Dog Breeding Establishments Licence

Licence summary

Establishments used for the breeding of dogs are controlled by the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973. 

No person may keep a breeding establishment without first obtaining a licence from their Local Authority. 

A breeding establishment means if more than two bitches are kept for the purposes of breeding, which give birth to five or more litters during any 12 months period and offer at least one puppy for sale will require an animal breeding licence

A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications for a licence must be made to Malvern Hills District Council, and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under any of the Following Acts.

  • The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973
  • The Pet Animals Act 1951
  • The Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • The Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934

There is an application fee which must be paid at the time the application is made.

Application Evaluation Process

Where a licence is granted, that licence and any subsequent licence will expire on the 31 December of the year to which the licence relates, and must be renewed before that date if the premises are to continue as a dog breeding establishment.

Before being granted a licence the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the Council's Animal Welfare Officer

  • 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 materials and adequately exercised when being transported to or from the breeding establishment

A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such the conditions are not suitable for the breeding of dogs. 

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

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any condition to which a licence is subject, may appeal to the Magistrates Court and the Courts may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.

The following offences apply the to breeding of dogs:

  • Any body found guilty of keeping a dog breeding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,500
  • Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,500
  • Anybody found guilty of obstruction or delaying an Inspector or authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers may be fined up to a maximum of £1,000

If found guilty under this Act, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping a dog breeding establishment for such length of time as the Court thinks fit.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it.

You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Apply by post

To apply for a licence by post you need to complete an application form, and send it with the appropriate fee and the documents referred to on the form to:

Licensing, Malvern Hills District Council, The Council House, Avenue Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3AF

You can download an application form here:

Dog Breeding Licence application form

The current fee to apply for a licence to breed dogs can be found on our licensing fees and charges page.

Failed Application Redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' Court.

Licence Holder Redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their 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 a letter (with proof of delivery).

If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice will give you advice.

From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Trade Associations

Pet Care Trust (PCT)