This guidance is for local authority inspectors in England. You should read it alongside the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (LAIA).
To decide if an activity is covered by the regulations and needs a licence to operate, you should consider all of this guidance.
There’s a limit on the number of litters that dog breeders can have unless a breeder can prove that they will not sell any of the puppies from these litters as puppies or adults.
Businesses should tell their relevant licensing local authority by email or phone when each litter of puppies is whelped.
To decide if an activity is a business and will need a licence, consider if the operator:
- makes any sale or carries out the activity to make a profit
- earns any commission or fee from the activity
You should also consider HMRC’s 9 badges of trade.
If someone has a trading income below the HMRC trading income allowance, they do not require a licence for their activities.
If someone has a trading income above the HMRC trading income allowance, they do not automatically qualify as a business.
They must have a licence, if they do either or both of the following:
- breeding 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12-month period - unless they can prove that none of the puppies have been sold as puppies or adults
- breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs - as defined under the business test
Businesses need a licence regardless of the number of litters produced . This is not restricted to registered businesses. Individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.
You should consider these factors when determining whether someone is ‘advertising a business’:
- the number, frequency or volume of sales - systematic and repeated transactions using the same means of advertising are likely to indicate a commercial activity
- high volumes of animals sold or advertised for sale could indicate a business
- low volumes of animals sold or advertised could indicate a business where high sales prices or large profit margins are involved
- high range and variability in the breeds traded - a wide variety of breeds being advertised could indicate the commercial nature of the activity
- high numbers of advertisements of puppies for sale, including on classified websites, could indicate commercial behaviour, even where there is no actual sale taking place through the internet this could be high numbers of advertisements at any one time or over a short period of time
- advertising through a variety of sites, forums or media could indicate a commercial activity
- the sale of animals with non-UK documentation or microchip could indicate commercial activity
Every business must keep an up-to-date list of all their premises where they carry out activities covered by the LAIA 2018 regulations.
Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria do not require a licence:
- organisations can provide documented evidence (if requested) that none of the puppies were sold or that they kept all of the puppies themselves as puppies or adults - 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 rehome 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 (for example, Guide Dogs for the Blind)
- anyone keeping a dog under the Animal Health Act 1981
- organisations regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
Appoint of a vet for inspection
A vet must be appointed for the initial inspection for the licensed application for the breeding of dogs.
Where the vet is accompanied by a suitably qualified local inspector, they will be appointed under 4(5) of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018.
Where the vet is required by the local authority to carry out the inspection without being accompanied by a suitably qualified officer, they must be appointed under section 51 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the Act) to exercise the enforcement powers available under the Act. They must also be appointed under 4(5) of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018.
Where the vet is required by the local authority to carry out the inspection without being accompanied by a suitably qualified officer, the vet must be appointed in writing by the appropriate person with delegated powers within the local authority.
It is expected that all businesses will meet and maintain minimum standards. If on a renewal inspection you identify minor failings that do not compromise welfare standards, follow the risk-based approach to renewing a licence.
To grant a new animal activities licence for breeding dogs, you must check that businesses meet all of the minimum standards in this guidance.
Businesses that meet the higher standard will get a 4 or 5 star rating in the animals activity star rating system.
To meet the higher standards, the breeding of dogs premises must achieve:
- all the required higher standards
- a minimum of 50% of the optional higher standards
If a business meets the higher standards, they qualify for a longer licence that’s valid for 2 or 3 years rather than for one year. They’ll also pay a lower licence fee.
See Animal activity licensing process: statutory guidance for local authorities for an explanation of the animal activity star rating system and how it incorporates a risk assessment of the business.
Part A – General conditions (schedule 2 of the regulations)
1.0 Licence display
1.1 A copy of the licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any premises used for the licensable activity.
The address of the licensed premises must be displayed on the licence.
The licence must be displayed in a public-facing area of the premises such as the entrance or animal introduction area. In a home environment, the licence should be shown to any potential purchasers.
1.2 The name of the licence holder followed by the number of the licence holder’s licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any website used in respect of the licensable activity.
