Dog breeding licence

Under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, as amended by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, you must have a licence from the council to keep a breeding establishment for dogs.  Premises must be inspected by a council officer and a vet prior to issuing of the licence.

A breeding establishment means any premises where more than two bitches are kept for the purposes of breeding for sale of their offspring.

Licensing of breeding establishments

Applications for a licence must be made to the local authority and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under any of the following acts:

a) The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973
b) The Pet Animals Act 1951
c) The Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
d) The Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934

There is an application fee which must be paid at the time of application.

Where a licence is granted, that licence and any subsequent licences will expire on the 31st December of the year to which the licence relates and must be renewed before that date if the premises are to continue as a dog breeding establishment.

Council's duties

Before being granted a licence, the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the council's licensing inspector that:

  • The dogs will at all times be kept in accommodation that is suitable in respect of construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
  • The dogs will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised and (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals
  • All reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread among the dogs of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of isolation facilities
  • Appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the dogs in case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable and sufficient fire-fighting equipment
  • All appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the dogs will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding material, and adequately exercised when being transported to or from the breeding establishment.

A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such that conditions are not suitable for the breeding of dogs.

Each licence is subject to standard conditions that are imposed on all dog breeding establishments licensed by the council.

In addition to the standard conditions, a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.

Your right of appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any condition to which a licence is subject, may appeal to the magistrate’s court.

Offences and penalties

The following offences apply to the breeding of dogs:

  • Anybody found guilty of keeping a dog breeding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,500
  • Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,500
  • Anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an environmental health officer or authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner in the exercising of their powers, may be fined up to a maximum of £1,000

If found guilty under this act, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and the person may be disqualified from keeping a dog breeding establishment for such length of time as the court thinks fit.

Further information

A copy of the Breeding of Dogs Act can be obtained from the Office of Public Sector Information or a copy can be inspected at the Council offices where you may also obtain details of the fee, an application form and further help or advice.

Alternatively, download the application form.

You will be contacted in writing on receipt of the application form and a site visit arranged.


Environmental Health Commercial Team – Health and Safety

Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 1BY

Opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 5008
Fax: 020 7364 6901