Animal Activity Licences

On 1 October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of activities involving animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force.

These regulations have replaced a number of pieces of legislation and provide a new single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities.

Those undertaking the following activities will need to be licensed under the new regime:

  • selling animals as pets
  • providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs (including day care)
  • hiring out horses
  • breeding dogs
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition.

Licences held under the current system relating to pet shops, animal boarding establishments, riding establishments or dog breeding will continue in force for the rest of their term. Licence holders will then need to make an application for a licence under the new regime and comply with the new requirements. Performing animal registrations will continue to be in place for six months and will be required to apply for a licence during this time.

Please check the licence expiry date and make an application in good time under the new regime.

The new regulations have set nationally applicable conditions that licence holders must comply with. Current licence holders are advised to review their compliance with the new conditions.

The Regulations can be found by visiting The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Apply for a licence

You can apply for a licence by downloading one of the below forms: 

  • Application form for selling animals as Pets
  • Application form for keeping or training animals for exhibition
  • Application form for hiring out Horses
  • Application form for breeding and sale of dogs
  • Application form for boarding animals

Animal Activity licence fees

Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 Fees from 1 April 2021.

Animal Activity licence fees

Boarding for cats/dogs/cattery/kennels


Boarding for dogs - Home Boarding


Boarding for dogs - Day Care


Breeding dog - (ex Vet fee)


Hiring out horses - (ex Vet fee)


Selling animals as pets


Keeping or training animals for exhibition


Variation to an animal activity licence



New licence conditions

Download the new licence conditions for each of the animal activities covered:

Guidance notes for each of the licensable activities are set out below. These contain further information on what will be required to meet the licence conditions.

They also provide advice on the steps applicants can take to achieve a higher star rating. Once a completed application and payment has been received, we will examine the information provided and arrange an inspection.

Read the animal activity guidance.

We recommend that applicants check they have the correct permissions to use their premises for the business applied for. For example, there are restrictions on running businesses in domestic concil properties.

It's important to do this before applying, as the application fee is not refundable. All premises will be inspected before a licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant can meet all of the licensing conditions.

Following the inspection businesses will receive a risk score (1 to 5 stars) which will take into account both the animal welfare standards adopted by a business as well as their level of risk (based on elements such as past compliance).

The star rating they receive will set the duration of the Licence (1 to 3 years).  The star rating will be included on the Licence which must be displayed by the licence holder.