2.1 The licence holder must ensure that at any time all the records that the licence holder is required to keep as a condition of the licence are available for inspection by an inspector in a visible and legible form or, where any such records are stored in electronic form, in a form from which they can readily be produced in a visible and legible form.
2.2 The licence holder must keep all such records for at least 3 years beginning with the date on which the record was created.
Electronic records must be backed up.
3.0 Use, number and type of animal
3.1 No animals or types of animal other than those animals and types of animal specified in the licence may be used in relation to the relevant licensable activity.
This licence only applies to breeding dogs. However, if there are welfare concerns relating to any other animals then the inspector should inform either the relevant person in the local authority, the police or suitable animal welfare organisation.
3.2 The number of animals kept for the activity at any time must not exceed the maximum that is reasonable taking into account the facilities and staffing on any premises used for the licensable activity.
The licence must clearly state the total number of dogs on the premises that are kept for licensable breeding.
The total must include the number of:
- breeding bitches
- stud dogs
- litters on site
- other dogs that are not in scope including pets, retired dogs and those that are under breeding age
If businesses keep more dogs for licensable breeding than the total number stated on the licence, they’d be in breach of the licence especially if they have not increased the number of staff that can care for the dogs.
You should consider:
- where a licensed premises keeps other dogs that are not used for breeding
- how many staff care for both dogs used and not used for breeding (for example, pets and retired dogs) that may impact facilities and staffing
Details of individual dogs should not be placed on the licence.
4.1 Sufficient numbers of people who are competent for the purpose must be available to provide a level of care that ensures that the welfare needs of all the animals are met.
If there’s evidence that dogs’ welfare is at risk, you should consider if the staffing levels are appropriate.
You should take into account:
- the size of the premises
- the layout of the premises (including how many dogs are allowed in each separate area)
- the type of dog (for example, breed, age, health status and needs)
- staff qualifications and experience
- advice from the local authority’s vet
- use of part-time or voluntary staff
Each member of staff should have 20 dogs or less to care for.
4.2 The licence holder or a designated manager and any staff employed to care for the animals must have competence to identify the normal behaviour of the species for which they are caring and to recognise signs of, and take appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent, pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour.
Businesses must train their staff, so they’re able to carry out the following tasks:
- animal welfare (including recognising poor welfare)
- animal handling
- animal behaviour
- cleanliness and hygiene
- feeding and food preparation
- disease prevention and control
- recognition and first aid treatment of sick or injured animals
The licence holder must keep a record of their staff’s training.
Animals must be cared for by staff who possess the appropriate ability, knowledge and professional competence.
Staff must either:
- hold a formal qualification that’s appropriate for the role they take, such as a Level 2 Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulated qualification
- show they have relevant experience which is sufficient for the role they take in the licensable activity
If there is not an accredited training course for an activity, businesses must provide other evidence of training (such as industry generated courses).
Staff who have taken an Ofqual regulated qualification must show that they have progressed with their study in a 12-month period. They must complete the qualification within 2 years.
4.3 The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff.
Businesses must review and update their training policy every year.
The review should include:
- an annual appraisal
- planned continued professional development
- recognition of any knowledge gaps
This applies to all staff including the licence holder.
Staff participation can be shown by:
- records of the courses they are taking
- records of written or online learning
- keeping up to date with any research or developments for specific breeds
- annual appraisal documents
Evidence of staff attendance or completion of the training must be provided.
Required higher standard for staffing
One staff member should not be responsible for more than 10 adult dogs.
Optional higher standards for staffing
Each business must have a full-time, permanent member of staff with an appropriate Ofqual regulated Level 3 qualification.
Businesses must appoint a qualified behaviour expert and record all discussions that are had.
5.0 Suitable environment
5.1 All areas, equipment and appliances that animals can access must present minimal risks of injury, illness and escape.
