BETA We are updating this service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Dog breeding

A breeding of dogs licence is required for breeding, selling and advertising the selling of dogs.

There are specific conditions in regard to breeding which need to be followed. This also includes details of what records you need to keep.


You will need to provide us with information about the business such as your operating facilities, including accommodation, cleaning, and feeding procedures.

  • where the dogs are kept (in a kennel or in a home) including number, size and what it's made from
  • exercise arrangements
  • enrichment activities, toys etc.
  • food storage and preparation
  • how you hope to keep noise levels down
  • separation/grouping of dogs
  • transport
  • your standard procedures for cleaning and maintaining hygiene

We will also need the following:

  • a full copy of your operational emergency response plan - a written emergency plan in case of fire or in case of breakdowns for essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies. This should include emergency accommodation if the original accommodation becomes uninhabitable.
  • disease control and prevention plan procedure
  • preventive healthcare plan - a preventative healthcare plan agreed with the veterinarian with whom the licence holder has registered
  • death or escape of an animal procedure - including the storage of dead animals
  • public liability insurance (that covers £5 million minimum)

Considerations before you apply

  • running a business from a premises may require planning permission
  • if you live in rented accommodation, check the terms of your tenancy agreement and obtain consent from the landlord before you apply, most rental properties do not allow businesses to be operated from the premises
  • check that the animal accommodation will be compliant with the size and materials in the DEFRA guidance


What happens next

Once we receive your application we will contact you within three working days to advise you whether we have everything we need to progress your application. At this point, we will either ask you to provide additional information or we will arrange a date with you to conduct your inspection.

Making changes and renewals

If you need to change your licence you can find out more on our variations to animal licences webpage.


You need to renew a minimum of 10 weeks before the expiry date. A copy of the current public liability insurance certificate and any procedures which have been updated should be attached to the renewal application. If you have missed the renewal date and your licence has expired, you will be required to pay the new application fee instead of the renewal fee.


Licence fees

Number of dogsApplicationRenewal
Up to 5 £750 £695
6-10 £785 £715
11 or more £815 £730

Procedures and records

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) outline the specific conditions in regard to breeding on GOV.UK which need to be followed. This also includes details of what records you need to keep.

Breeding dogs



Part A

  • 6.1 - The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency. Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them. The licence holder must be able to show how they manage the diet of pregnant bitches and have an appropriate procedure in place for doing so.
  • 7.1 - Active and effective environmental enrichment must be provided to the animals in inside and outside environments. A facility must create a written programme that shows how they provide an enriching environment both inside and outside. The enrichment programme must include:
    • grooming
    • socialisation
    • play
  • 8.1 - All people responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling of each animal to protect it from pain, suffering, injury or disease. A protocol must be in place for dealing with difficult dogs. This needs to include members of staff trained in dog handling and the use of appropriate equipment.
  • 8.2 - The animals must be kept separately or in suitable compatible social groups appropriate to the species and individual animals. No animals from a social species may be isolated or separated from others of their species for any longer than is necessary. A policy must be in place for monitoring the introduction of new dogs to other dogs in either domestic or kennel environments. This is to avoid stress to either the new or resident animals.

Part B

  • 4.1 - The licence holder must implement and be able to demonstrate the use of a documented socialisation and habituation programme for the puppies. The facility must have in place an adequate programme to socialise puppies and prepare them for life in the environment they will live in. Procedures must be available so that all staff know how to appropriately socialise puppies. If bitches are anxious or aggressive when their puppies are approached, this programme must be gradual.
  • 5.3 - Procedures must be in place for dealing with dogs that show abnormal behaviour. These procedures will include people competent in understanding and handling difficult dogs and the use of appropriate equipment. Professional advice must be sought as necessary, and any advice applied.
  • 6.12 - A preventative healthcare plan agreed with the vet with whom the licence holder has registered under paragraph 9(8) of schedule 2 must be implemented.

