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Dog breeding

Under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, those running a dog breeding establishment must obtain a licence which has a number of conditions to ensure that high standards of animal welfare are maintained.

It is widely believed that owners who breed less than 5 litters in a 12 month period do not require a licence. This assumption is incorrect and in fact a dog breeder must be licensed if he/she is in the business of breeding and selling dogs [trading], regardless of the number of litters produced in a 12 month period. This definition also applies to those who class themselves as ‘hobby’ breeders where the dogs are sold. The only exemption to the requirement to obtain a licence is if the dogs are given away for free which is seldom the case.

Please note: There is no provision in the Act to transfer the ownership of a Licence from one person to another. Therefore if you are intending to purchase a currently licensed premises, you will need to apply, pay for and obtain a new Licence.

Who can apply?

Any fit and proper person who is not disqualified from keeping animals may apply.

A licence cannot be granted to persons who are disqualified from keeping a breeding establishment for dogs, or from keeping a pet shop, or from keeping animals or from keeping a boarding establishment for animals.

Is planning permission required?

We recommend that you discuss your proposals with Planning Services to determine whether a planning application is needed.

How long will it take for my application to be assessed?

Once your application has been received, an officer will contact you as soon as possible, and within 28 days. The amount of time taken to determine the application will range depending on a number of factors, such as availability of a veterinary surgeon for the inspection and the amount of work required to comply with the licence conditions.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. A dog breeding establishment must not be run without a licence.

How do I apply for a licence?

How much does a licence cost?

  • £176

How long does a licence last?

A licence lasts for 12 months from the date of issue.

What can I do if my licence application is refused?

You can apply to the Magistrates' Court if your application is refused.

Public register of licensed dog breeders

Suffolk Coastal district register of licensed dog breeders Waveney district register of licensed dog breeders

CIEH Model Licence Conditions and Guidance