Dog breeding licence

A Dog Breeding Licence is required for any person keeping a breeding establishment for dogs.

Keeping a breeding establishment for dogs by any person means carrying on by that person at premises of any nature (including a private dwelling) of a business of breeding, with a view to their being sold in the course of such business, whether by the keeper or by any other person.

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Alternatively, a person will be treated as carrying on a business of breeding dogs for sale if they keep a bitch at any premises at any time during any period of 12 months and the bitch gives birth to a total of five or more litters at any time during that period.  This will relate to all bitches in the following categories:-

  • all bitches kept by the person at the premises;
  • any bitches kept by any relative at the premises;
  • any bitches kept by the person elsewhere; and
  • any bitches kept (anywhere) by any person under a breeding arrangement

Relative means the person’s parent or grandparent, child or grandchild, sibling, aunt or uncle or niece or nephew or someone whom they live with as a couple.

Breeding arrangement means a contract or other arrangement under which the person agrees that another person may keep a bitch of theirs on terms that, should the bitch give birth, the other person is to provide them with either one or more of the puppies or the whole or part of the proceeds of selling any of them.

In summary anyone “in the business” of breeding and selling dogs (trading) needs to be licensed. Anyone producing five litters or more in a 12 month period also should be licensed regardless of whether they are in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

The licensing requirement does not apply in relation to the keeping of a dog at any premises in pursuance of a requirement imposed under, or having effect by virtue of, the Diseases of Animals Act 1950.

The Council is not permitted to issue a licence if a person for the time being is disqualified from:

  • keeping a breeding establishment for dogs under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1963
  • keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • having custody of animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • keeping boarding establishments for animals under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • transporting, arranging for the transport of, dealing, owning, keeping or participating in the keeping of animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • being party to an arrangement under which gives entitlement to control or influence the way in which animals are kept under the Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • owning, keeping, dealing in, transporting, working with, using, riding or driving animals or for any purpose taking charge of animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006
  • providing any service relating to animals which involves taking      possession of animals or taking possession of animals for the purpose of an activity in respect of which a disqualification is imposed under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

To apply for a breeding establishment licence for dogs you will need to complete and submit an application form.  You can do this by either:-

  • downloading the application form to complete which you will need to send to the address on the form or  
  • calling 01209 615055 to arrange a telephone application appointment – an additional charge is payable for this service

The Council, if a Breeding Establishment Licence has not previously been issued by it, is required to arrange an inspection of the premises by a veterinary surgeon / practitioner and an officer of the Council. If a licence has been previously issued then the Council must as a minimum arrange an inspection by an officer of the Council.

If a licence has been previously issued then the Council is not required to arrange an inspection by a veterinary surgeon / practitioner but may do so.  Generally, in such circumstances the Council will arrange an inspection of the premises by only an officer of the Council.  However, if the previous licence expired more than 6 months before the application for a further licence is received then an inspection of the premises by veterinary surgeon / practitioner in addition to the officer will be arranged.

The Council is not permitted to decide the application until it has considered a report about the premises following the inspection.

The Council has a general discretion to decide whether it will issue a licence or withhold a licence on any grounds. However, in determining whether to grant a licence the Council is required to have regard to the need for securing that:-

  • that the dogs will at all times be kept in accommodation suitable as respects construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
  • that the dogs will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised and visited at suitable intervals
  • that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread among dogs of infectious or contagious diseases
  • that appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the dogs in case of fire or other emergency
  • that all appropriate steps will be taken to secure that the dogs will be provided with suitable food, drink and bedding material and adequately exercised when being transported to or from the breeding establishment
  • that bitches are not mated if they are less than one year old
  • that bitches do not give birth to more than six litters of puppies each
  • that bitches do not give birth to puppies before the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the day on which they last gave birth to puppies
  • that accurate records in the form prescribed by regulations are kept at the premises and made available for inspection there by an officer of the local authority, or any veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner, authorised by the local authority to inspect the premises.

We aim to determine your application within 6 weeks of a valid and complete application.  This is subject to the availability of an approved veterinary surgeon / practitioner if one is required. If we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to public safety and animal welfare implications.  Therefore, tacit consent does not apply.  This means that any no breeding of dogs that requires a licence can take place until a licence has been issued.

If it is decided that a licence will be issued then a licence fee becomes payable.  Any licence issued will remain in force for one year from the date of issue and will then expire. However, depending on your requirements, the licence can be issued to take effect on a date which the applicant has requested provided that the date is after the date that it was decided to grant a licence.

Please view the current licensing fees and charges to find out how much you will need to pay.

All licences have conditions imposed.  The Council will normally apply the model licence conditions published by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). However, the Council does have discretion to amend these conditions or impose additional specific conditions as it considers reasonable and appropriate in individual cases. 

Any person aggrieved by the refusal to grant a dog breeding establishment licence, or by any condition subject to which the licence is proposed to be granted, may appeal to the magistrates court.

It is recommended that an application for any further licence is made three months in advance of the date that the licence is due to expire. This is to allow time for the renewal application to be determined in advance of the current one expiring.  If a renewal application is still pending when the existing licence expires then this will mean that you will not be licenced to breed dogs.

Please follow this link to view the current list of dog breeders licensed through Cornwall Council.

There is a comprehensive range of business regulatory support services available to help and advise businesses to be more successful and compliant.

This includes pre-application advice and application assistance.