They must be constructed in materials that are:
- safe and durable
- in a good state of repair
- well maintained
All outdoor fencing must be:
- strong and rigid
- of a sufficient height to stop a dog jumping over
- kept in good repair
- designed in a way that prevents dogs from digging and escaping underneath it
If businesses use wire mesh around the dogs, they must make sure:
- the diameter of the wire is not thinner than 2 millimetres (British Standard 14 gauge welded mesh)
- the square mesh size is not bigger than 50 millimetres by 50 millimetres
- the chain link is not bigger than 75 millimetres by 50 millimetres
- any holes, gaps or openings are small enough that a dog’s head will not pass through or trap their limbs or body parts
Home environment: guidance
Businesses must maintain the inside and outside of their buildings to make sure they’re in good condition. They must keep outside paths, gardens, exercise areas and general surroundings clean and presentable.
They must also make sure there are no:
- sharp edges
- rough edges
- other hazards which present risk of injury to a dog
If businesses use wood, they need to:
- check it is good quality and continue maintaining it
- seal or over-clad any damaged areas.
- make sure exposed wood is smooth, treated and properly maintained to seal it from dirt and moisture
- treat all structural wood that’s outside (such as, fence posts) against wood rot - businesses should only use non-toxic products
Standing water from cleaning or urine is unacceptable. Drains must remain unblocked, so liquids can run into them immediately.
Drain covers in areas where dogs can go must remain safe and secure. They must be designed and located so that dogs do not get their toes or claws trapped.
They must check that electrical sockets and appliances in the areas that the dogs can access are secure and are not damaged, so dogs do not catch their toes or claws on them.
Businesses must make sure all inside surfaces that the dogs can access are:
- cleaned regularly
- kept in good order
- smooth (where possible)
- water and dirt proof (where possible)
They must have safe floors for dogs to walk on that are not slippery.
Doors and windows leading outside must be:
- secure and prevent dogs from escaping
- strong enough to resist impact and scratching
- prevent injury (for example, from broken glass)
- lockable (staff must also be able to lock all gates)
Staff who provide care for the dogs must have easy access to keys and any key codes in case of an emergency.
Businesses must make sure there are at least 2 secure physical barriers between a dog and any entrance or exit to avoid dogs escaping.
Each room used must have a securable, full height door for access and security. Internal doors must open inwards, so staff and dogs remain safe and reduce the risk of dogs escaping.
If this is not feasible, businesses must have a written procedure in place to keep staff safe. Doors to rooms must remain closed at night where appropriate. Each dog room must have a secure latch or other secure closing device.
Kennel environment: guidance
Dog unit doors must open inwards to protect the health and safety of staff who are looking after the dogs. If this is not feasible, businesses must have a written procedure in place that demonstrates how they make sure staff stay safe.
Door openings must allow water and waste to pass through freely.
Staff must not leave access doors open.
The corridor must be at least 1.2 metres wide for kennels where there are facing dog units that staff access by an indoor corridor. If this is not feasible, businesses must show how they make sure staff stay safe (for example, the routes staff can follow to remove dogs from kennel units and where they can put dogs in the premises).
Kennels and runs must open on to secure areas so dogs cannot escape from the premises. Businesses must not use these spaces as exercise areas.
Each unit must have a minimum headroom height of 2 metres. They must allow staff to access dogs and clean all parts of the unit safely. If this is not feasible, businesses must have a written procedure in place to keep staff safe.
New kennels must be built on a concrete base with a damp proof membrane.
5.2 Animals must be kept at all times in an environment suitable to their species and condition (including health status and age) with respect to:
(a) their behavioural needs
(b) its situation, space, air quality, cleanliness and temperature
(c) the water quality (where relevant)
(d) noise levels
(e) light levels
Dogs must not be kept in areas where the temperature may cause them distress. The area where dogs sleep should be above an absolute minimum of 10°C and below a maximum of 26°C.
Businesses must provide additional local heating within the whelping enclosure for the first 10 days after birth.
Dogs must be checked to see if they are too hot or too cold. If an individual dog is showing signs of heat or cold intolerance steps must be taken for its welfare. A dog must be able to move away from a direct source of heat or light.
Inside areas must be well ventilated to avoid excess humidity, but without creating excessive localised draughts.
