Breeding dogs

You need a licence to breed and sell dogs. The relevant legislation for this licence is the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

You can also read the government's statutory guidance on dog breeding licensing.

Who can apply?

Any 'fit and proper person' who is not disqualified from keeping animals may apply.

A licence cannot be granted to people who are disqualified from:

  • keeping a breeding establishment for dogs
  • keeping a pet shop
  • keeping animals
  • keeping a boarding establishment for animals

Apply for a licence

Please download and complete our Breeding and sale of dogs application form.

Alternatively, you can also download the Breeding and sale of dogs application form as a Word document.

Licence fees

The amount that you pay will depend on how many dogs you are breeding.

Please access our animal licence application fees for more information.

You can pay for a new application, or a renewal, via our online form:

Pay for a licence

Please note: You will need to submit an application form, as well as make the payment.

Is planning permission needed?

We recommend that you discuss your proposals with our Planning team to decide whether a planning application is needed.

Inspections and star ratings

Before your licence can be granted, your premises will be visited by an inspector. The initial inspection will take place in conjunction with a vet (who we will appoint).

You will need to pay for the inspection by the vet, in addition to your application fee.

The inspector will look to make sure that you have:

  • a specialist knowledge of the species you are caring for
  • a clear understanding of its needs and welfare (this includes the mental and physical health of the animal, feeding and environmental requirements). You will also need to demonstrate that the necessary research has been carried out, and expert guidance has been followed
  • comprehensive records, which contain all the information required by the relevant application conditions
  • an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal. This includes an extensive risk assessment, as well as written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the inspector to examine
  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them
  • clear evidence of good supervision of staff

Your premises will also be assessed, to make sure that the physical environment in which the animals will be kept are appropriate.

Based on the information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars. Low-risk premises can be awarded up to five stars. Premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars.

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you will have the opportunity to make any necessary changes and then ask for a re-inspection (fees apply). 

If you are a new applicant, you will automatically be deemed high risk until you have held your licence for one year.

Premises with lower star ratings

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid. There are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating.

New businesses will be assessed as slightly higher risk. This is simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.

For more information, please read the procedural guidance notes for local authorities (February 2022).

How do I improve my rating?

DEFRA have produced guidance to aid the inspection process.

There are some ‘optional’ and ‘required’ conditions which may help you to achieve a higher star rating.

If a customer has any concerns, please contact our Food and Safety team before making a purchase or making booking arrangements.

How long does a licence last?

Under the new legislation, licences can be issued for up to three years.

The licence expiry date will depend on the risk rating that is given to the business at the time of inspection. It will also depend on compliance with both the general conditions and the higher standards.

What can I do if my licence application is refused?

If your application is refused, you can apply to the magistrates' court.

What if I want to add a new dog to my licence?

If you want to:

  • increase the number of dogs at your premises
  • breed from a breed that you are not currently licensed for

you will need to discuss this with us before getting the new dog(s). 

Please download and complete the amendment form.

Email your completed form to so that we can discuss this matter with you. Fees may apply.

Public Register

View the Animal Licence Register (Babergh)

View the Animal Licence Register (Mid Suffolk)