1. The licence

Breeding of Dogs Act 1973

It is an offence under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 as amended by Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act 1991 and 1999 to breed dogs for commercial sale without the appropriate licence, the maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding £2500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.

You must have a Breeders licence if you breed

  • three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period
  • puppies and advertise a business of selling them, as defined under the business test - this is irrespective of the number of litters produced per year

A business is defined in the legislation as an operator who

  • makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • earns any commission or fee from the activity

For new applications, planning permission may be required. You can find out more on our planning pages.

Before making an application read through the DEFRA guidance notes below as it provides the licence conditions that will be attached to a licence and information on how to meet each required standard.

How to apply

To apply for a breeders licence you must read the Conditions for breeding dogs (PDF 130Kb) before you download and complete the form below

Breeding and sale of dogs licence application

PDF, 130 KB

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

There is an application fee which you must be pay when you make your application. You can find full details on our fees page.

How to pay

You can send a cheque for the cost of the licence enclosed with your application form to

Licensing Team
Environmental Health and Trading Standards
Fred Perry House
Edward Street

Or you can email your application to

If you have an invoice you can call 0161 474 4181 and ask for business support.

The inspection

We’ll inspect your premises before we grant you a licence so we can make sure you meet the legislation. The more conditions you meet, the better chance you have of being granted a longer licence.

You must

  • have a specialist knowledge in the species that you’re caring for and a clear understanding of their welfare and of their physical and mental needs
  • have a specialist knowledge of their feeding habits and knowledge of environmental enrichment
  • be able to demonstrate that you have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out your role
  • have comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions of the licence that apply to your particular activities
  • have an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly
  • have training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff

After your inspection, we’ll send you a report to let you know whether there are any 'minor failings', you have met the 'minimum standards' or you have met the 'higher standards'.

We’ll then award you a star rating of up to 5 stars and licence of between 1 and 3 years. Your star rating must appear where your business is advertised and on the licence.

We aim to issue a licence within 28 days of receiving a valid application.

If you’re not satisfied with the decision, you can make improvements to the premises, and ask for a re-inspection at an extra cost