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The Dog Breeder’s Guide to becoming a licensed dog breeder

by | Jan 24, 2022

The recent changes to the guidance for dog breeders are causing quite a stir! So what is it all about?

Anyone making a profit from selling puppies needs a dog breeding license, irrespective of how many litters you breed. 

So what do you need to do to become a licensed dog breeder?

New guidance, that comes into force on Feb 1st 2022, has been released for local authorities on dog breeding licensing requirements.

These new licensing requirements accompany the existing Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) 2018 regulations. 

In this blog, we’ll look at UK dog breeding laws and the licensing requirements for dog breeders, so that you feel better prepared to get licensed!

Do You Need A License To Breed Dogs?

If you’re advertising puppies for sale, making a profit from breeding dogs, breeding 3 or more litters a year and selling even 1 puppy, then you need a dog breeding license by law. 

If you breed without a license you run the risk of 6 months imprisonment or an unlimited fine. It’s definitely not worth the risk!

Following the puppy boom of the pandemic, new puppy owners are also much more aware of the need to choose a licensed and reputable dog breeder. 

So whether you’re a commercial dog breeder or a hobby breeder, it’s highly likely that you’ll need a dog breeding license to satisfy both your local authority and potential new puppy owners. 

If you’re unsure whether you fall under the dog breeding licensing criteria, then contact your local authority for guidance. 

How To Get A Dog Breeding License

You will need to make an application to your local authority for your dog breeding license. But first, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row so that you’re ready for your inspection. 

Following your application, you’ll receive a visit from a licensing inspector who will assess

  • Your accommodation and facilities for the dogs in your care – all animals must be protected from injury, illness and escape 
  • Whether the environment is safe and suitable for their behavioural needs and welfare. They will be assessing space, air quality, cleanliness, noise and temperature, among other things
  • Whether the dogs you are breeding from are healthy and temperamentally sound for use as breeding animals
  • Cleaning and disease management protocols
  • Your exercise, socialisation and enrichment protocols for your litters
  • What you provide in your puppy packs
  • Your risk assessments for emergency situations
  • Staff to dog ratio
  • Qualifications, Training and experience of individual and any staff <link to ofqual page>
  • Evidence of training for all staff

In addition, you will be required to provide written procedures for feeding, cleaning, transportation, the prevention of and control of the spread of disease, monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals, the death or escape of an animal.

You can read the full dog breeding licensing criteria here.

Paperwork For Dog Breeding License

It can be overwhelming applying for your dog breeding license for the first time. It’s not uncommon for the paperwork aspect of the licensing assessment to put dog breeders off applying at all. 

You want to be a licensed dog breeder, but the application process may feel daunting. 

That’s why we include a full paperwork bundle for dog breeding licensing with our Ofqual regulated iPet Network Level 3 qualification in dog breeding, litter socialisation and welfare course. 

You’ll access all the training you need with weekly guided lessons and tutoring so you can not only become a licensed dog breeder, but a confident breeder who’s following best practise through every stage of the breeding journey. 

The course includes bonus access to our breeder paperwork bundle which includes:

  1. Contracts & Receipts
  2. Dog Register
  3. Flea/Worm/Vaccine Charts
  4. Breeding & Whelping Charts 
  5. Puppy Records & Charts 
  6. Health Testing Charts 
  7. Monitoring & Information Sheets
  8. Emergency Forms
  9. Isolation & Quarantine
  10. Health & Welfare Plans
  11. Risk Assessments
  12. Socialisation & Enrichment Plans
  13. Feeding

“I purchased the Pupstart’s paperwork pack. It literally has everything in it –  all the paperwork you could ever need. Print it off straight away. It looks professional, and there are loads of extras like feeding guidelines and enrichment suggestions that I use in my puppy packs.”


Essentially, you’ll have all the paperwork you need to pass a license inspection, plus examples of completed copies to make it easy for you to fill them in. 

Star Ratings for Licensed Dog Breeders

When you apply for your dog breeding license, you will be assessed using a star rating system. Your licensing officer will assess you against the criteria and can issue a license with a star rating between one to five stars. 

If you receive a five-star license, you benefit not just from the satisfaction that you’ve passed your licensing inspection with flying colours, but also from 

  • a longer license term
  • Reduced licensing fees 
  • fewer inspections

One and two-star rated breeders typically receive a one-year license, higher license fees and more regular inspections. 

License fees, inspection frequencies and assessments vary from one local authority to another. 

You should receive a report from your licensing inspector that will outline any areas of improvement to help you work towards attaining a higher star rating in future.

Renewing or Applying for Your Dog Breeding License? Be like Jane! 

Jane printed off the guidance and read it through. 

Jane got an idea of what it meant for HER. 

Jane realised that every breeder has different circumstances around housing, breed, number of animals and that each license is granted on an individual assessment basis. 

Jane worked out that she needed to understand how the guidance would apply to HER specifically. 

Jane had some questions, Jane was not shy! Jane asked her local licensing officers those questions. Jane understood that as public servants they have a duty of care to respond to her, and she quickly found that they were not the ogres she thought they were!!

Jane did NOT ask for advice on social media. 

Jane knew that all licensing authorities would interpret the guidance differently. Just like they did the last time new guidance was released. 

Jane had seen that up and down the country individual local authorities had previously made judgements around points of the guidance as THEY had interpreted them. 

Therefore Jane knew that what Karen was doing in Cornwall, may not apply to Norah in Norwich!


In Conclusion

Getting your dog breeding license may feel like an enormous task, but you can do it! 

Pupstart’s is here to support you with every aspect of your dog breeding, and we have a wealth of content to help you uplevel your breeding knowledge, practices and confidence. 

Our courses not only give you instant access to simple, actionable training, but you will also join a warm community of generous breeders who are happy to share their experiences. 

Take a look at our courses here, and please do get in touch if you have any questions.

Rebecca Walters

I’m Rebecca Walters, founder of Pupstarts Breeders. I’m a 5-star licensed dog breeder, an ex-licensing officer, and a woman committed to changing the industry for good.

I want to deliver all the dog breeding information, advice and education you need to be an ethical and reputable dog breeder who makes a difference in the world.

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