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Dog breeding licence

How to apply for a dog breeding licence, and information about conditions

Who should apply

You'll need a licence if you:

  • breed three or more litters of puppies in a 12 months period - unless it can be proved none of the puppies have been sold as puppies or adults.
  • are breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs - as defined under the business test

Please note even one litter of puppies that is advertised for sale could require a breeder’s licence regardless of whether it was planned or an accident.

We consider each situation on a case by case basis and take into account the business test. This includes the amount of income likely to be received and whether or not the puppies are going to be advertised on a single platform or over multiple platforms.

HMRC current trading income is £1000, income over this is classed as a business. Individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.


You won't need a licence if:

  • you're keeping dogs under the Animal Health Act 1981
  • you're breeding assistance dogs (three or more litters in 12 months) and you can prove that no dogs were sold (as puppies or adults)
  • you’re a registered charity that rehomes puppies born to rescue dogs, unless run as a commercial activity. 

Apply for a licence

To apply for a dog breeding licence online you’ll need:

  • A debit or credit card for the fee

New dog breeding licence application

Renew your dog breeding licence application

What happens next?

We will visit you with an appointed vet to check your premises is suitable to breed dogs. The vet’s fee is payable by the applicant

We'll then determine your application, and if successful, we'll award a star rating between two and five. An additional fee will then be payable, depending on the length of the licence (one to three years). To find out more, please see our fee document.

Planning requirements

Even if we've issued a licence, you may still need planning permission for dog day care. For further information, please see our planning pages.

Neighbourhood nuisance issues

We have a duty to investigate complaints of nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Even if you’ve had a licence or planning permission granted, if we find your premises to have issues like excessive noise, and odour, this could result in formal action being taken. For further advice, please contact


Mandatory conditions will apply to your licence, and there are some additional conditions in the guidance documents. You can find these at the bottom of the page.

Licence renewals

You'll need to renew your licence at least 10 weeks before it expires. We'll send you a renewal form when it's time for you to renew. Being late with your renewal may mean a break in licensable activity.

You may require a vet inspection for renewals. If so, you'll need to pay the vet's fee.

Further information

For further information, please contact us. Our contact details are below.