training policy for all staff (Schedule 2 Condition 4) and Training records and qualifications (copies)
  • Procedures for Protection of Pain and Suffering (Schedule 2 Condition 9) covering
    -feeding regimes
    -cleaning regimes,
    -the prevention of and control of the spread of disease,
    -monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals
    -death or escape of an animal
  • Emergency Plan (Schedule 2 Condition 10)

Please note: We can only process your application if:

  • the form is completed in full
  • all relevant information detailed in the application form is provided
  • the initial application fee has been paid 

Out of Scope

If you consider that you fall outside the scope of the licence requirements we will require evidence to support this position. More details can be found in the guidance notes above. Please contact us to discuss if you may be outside the scope of the Regulations.


The Canine and Feline Sector Group is made up of organisations that advise Government on behalf of the sector.  The website has links to member and associate member organisations that represent different sectors of the industry

Contact us

Environmental Health
Merlin House, Merlin Way, Ilkeston. DE74RA

Call 0115 907 2244
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.