Dog Breeding Establishments

When is a licence required?

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 requires that anyone breeding and selling dogs, who is considered to be operating a business of selling dogs for profit must be licenced.  The Government's statutory guidance on breeding dogs sets out the criteria and the business test that is applied to determine whether a licence is required or not.  

A licence will not be granted to 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

Breeding establishments can only operate once in receipt of a valid licence.  Operating without a licence is an offence.

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 granted, the local authority must be satisfied that the licence conditions have been met. Anyone applying for a new licence must comply with all of the licence conditions set out in the Government's statutory guidance, before a licence can be granted.  

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 whether you require planning permission.

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

Can you comply with all of the licence conditions?

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, together with the required written procedure documents.  A new licence application will only be accepted if it is accompanied by the correct documentation. If you require assistance in producing the written procedures, please submit a request to the Council's Animal Licensing Officer, using the contact details below.

Licence application fees and vet's fees will apply.

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 initial premises inspection will be made by both an authorised officer from Tendring District Council and a veterinary surgeon. The Council aims to process licence applications and determine whether or not to grant a licence within a period of 10 weeks.  Where there are failings that cannot be addressed within this time period, the licence application may be refused and you will then need to re-submit the licence application when all licence conditions are being met.

Please refer to the licence application process webpage on the Council's website for more information about the application process.

Where a licence is granted, each premises will receive a star-rating of between 1 and 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 and whether the higher standards conditions are being met.  Licences are granted for either 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the risk-rating applied and whether the higher standard has been achieved or not.  New businesses are automatically considered higher risk for the first year and they can only therefore achieve a 2-star, 1 year licence or a 4-star, 2 year licence.  Existing businesses that are considered to be lower risk can achieve a 3-star, 2 year licence or a 5-star, 3 year licence.  A 1 star licence is only granted to existing businesses that are failing to meet the minimum standard.  A new licence will not be granted a licence if there are any minor failings.

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.


Anyone considered to be operating a business of breeding dogs without a licence is committing an offence and formal action can be taken against them,

The licence holder will be committing an offence if they breach any of the licence conditions or obstruct an authorised officer.

Contact Details:

Environmental Health (Food, Health & Safety Team)
Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO15 1SE
Telephone: 01255 686767


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