Heaters and electrical equipment must not be placed where they could burn, electrocute or give an electric shock to a dog or human. They must not be placed where they can start a fire. Open fires and wood burners must have protection or fire guards in place.
Dogs must not be exposed to excessive noise. Dogs that may be affected by other dogs barking should stay in the quietest part of the premises.
Dogs must have exposure to natural light for at least some parts of the day
5.3 Staff must make sure that the animals are kept clean and comfortable.
Each occupied kennel must be cleaned at least daily.
Dogs must be removed from the area while the kennels are cleaned.
Dogs should be adequately groomed and have other routine care as needed, such as being dried after being outside in wet conditions and inspected for parasites.
5.4 Where appropriate for the species, a toileting area and opportunities for toileting must be provided.
Dogs must have regular opportunities during the day for toileting. Each dog’s individual needs should be taken into account.
Kennelled dogs must either:
- have direct and continuous access to a run for toileting
- be taken out of the kennel unit to toilet (for example, during exercise)
In a home environment, dogs will have access to a secure outside area for toileting.
Bitches must be allowed regular opportunities for toileting and exercise away from their puppies.
5.5 Procedures must be in place to make sure housing and any equipment is cleaned as often as necessary and good hygiene standards are maintained. The housing must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Kennels (including outside runs), must be inspected daily and kept in a clean condition. Staff must follow the documented cleaning and disinfection procedures that are in place.
Kennels must be disinfected at least once a week and when occupancy changes.
Faeces must be removed from all areas at least twice a day (or more frequently if necessary).
Where a pest problem is identified, a pest control programme must be implemented.
5.6 The animals must be transported and handled in a manner (including for example, in relation to housing, temperature, ventilation and frequency) that protects them from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
All animals must be transported according to the regulations laid down in current legislation.
The licence holder must demonstrate that a suitable vehicle is available to transport the dogs. It does not have to be owned by the licence holder.
During transport, dogs must be suitably restrained to prevent injury using a dog crate, transport harness or dog guard. Dog crates need to be of adequate size to ensure that the dog can stand, lie down and turn around freely. Crates must be well ventilated and firmly secured.
Vehicles must be cleaned and disinfected after each collection or delivery of any new dogs.
Dogs must not be left in vehicles for unreasonable periods. They must never be left unattended in a car or other vehicle where the temperature may risk the comfort and safety of the animal. The driver must think about whether it’s necessary to transport animals when the temperature poses a risk.
Sufficient breaks must be offered for water, food and the chance to go to the toilet.
If a dog needs to be transported for veterinary care, it must be transported in a way that does not cause further suffering. A vet should advise on whether a dog can be transported.
5.7 All the animals must be easily accessible to staff and for inspection. There must be sufficient light for the staff to work effectively and observe the animals.
This must be natural light where practical, but artificial light must be available.
Artificial lighting should only be used for between 10 and 12 hours per day.
Lights must be turned off to provide a period of darkness overnight.
5.8 All resources must be provided in a way (for example, as regards frequency, location and access points) that minimises competitive behaviour or the dominance of individual animals.
Resources include, but are not limited to:
- enrichment items
- resting and sleeping areas including dog beds
These items should number equal or greater than the number of dogs in any communal area.
Dogs must be carefully monitored especially at feeding times.
Each weaned dog must have constant access to a non-slip water bowl.
Each bitch must have access to food that is not accessible to the puppies.
5.9 The animals must not be left unattended in any situation or for any period likely to cause them distress.
All dogs must be observed regularly throughout the day. The licence holder or responsible person must visit the dogs at regular intervals that are either:
- 3 hours or less during the working day (for example, 8am to 6pm)
- as necessary for the individual health, safety and welfare of each dog
Required higher standards for providing a suitable environment for dogs
All individual dogs must be checked at least once at an appropriate interval during the out of hours period (6pm to 8am) by CCTV or in person. When there are litters, they must be checked in person.
The licence holder must keep a record of all checks made during both normal hours and out of hours, including the date and time of each check.
The design and layout of the facility must give the dogs a choice of areas.
