Dog Breeding Establishments

The law requires anyone breeding dogs for commercial purposes to be licensed, whether they are at commercial or domestic premises.

This means that anybody breeding dogs for commercial gain MUST gain a local authority licence before they start their business.

It is a criminal offence for a person to breed five or more litters in any 12 month period for sale without the appropriate licence from their Local Authority. The definition of "five or more litters" is very broad, and includes litters from dogs kept at a person’s premises by a relative, kept by that person at another premises or kept by any other person under a "breeding arrangement".

Before being granted a licence the applicant must be able to demonstrate

  • That the dogs will at all times be kept in accommodation that is suitable in respect of 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 (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals.
  • That all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread amongst the dogs of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of isolation facilities.
  • That appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the dogs in case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable and sufficient fire fighting equipment.
  • That all appropriate steps will be taken to ensure 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.

A few other relevant points to note regarding the licence are:

  • Bitches are not to be mated until they are at least 12 months old.
  • No bitch is permitted to have more than 6 litters in total.
  • Bitches must not give birth to puppies within 12 months of producing a previous litter.
  • All first time licences must involve the inspection of the premises by a vet and ourselves.
  • Subsequent inspections may be by ourselves alone though we may call a vet if we feel the need to.
  • A licensed breeder must not sell a dog to a member of the public if he/she believes that person will then sell the dog on to another individual.
  • Dogs must not be sold under 8 weeks of age other than to a licensed pet shop.

All dogs should be vaccinated so as to prevent and control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases. In practice, this means that all dogs should be vaccinated against:

  • Canine Distemper;
  • Infectious Canine hepatitis;
  • Leptospirosis; and
  • Canine parvovirus.

The law means that not all dog breeders are licensed – and in particular some specialist pedigree dog breeders may be exempt from the law. Unfortunately, we know that some breeders use this loophole in the law to run dog breeding businesses that flout the law on animal welfare, and these are almost impossible for us to find and take action against at present.

If you are buying a puppy, it is very important make sure that the premises you use are legitimate, and you should ALWAYS visit the breeder at their home to see how the puppy has been breed and reared.

NEVER buy a puppy from someone you meet at a fair or at the side of the road – the chances are that the puppy will have been illegally breed with scant regard for animal welfare – many people buying puppies this way end up paying vets bills than can run to thousands of pounds!.

You can contact us for details of licensed premises and other legitimate dog breeders in the Torfaen area.

Dog Breeding licences help to ensure that the dogs are properly looked after, by setting standards for the premises and for the level of care given. In particular, it ensures that breeding bitches are properly treated, and that the puppies are well looked after. We regularly inspect these premises for safety, and a vet accompanies us to ensure that animal welfare standards are met.

If you would like to set up dog breeding business, the application forms and information you need may be found here.

At the moment, only dog breeding is specifically covered by the law on licensing – but our Animal Welfare Officers are now visiting cat and other breeding establishments to make sure that they comply with the general requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

If you have any queries or concerns about a licensed premises, or are worried that a premises may be breeding dogs without a licence, please call us so that we can investigate and take action as necessary. We can also look at standards of care for pets other than dogs, using our powers under Animal Welfare Act.

Last Modified: 18/03/2020
For more information contact:


Tel: 01633 647284


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