DOG BREEDING LEGISLATION
As the information on our 'Puppy Farm' page indicates dog breeding can be a dirty business when done by unscrupulous people. A recent review of breeding in England led to changes in the law, and the information on this page gives advice and information on the laws in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
This is not intended to cover all the legislation, just the highlights of the important points which may be useful.
Don't hesitate to ask any breeder you visit for a copy of their license, and check on your Local Authority website to see details of breeders inspected, if this applies.
In 2018 the UK Government carried out a review of dog breeding in England and changed the legislation governing it. The new legislation states that a license is needed by anyone in the business of dog breeding. This covers -
- Breeding 3 or more litters in a 12 month period unless they can prove none have been sold.
- Breeding puppies and advertising them for sale, regardless of the number of litters produced a year. This means that anyone who just breeds a single litter from their pet dog and advertises them for sale, must be licensed.
- Anyone breeding and making a profit from selling pups, even a single litter can be classed as running a business for the purpose of this legislation.
Details of all breeders inspected and the rating given should be available on the Local Authority website, and each breeder inspected should have their license on display.
The law also states that buyers must be able to see the pups with their mum, that breeders have to have a 'socialisation and habituation plan' to get pups used to household noises and, importantly, that puppies can only be sold by the person who bred them and only from the place where they were bred, not through a third party or delivered to people.
The Welfare of Animals 2013 legislation states that anyone running a breeding establishment in Northern Ireland must obtain a license.
A dog breeding establishment is defines as one or more premises within a specific district council area, owned by the same person and from which that person keeps 3 or more breeding bitches and
- Breeds 3 or more litters in a 12 month period.
- Advertises 3 or more litters for sale in any 12 month period.
- Supplies 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period.
- Advertises a business of breeding or selling puppies
The Scottish Government announced a review and consultation of dog breeding laws as applied to Scotland in 2018. The results were published in 2019 with draft legislation promised. As yet no changes have been made and so there are several laws which govern dog breeding.
If the breeder does any of the following then a license will ne be needed -
- Breeding and selling 5 litters or more a year.
- Advertising a business breeding and selling dogs
- Selling dogs commercially in pet shops (until September 2021)**
- Selling puppies under the age of 12 weeks, even if they are not the breeder.
The Welsh Government has legislation under the 'Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) Regulations 2014 which states that dog breeders will need a license to breed if -
- Keep on a premises three or more breeding bitches.
- Breed 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period.
- Advertises puppies for sale from those premises.
- Supplies for sale from those premises a puppy or puppies born from 3 litters or more in any 12 month period,
- Advertises a business of breeding puppies from those premises
All licensed breeders should be able to produce their license for checking and the paperwork is valid for 12 months after issue. If your breeder of choice is not able to do this, and should have one given the information above then walk away and look elsewhere.
This information will be checked regularly to make sure it is accurate but we do recommend that you visit the necessary Government and Local Authority websites to confirm the details yourself.