Optional higher standards for providing a suitable environment for dogs
Ventilation must be a managed fixed or portable air system to maintain temperatures in all weathers. This can be an air conditioning unit or removable fans installed safely away from animals.
Businesses must have a noise management plan in place that’s proven to reduce noise for the dogs .
Measures can include:
- physical barriers
- sound absorbing materials
- positive reinforcement training to keep barking down
- kennel design to prevent noise generation with demonstration of effectiveness
6.0 Suitable diet
6.1 The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency. Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them.
Adult dogs must be fed at least once per day and in accordance with the individual dog’s needs.
Dogs must have a diet that’s appropriate to their:
- activity level
- stage in the breeding cycle
The licence holder must keep a record of the type, quantity, frequency of food each dog receives.
During pregnancy and lactation, each bitch must have sufficient appropriate food to satisfy the demands being made upon her.
The licence holder must be able to show how they manage the diet of pregnant bitches and have an appropriate procedure in place for doing so.
During lactation, the bitch must be closely monitored for signs of complications (such as eclampsia, mastitis). The feeding level required for the bitch after weaning will depend upon her body condition.
Where a proprietary food source is used, the manufacturer’s guide must be followed. Veterinary advice must be sought if in doubt.
If there are concerns about an individual dog’s diet, veterinary advice must be sought.
All breeders must have a plan for weaning puppies.
They must make sure that:
- each puppy starts weaning as soon as it is capable of ingesting feed on its own
- they provide each puppy with feed appropriate for its stage of development
- each puppy ingests the correct share of the feed provided
- initially offer food to puppies at weaning to 5 times a day
The initial diet may be liquid progressing to solid food over the ensuing period. Dog breeders must provide the transitional feeding schedule showing the day by day ratio if weaning puppies on to a different food.
6.2 Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.
If a dog does not eat through choice for longer than 24 hours, staff must seek veterinary advice. If there are specific concerns, veterinary advice must be sought earlier.
The general condition of the dogs must be observed. A vet must assess any dog that’s displaying significant weight loss or gain and treat them as necessary.
Weekly records of weight and Body Condition Scoring (BCS) must be kept to ensure the health of puppies and to allow any issues to be tracked.
Weight and BCS of adult dogs must be monitored to ensure they are healthy and any issues tracked.
Veterinary advice must be sought if abnormal drinking patterns are observed.
6.3 Feed and drinking water provided to the animals must be unspoiled and free from contamination.
Food bowls should be emptied and cleaned following feeding so that food, particularly wet food, is not left out until the next feeding time.
Refrigeration facilities for food storage must be provided.
Food must be stored away from risk of vermin and in cool, dry places.
6.4 Feed and drinking receptacles must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected, or disposable.
Receptacles must be non-porous.
Receptacles must be cleaned daily and disinfected at least once a week. If damaged, they must be disposed of or fixed.
6.5 Constant access to fresh, clean drinking water must be provided in a suitable receptacle for the species that requires it.
Fresh clean drinking water must be provided daily in a clean container and changed or refreshed as often as necessary.
There must be multiple water bowls provided, so that all dogs have access to water.
6.6 Where feed is prepared on the premises used for the licensable activity, there must be hygienic facilities for its preparation, including a working surface, hot and cold running water and storage.
Staff must have access to a separate hand wash basin that has an adequate supply of hot and cold water, so they can wash their hands. The basin must be connected to a suitable drainage system.
Soap and hygienic hand drying facilities must be available.
The food preparation area must be kept clean and vermin free at all times.
Receptacles for a dog’s food and drink must not be used for any other purposes.
Required higher standards for diet
Dogs must be fed twice a day. Each dog must have a feeding plan that balances feeding with food enrichment such as use of scatter feeders. Inspector must see the enrichment tools and plan for each dog.
A minimum of a week’s supply of the puppies’ current diet must be included when they go to their new home.
7.0 Monitoring behaviour and training
7.1 Active and effective environmental enrichment must be provided to the animals in inside and outside environments.
A facility must create a written programme that shows how they provide an enriching environment both inside and outside.
The enrichment programme must include:
All dogs must receive appropriate toys and feeding enrichment unless a vet advises otherwise.
