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Dog breeding

On 1 October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force. This legislation has changed the way dog breeding is licensed and regulated.

The new licence will be referred to as an Animal Activity Licence.

Do I need a licence?

The regulations specify two example business tests to be considered when determining whether an activity is considered commercial, and therefore subject to licensing. These are, whether the operator:

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

 Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are subject to licensing:

  • Anyone breeding three or more litters of puppies per year (unless they can show that none of the puppies have been sold).
  • Anyone breeding puppies and advertising a business of selling them, as defined under the business test outlined above. This is irrespective of the number of litters produced per year. This is not restricted to registered businesses – individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities

Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are not subject to licensing:

  • Breeders who can provide documented evidence, if requested, that none of the puppies were sold or that they kept all of the puppies themselves. Documented evidence will need to include records of the new owners of all of the puppies and provide details on why there was no transaction involved (including in kind).
  • Registered charities that re-home puppies that are born to rescue dogs, unless such registered charities are in practice running this element of their operations as a commercial activity
  • Anyone breeding only assistance dogs as defined in the Equality Act 2010 (e.g. guide dogs for the blind)
  • Anyone keeping a dog under the Animal Health Act 1981
  • Organisations regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
  • Breeders that breed a small number of puppies (i.e. less than 3 litters per year), and that sell them without making a profit

Making an application

Upon receipt of your application we will arrange to carry out an inspection with a council appointed vet of the premises where licensable activities are to take place before the application can be determined.


Licensing service

Municipal buildings, Corporation Street, Blackpool, FY1 1NF
Telephone 01253 478570

The licensing service is available to contact by telephone between 10:00am and 2:00pm  Monday to Friday or visit in person by appointment only at the licensing desk at Blackpool Council's Customer First Centre on Corporation Street .