Licence for breeding dogs

You should only buy a dog from a licensed breeder. Buying from un-licensed breeders fuels the industry and the welfare of breeding dogs cannot be guaranteed. The RSPCA provides some helpful guidance to consider when buying a puppy. 

You will need a licence if as part of your business you:

  • Breed three or more litters of puppies per year (unless you can show that none of the puppies have been sold), or
  • Breed puppies and advertise a business of selling them

You won't need a dog breeding licence if:

  • you can provide documented evidence that none of the puppies were sold or that you have they kept them all yourself. Documented evidence needs to include records of the new owners of all of the puppies and why there was no money involved (including in kind) 
  • you're a registered charitiy that re-home puppies that are born to rescue dogs, unless you make money from rehoming the puppies
  • you breed assistance dogs as defined in the Equality Act 2010 (for example Guide Dogs for the Blind)
  • you're keeping a dog under the Animal Health Act 1981
  • you're an organisation regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
  • you breed a small number of puppies (less than 3 litters per year), and sell them without making a profit. You'll need to provide documented evidence

Licence conditions

You must be able to meet the general and specific conditions before we will issue you with a licence.

Defra guidance document

You should read the procedural and applicable activity guidance documents which we will refer to during the application process. They detail the higher standards you will need to meet to get a higher star rating and longer lasting licence.

Make an application