Items must be checked daily to ensure they stay safe and must not be left with dogs when staff are not on the premises.
Competition between dogs must be avoided.
7.2 For species whose welfare depends partly on exercise, opportunities to exercise which benefit the animals’ physical and mental health must be provided, unless advice from a vet suggests otherwise.
Opportunities to exercise must involve at least one walk per day or access to a secure open space.
Consideration must be given when planning daily exercise to:
- life stage
- physical and mental health
- breed when planning daily exercise
A dog walker may walk no more than 6 dogs at the same time. The owner must consent to their dog being walked with others. Dogs must be familiarised with each other beforehand.
Dogs that cannot be exercised must be given other forms of mental stimulation.
Dogs must be monitored whilst in outdoor exercise areas.
The outdoor area must be cleared of all hazards after each use. Faeces must be picked up between dogs using an area.
Where artificial turf is used, it must be kept in good repair and a dog must not be able to eat it.
Dogs must not be able to get to the bins. The outdoor or garden area of the facility and any other areas that the dogs can access must be secure and safe.
Dogs must not have unsupervised access to ponds, pools, wells and any other features that might pose a risk.
Puppies cannot be walked so will require at least 4 opportunities to engage in play and human interaction during the day.
7.3 The animals’ behaviour and any changes of behaviour must be monitored. Advice must be sought, as appropriate and without delay, from a vet or, in the case of fish, any person competent to give such advice if adverse or unusual behaviour is detected.
All staff must be able to spot unusual behaviour, and in particular dogs that are anxious or fearful about contact.
The behaviour of each dog must be monitored every day. Changes of behaviour must be recorded and the owner must be told if there are signs of:
Records of these assessments must be kept.
Advice must be available from a suitably qualified clinical animal behaviourist when it’s necessary.
If a dog is showing signs of nerves, stress or fear, or is likely to, they should be taken somewhere suitable within the facility.
The staff should pay particular attention to dogs that are:
- on medication
Where a dog shows signs of being nervous, stressed or fearful, steps must be taken to address this.
7.4 Where used, training methods or equipment must not cause pain, suffering or injury.
Training must be reward based – rewarding good behaviour and ignoring unwanted behaviour.
7.5 All immature animals must be given suitable and adequate opportunities to:
(a) learn how to interact with people, their own species and other animals where such interaction benefits their welfare
(b) become habituated to noises, objects and activities in their environment
From 3 weeks old, puppies must be habituated to events they are likely to encounter throughout their adult lives. This must include the sights and sounds in households (such as appliances) and differing surfaces to walk on. Introduction to novel sights and sounds must be gradual, so that puppies do not show a fearful response such as startling or withdrawal.
Puppies must also be introduced to a variety of people. Beneficial and positive contact can include grooming, exercise, play, petting and training as appropriate for the individual.
Required higher standard for providing a suitable environment for dogs
There must be a clear plan setting out 2 forms of exercise per dog each working day for a minimum of 20 minutes each. There must be an alternative form of enrichment planned for dogs which cannot be exercised for veterinary reasons.
8.0 Animal handling and interactions
8.1 All people responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling of each animal to protect it from pain, suffering, injury or disease.
Dogs must always be handled humanely and in a way that is suitable for their individual needs. This is to minimise fear, stress, pain or distress. Dogs must never be punished so that they are frightened or behave badly.
Anyone caring for the dogs must be competent to handle dogs correctly. They must be able to recognise and act upon undesirable behaviours.
A protocol must be in place for dealing with difficult dogs. This needs to include members of staff trained in dog handling and the use of appropriate equipment.
There must be a range of muzzles of varying sizes and a suitable dog catching device kept on site at all times.
8.2 The animals must be kept separately or in suitable compatible social groups appropriate to the species and individual animals. No animals from a social species may be isolated or separated from others of their species for any longer than is necessary.
Dogs must be held in socially harmonious groups with a minimum of 2 (a pair) after pre-screening has been carried out to ensure no aggressive behaviour is shown.
