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Council Services:

Dog breeding

This section provides basic guidance on the legal requirements for the licensing of dog breeders.

There are a number of pieces of legislation that relate to dog breeding, these include the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & 1991, the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 and the Breeding of Dogs (Licensing Records) Regulations 1999.

Dog breeders need to be licensed if they have five or more litters in any twelve month period from any bitches.  The bitches may be:

  • kept by the person at his premises at any time during the period; or
  • any bitches kept by relatives of him at his premises at any such time; or
  • any bitches kept by him elsewhere at any such time
  • or any bitches kept anywhere by any person at any such time under a breeding arrangements with the person

The licence is renewable annually and runs from 1st January to 31st December each year.  The initial application requires a visit from a Veterinary Surgeon as well as a local authority inspector.  The local authority inspector may be accompanied by any other persons he thinks appropriate when visiting the premises.

Conditions are attached to the licence, which are legally enforceable, and there are number of factors that need to be taken into account when the inspector is considering issuing a licence.  These include:

  • that the dogs have a suitable accommodation
  • that the animal has a healthy diet
  • that there is control and prevention of diseases
  • that there are adequate precautions from fire and other emergencies

There are special conditions with regards to breeding bitches and pups:

  • bitches should not be mated if they are less than one year old
  • bitches should not give birth to more than six litters of puppies each
  • bitches should only give birth to one litter of puppies in any twelve month period
  • pups must be at least eight weeks old when sold, unless they are sold to a licensed pet shop
  • records should be kept of each bitch and litter

Whilst these conditions apply to licensed breeding establishments, they are good practice which should be followed by all breeders.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 creates a legal duty for anyone responsible for an animal to ensure that its needs are met.  The law requires that those responsible for animals take reasonable steps to ensure that:

  • the animal has a suitable environment to live in
  • the animal has a healthy diet
  • the animal is able to behave normally
  • the animal has appropriate company
  • the animal is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

The Act has also introduced wider powers and enforcement powers for Local Authorities and other welfare professionals (such as the RSPCA), to ensure that those responsible for animals meet their duty of care.  Penalties for offences under the Act include fines of up to £20,000 and / or 51 weeks imprisonment. 

The Welsh Assembly Government has published Codes of Practice for Cats, Dogs, Rabbits and Equines which provide advice and guidance to those responsible for animals. 

It is good practice not to breed dogs for sale at Christmas.  Every year hundreds of dogs are abandoned after Christmas as many people do not consider the responsibilities involved when buying a dog such as the cost of feeding and taking care of a dog and the time involved in exercising and looking after the dog. 

If you require any further information on Dog Breeding Licences, a copy of the Code of Practice or for a full copy of the standards conditions, please contact Environmental Health.

Contact Environmental Health

Public Protection Department
Regulatory and Economic Development
Council Offices
LL77 7TW
General enquiries:01248 752820
Animal welfare:01248 752866
Housing Enforcement Team:01248 752836/752835
Health and safety:01248 752866
Food Safety Team:01248 752866
Fax:01248 752880
Croesawir galwadau yn y Gymraeg

Useful information

Mae'r dudalen yma a'r dogfennau cysylltiedig ar gael yn y Gymraeg. Defnyddiwch y ddolen "Cymraeg" ar ochr dde'r bar uchaf.

Last update: 4 March 2009 Give feedback on this page
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