    The facility’s appointed vet must be consulted, and a written health plan provided. This must include:
    • vaccination
    • internal and external parasite control
    • monitoring of weight
    • body condition score



Details of what to record

4.2 and 4.3

The licence holder must keep a record of their staff’s training.

  • records of the courses they are taking
  • records of written or online learning
  • keeping up to date with any research or developments for specific breeds
  • annual appraisal documents
  • evidence of staff attendance or completion of the training must be provided.


The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency. Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them.

The licence holder must keep a record of the type, quantity, frequency of food each dog receives.


Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.

Weekly records of weight and body condition scoring (BCS) must be kept ensuring the health of puppies and to allow any issues to be tracked.

Weight and BCS of adult dogs must be monitored to ensure they are healthy, and any issues tracked.


The animals’ behaviour and any changes of behaviour must be monitored. Advice must be sought, as appropriate and without delay, from a vet or, in the case of fish, any person competent to give such advice if adverse or unusual behaviour is detected.

The behaviour of each dog must be monitored every day. Changes of behaviour must be recorded, and the owner must be told if there are signs of:

  • suffering
  • stress
  • fear
  • aggression
  • anxiety

Records of these assessments must be kept.


All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals and people of infectious diseases and parasites.

An up-to-date veterinary vaccination record must be seen to show that dogs have current vaccinations against:

  • canine parvovirus
  • canine distemper
  • canine adenovirus
  • infectious canine hepatitis
  • leptospirosis
  • other relevant diseases


Where necessary, animals must receive preventative treatment by an appropriately competent person.

Routine and documented treatment must be in place for internal and external parasites (adult dogs and puppies must be wormed and given flea and tick treatment as appropriate).


Any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and the advice and further advice (if necessary) of a vet (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.

Businesses must record all observations. Records and any checklists must be made available to inspectors.

Presence or absence of faeces and urine must be monitored daily. Anything unusual must be recorded and acted upon.


Breeding bitches must be adequately supervised during whelping and the licence holder must keep a record of:

  • the date and time of birth of each puppy
  • each puppy’s sex, colour and weight
  • placentae passed
  • the number of puppies in the litter
  • any other significant events


The licence holder must keep a record of each puppy sale including:

  • the microchip number of the puppy
  • the date of the sale
  • the age of the puppy on that date


The licence holder must keep a record of the following in relation to each breeding dog:

  • it's name
  • it's sex
  • it's microchip and database details
  • it's date of birth
  • the postal address where it normally resides
  • it's breed or type
  • it's description
  • date or dates of any matings, whether successful or not
  • details of its biological mother and biological father
  • details of any veterinary treatment it has received
  • the date and cause of death (where applicable)


In addition to the matters mentioned in sub-paragraph (6.7), the licence holder must keep a record of the following in relation to each breeding bitch:

  • the number of matings
  • it's age at the time of each mating
  • the number of its litters
  • the date or dates on which it has given birth
  • the number of caesarean sections it has had (if any)


Unless the licence holder keeps the dog as a pet, they must make arrangements for any dog that is no longer required for breeding to be appropriately rehomed.

Breeders have a responsibility to care for their animals and must be able to document how puppies that do not sell, or bitches and dogs that are no longer able to breed, are cared for or rehomed.


The licence holder must keep a record of any preventive or curative healthcare (or both) given to each dog.



Details of consent


For species whose welfare depends partly on exercise, opportunities to exercise which benefit the animals’ physical and mental health must be provided, unless advice from a vet suggests otherwise.

The owner must consent to their dog being walked with others.


Appropriate isolation, in separate self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals. If the isolation facility is at another location, such as a local veterinary practice, the licence holder must be able to show evidence that this is ready to use (e.g., a letter/email from the practice)


The licence holder must register with a vet with an appropriate level of experience in the health and welfare requirements of any animals specified in the licence and the contact details of that vet must be readily available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity.


A preventative healthcare plan agreed with the vet with whom the licence holder has registered with