Dogs that show significant signs of fear, anxiety or aggression associated with contact with other dogs may be better housed and exercised separately, as long as they are provided with sufficient human contact. They must not be used for breeding. When dogs are kept separately, the reasons must be recorded in writing.
A policy must be in place for monitoring the introduction of new dogs to other dogs in either domestic or kennel environments. This is to avoid stress to either the new or resident animals.
Dogs must not be muzzled to facilitate group or pair housing.
8.3 The animals must have at least daily opportunities to interact with people where such interaction benefits their welfare.
Dogs must interact with humans every day in a way that’s of benefit to the individual dog. Puppies must be visited at frequent intervals as they need to be socialised. This must be a minimum of 4 times per day with 20 minutes of interaction per litter.
Animals should be encouraged, but never be forced to interact with people.
9.0 Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
9.1 Written procedures must:
(a) be in place and implemented, covering
(i) feeding regimes
(ii) cleaning regimes
(iv) the prevention of, and control of the spread of, disease
(v) monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals
(vi) the death or escape of an animal (including the storage of carcasses)
(b) be in place, covering the care of the animals following the suspension or revocation of the licence or during and following an emergency
These procedures must show how the licence holder will meet these conditions.
9.2 All people responsible for the care of the animals must be made fully aware of these procedures.
9.3 Appropriate isolation, in self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals.
There must be facilities to isolate of animals that are:
- reasonably expected to be carrying serious infectious diseases
In a kennel environment, there must be isolation facilities for dogs with infectious diseases.
In a domestic environment, it must be demonstrated as to how a dog can be kept an appropriate distance from any litters of puppies or places where the litters go for 14 days.
If the isolation facility is at another location, such as a local veterinary practice, the licence holder must be able to show evidence that the location is prepared to provide such facilities (for example, a letter from the practice).
All staff must understand the procedures to prevent the spread of infectious disease between any infected animals and the other dogs.
If infectious disease is present on the whole premises:
- the facility must use barrier nursing procedures, and people trained in these
- staff should wear protective clothing and footwear (where applicable) and change these between enclosures
- equipment must be stored separately
- waste must be segregated
Dogs showing signs of infectious disease must not be allowed in any shared outside exercise area.
Protective clothing and footwear must be worn when handling dogs in the isolation facility, and sanitation protocols adhered to. Separate feeding and water bowls, bedding and cleaning utensils must be stored in the isolation unit ready for immediate use.
Staff must check on dogs in isolation at least as often as other dogs. Unless a separate person is looking after them, dogs in isolation must be checked after all other dogs.
9.4 All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals and people of infectious diseases and parasites.
An up-to-date veterinary vaccination record must be seen to show that dogs have current vaccinations against:
- canine parvovirus
- canine distemper
- canine adenovirus
- infectious canine hepatitis
- other relevant diseases
Vaccination against other diseases such as kennel cough (bordetella bronchiseptica or canine parainfluenza virus) may be required.
A vet certificate of a recent protective titre test may be accepted instead of a booster vaccination. The certificate must state that it is valid for the current period. It is up to the licence holder to decide whether to have dogs vaccinated or titre tested.
Vaccines used must be licensed for use in the UK. Homoeopathic vaccination is not acceptable.
If there’s evidence of external parasites, the dog must be treated with a product authorised by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and licensed to be used in the UK.
These parasites could be:
Treatment must be discussed with a vet before administration.
9.5 All excreta and soiled bedding for disposal must be stored and disposed of in a hygienic manner and in accordance with any relevant legislation.
Dog waste and soiled bedding must be put in a clearly marked bin. This must be emptied either daily or when full, whichever is sooner. Dog waste must be removed in accordance with the documented cleaning and disinfection procedure.
All dog waste must be stored away from areas where animals or food are kept.
9.6 Sick or injured animals must receive prompt attention from a vet or, in the case of fish, an appropriately competent person and the advice of that vet or, in the case of fish, that competent person, must be followed.
If the facility’s trained first aider suspects that a dog is ill or injured, a vet must be contacted immediately. Any instructions for treatment must be recorded. If there is an ongoing concern, the facility must seek veterinary advice.
