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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 or 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 £475, plus £25 per dog that you wish to breed from. You pay this when you apply. This fee covers:

  • licence application
  • vet's assessment

The fee to renew the licence is £410, plus £25 per dog that you wish to breed from.

Apply for a licence

    As part of the licence application, we need a valid Basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate which has been completed within the last 28 days. The purpose of this DBS check is to show to the council that the applicant is a fit and proper person to be the operator of that activity. Also, in line with Regulation 11 of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, that you do not have any criminal convictions that would prevent you from applying to hold the relevant licence.

    You can Request a basic DBS check on the website.

    Once the disclosure check is complete and you have received your certificate, please enclose a copy of it to your online application.

    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 £162- 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.


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