Dog Breeding Licence

Do I need a Licence?
You will require a licence to breed dogs if you either:
  • breed three or more litters of puppies per year.
  • breed puppies and advertise a business of selling them (this is irrespective of number of litters produced per year).
This includes bitches kept:
  • by any person at the premises
  • by any relative of the person at the premises
  • elsewhere by the person
  • anywhere by the person under a breeding arrangement/contact with another person
As with the Animal Boarding licensed premises, Dog Breeding establishments are inspected by Veterinary Surgeons to see that they are suitable in respect of the welfare of the dogs.
Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must not have been previously disqualified under the:

  • Dog Breeding Acts of 1973 & 1999 from keeping a breeding establishment
  • Pet Animals Act 1951 from keeping a pet shop
  • Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1965 from having the custody of animals
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 from the boarding of animals
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 34(2)(3) or (4).
Regulation Summary

A summary of the eligibility criteria for this licence

Breeding of Dogs Act 1991

Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999

The Breeding of Dogs (Licensing Records) Regulations 1999

Please Note:  With effect from 1st October 2018, The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 update a number of licensing provisions.  Anyone with an existing animal related business or planning a business should read the regulations and the guidance notes which accompany them.
Guidance notes and conditions in relation these changes can be found under related documents section of this page. We strongly advise that these are consulted in advance of making an application.
Application Evaluation Process

To apply for a Dog Breeding Licence, applicants must complete and submit an application form.

Applicants that have not previously been licensed to breed dogs at their current establishment must have the premises inspected by both a veterinary surgeon/practitioner and an officer of the Council.  For those applicants which have previously been granted a licence to breed dogs, an inspection will be undertaken by either an officer of the Council or veterinary surgeon/practitioner, or both.

In determining whether to grant an application for a Dog Breeding Licence the Authority will take into consideration:

  • whether the dogs have access to suitable accommodation at all time with regard to the construction and size of the quarters, number of occupants, ventilation, cleanliness, exercise facilities, temperature and lighting
  • whether the dogs will be suitably fed, watered, visited and supplied with adequate bedding material
  • that all reasonable steps are in place to prevent and control the spread of infectious/contagious diseases
  • that all reasonable steps will be taken to protect the animals in the event of a fire or other emergency
  • that the dogs will be suitably cared for when being transported to and from the breeding establishment, i.e. food, drink, bedding, exercise
  • that bitches are not mated if they are less than one year old
  • that bitches do not give birth to more than 6 litters of puppies each
  • that bitches do not give birth more than once in a 12 month period.

Licensed breeders are also required to keep a breeding record which is subject to scrutiny and helps prevent ‘puppy farming’.  Licensed breeders must keep careful records and puppies which are sold need to carry identity. 

Each licence is subject to standard conditions that are imposed on all dog breeding establishments licensed by the Council.

In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.

Upon completion of the inspection, the applicant will receive a star-rating based upon compliance, risk and standards.  The rating your premises receives pending inspection will determine the duration for which the licence will last (one, two or three years).  Please note, as new applicants will not have a compliance/complaint history with the local authority, they will initially always be treated as ‘high-risk’ and, as such, may not be eligible for the highest ratings until they renew the licence.  
Full information about the rating system can be found by viewing Defra’s ‘Procedural Guidance Notes’ – provided under the ‘relevant documents’ section of this page.
Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No - it is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted, however, the Council will endeavour to process your application within a reasonable timescale.  If you have not heard from us within 14 days of your inspection, please contact the Licensing Unit.

For information on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, see the website for the Office of Public Sector Information.

Apply online

This facility is not currently available

If you require an application form you can download a copy from the related documents section on this page. Alternatively please contact the Environmental Health & Licensing Team.

Please note that there are three sections to the application which need to be completed and submitted; including a Standard Applicant Profile, a Declaration and an application form that relates to the specific animal licensing activity you are applying for (listed under ‘relevant documents’ as Part A, Part B and Part C respectively).
Please send in the completed application forms with the relevant documentation required (including public liability insurance and any other documents requested within the application form specific to the activity you are looking to be licensed for) to West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, Taunton TA4 4QA
A fee is required to accompany the application and please check the Schedule of Fees.
Renewing your licence

Renewal applications must be received before the expiry of the current licence.

Failed Application Redress

In the first instance, contact the Local Authority.

Any applicant who is refused a licence or wishes to appeal against any conditions attached to a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates Court.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery).  If that has not worked, you should contact the Licensing Unit for advice. 

If you require any further information, please contact Customer Services on 01643 703704, email on or via the licensing service online form.

If you have any comments, enquiries or feedback about any of our services, please complete the online feedback form.  Your comments will be collated and used to improve the service we provide.