Dog Breeding Establishments

When is a licence required?

Anyone who breeds dogs for sale is required to hold a licence issued by the Local Authority under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

The regulations provide for inspection of premises at which dogs are bred and sets conditions that must be complied with. 

Breeding bitches are included if:

  • they are kept at any time during the 12 month period by the applicant/licence holder at the premises at which they are carrying on the business of breeding dogs for sale
  • they are kept at those premises by any of their relatives (i.e. parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew or someone with whom they live as a couple)
  • they are kept by them elsewhere
  • if they are kept by any other person by a contract or other arrangement with them.

"Premises" includes a private dwelling.

You will not be granted a licence if you have been disqualified from any of the following:

  • keeping a breeding establishment
  • keeping a pet shop
  • having custody of animals
  • from keeping an animal boarding establishment

Each premises will receive a star-rating from 1 star to 5 stars depending on how well the business complies with the licence conditions set out in The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals (England) Regulations 2018.  The licence will be issued for a period of either 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the star-rating achieved.

Breeding establishments can only operate once in receipt of a valid licence.

On the death of a licence holder, the licence passes to their personal representative for a period of 3 months from the day of their death and then expires.

What conditions are required by a licence?

Before a licence is issued, the local authority must be satisfied that certain 'dog breeding' conditions, relating to the welfare of the animals, are met. The full licencing conditions are set out in the guidance notes on conditions for breeding dogs document.

It is an offence to keep a dog breeding establishment without a licence, or to contravene any condition attached to a licence

It is an offence to obstruct entry or inspection or examination of any animal found on the premises.

Making an application

Before making an application for a breeding licence, you are advised to consider the following:

Will the activity require planning permission? You are strongly advised to contact Planning Services to discuss. Environmental Health will not process your application for a licence if there are any outstanding planning considerations.

Is the activity likely to give rise to nuisance? – the Council deals with numerous complaints of noise from barking dogs every year.

You must have regard to the health and safety of yourself, anyone you employ in the course of the business and anyone who may be affected by your business activities.  You will need to complete a health and safety risk assessment, taking into account  (amongst other things): access to welfare facilities - e.g. hand washing; control of substances hazardous to health, accidents and the reporting of injuries. Advice on health and safety can be obtained from Environmental Services Health and Safety team.

How to apply:

Complete and return the Application Form for dog breeding licence.  Our current fees and charges can also be found on the application form.

What happens after I apply for a licence?

If a licence has not previously been issued to the applicant in respect of a premises, an inspection will be made by an authorised officer from Tendring District Council and a veterinary officer. A report concerning the applicant, the premises and any other relevant matter will be considered before a licence is issued. Subsequent inspections may be undertaken by an authorised officer.

Power of Entry

Local authority officers, veterinary surgeons or practitioners authorised in writing by the Local Authority may, upon producing such authorisation, enter any licenced dog breeding establishment for purposes of carrying out an inspection.

Power of Entry to premises suspected of operating without a licence may be obtained by applying to a Justice of the Peace for a Warrant.


The licence holder will be committing an offence if they contravene any licence condition or obstruct an authorised officer.  In addition the following also applies:

  • a licence holder is only permitted to sell dogs from the licensed premises and only to a member of the public, a licensed pet shop or a licensed Scottish rearing establishment;
  • if a dog is sold direct to a member of the public it must be at least 8 weeks old;
  • if a dog is sold to a licensed pet shop or a licensed Scottish rearing establishment it must have an identifying tag or badge which clearly displays information indicating the licensed breeding establishment at which it was born and any other information required by regulations.

Contact Details:

Environmental Health (Food, Health & Safety Team)
88-90 Pier Avenue
CO15 1TN
Telephone: 01255 686767 

Last updated on: 23/04/2020 - 09:52