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Dog breeding licences

If you breed three or more litters of puppies over 12 months, you must have a dog breeding licence. If you breed less than three litters of puppies, you may still need a dog breeding licence.

You must have a dog breeding licence if either:

  • you breed three or more litters in a year and sell any of the puppies or
  • you breed and sell puppies as a business

If you answer 'yes' to any of the questions below, you are classed as a business and you must have a dog breeding licence. Do you:

  • sell / advertise for sale the dogs?
  • have an income over £1000 from the sale of the dogs?

Risk assessment

Before we can approve your licence, we will risk assess your home or premises, and how you look after the animals in your care. To pass this assessment, you must meet the conditions listed in the The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Defra have issued guidance (below) to help you understand these conditions.

If you meet these conditions, as well as your licence, you will receive a star rating (between one and five stars) for your business. The star rating you receive determines the length of time your licence is for (between one and three years).

Defra's guidance

See Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): animal licensing guidance and select the guidance notes for the licence you are applying for.


The fee for a dog breeding licence is £403, plus £25 per dog that you wish to breed from. You pay this when you apply. This fee covers:

  • licence application
  • vet's assessment

Apply for a licence

    What happens next?

    When we receive your application, we'll arrange to visit your home or premises to complete our assessment. After this assessment, we'll write to you to let you know if your application has been successful, and based on our risk assessment, how long your licence is for.

    If your application is not successful, we will include the reasons why in our letter.

    If you are unhappy with our decision

    If you don't agree with our decision, you can appeal.

    If you do not agree with your star rating

    If you do not agree with the start rating we give your business, contact us to appeal this.

    Request a re-score

    If you get less than five stars, we'll let you know what you need to do to increase your star rating. An increased star rating could increase the length of time that your licence is for.

    If you complete these actions, you can ask us to return to your home or premises to repeat the risk assessment. This costs £153 - contact us to arrange.

    If we reject your application

    If we do not issue a licence, and you wish to appeal this decision, contact First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) to launch an appeal. For more information about the appeal process, and the form you'll need to complete, see General Regulatory Chamber's Notice of appeal form and guidance.

    Contact us
    Animal health
    03000 261 016
    Our address is:
    • Community Protection
    • Durham County Council
    • PO Box 617
    • Durham
    • County Durham
    • United Kingdom
    • DH1 9HZ