9.7 Where necessary, animals must receive preventative treatment by an appropriately competent person.
Only a vet or registered veterinary nurse under the direction of a vet can administer vaccinations.
Routine and documented treatment must be in place for internal and external parasites (adult dogs and puppies must be wormed and given flea and tick treatment as appropriate).
All animals must receive appropriate vaccination, in accordance with their preventative health care plan as advised by the appointed vet. Veterinary advice must be sought whenever necessary. Vaccination courses must begin at the correct age.
9.8 The licence holder must register with a vet with an appropriate level of experience in the health and welfare requirements of any animals specified in the licence and the contact details of that vet must be readily available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity.
The vet must be in a reasonable travel distance from the premises. The vet’s details must be displayed where they can be easily seen by all staff members.
This must the include:
- telephone number
- out of hours telephone number
9.9 Prescribed medicines must be stored safely and securely to safeguard against unauthorised access, at the correct temperature, and used in accordance with the instructions of the vet.
All courses must be completed as per the advice given by the vet.
A fridge must be available to store veterinary medicines which need to be kept at low temperatures.
9.10 Medicines other than prescribed medicines must be stored, used and disposed of in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or vet.
9.11 Cleaning products must be suitable, safe and effective against pathogens that pose a risk to the animals. They must be used, stored and disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and used in a way which prevents distress or suffering of the animals.
Cleaning and disinfection products must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Disinfectant products must kill viruses as well as bacteria. Those using cleaning products must be competent in the safe use of detergents and fluids. Cleaning products must be kept entirely out of the reach of animals.
Any equipment that has been used on an infectious or suspected infectious animal must be cleaned and disinfected after use or disposed of.
Standing water must not be allowed to accumulate. This is to avoid pathogens that live in moist environments.
Grooming equipment must be kept clean and in a good state of repair.
9.12 No person may euthanise an animal except a vet or a person who has been authorised by a vet as competent for such purpose or:
(a) in the case of fish, a person who is competent for such purpose
(b) in the case of horses, a person who is competent, and who holds a licence or certificate, for such purpose
Only a vet may euthanise a dog.
The licence holder must be able to demonstrate which veterinary practice is to be called. They must keep a record of all euthanasia and the identity of the qualified vet that carried it out.
9.13 All animals must be checked at least once daily or more regularly as necessary to check for any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour. Vulnerable animals must be checked more frequently.
9.14 Any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and the advice and further advice (if necessary) of a vet (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.
Businesses must record all observations. Records and any checklists must be made available to inspectors.
Presence or absence of faeces and urine must be monitored daily. Anything unusual must be recorded and acted upon.
10.1 A written emergency plan, acceptable to the local authority, must be in place, known and available to all the people on the premises used for the licensable activity. It must be followed where necessary to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect all the people and animals on the premises in case of fire or in case of breakdowns for essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies.
Entrances and fire exits must be clear of obstructions at all times.
Suitable firefighting, prevention and detection equipment must be provided and maintained in good working order. All buildings must have at least one working smoke detector (or other suitable fire detection system) installed in a suitable location on each separate level or floor of the property. There must be at least one carbon monoxide detector.
An emergency drill programme must be in place with annual testing, or as determined by fire risk assessments. All new members of staff must have an emergency drill as part of their induction programme.
A first aid kit suitable for treatment of dogs must be kept on site.
There must be a plan to house the dogs should the premises become uninhabitable.
There must be a written policy in place for dealing with emergencies, including extremes of hot and cold temperatures and abnormal weather conditions.
All electrical installations must be installed by a qualified person and maintained in a safe condition. They should be placed where they do not present a risk.
All equipment must be maintained, kept in good repair and serviced according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
There must be an effective contingency plan for:
- essential heating
- aeration and filtration systems
10.2 The plan must include details of the emergency measures to be taken for the extrication of the animals should the premises become uninhabitable and an emergency telephone list that includes the fire service and police.
10.3 External doors and gates must be lockable.
10.4 A designated key holder with access to all animal areas must at all times be within reasonable travel distance of the premises and available to attend in an emergency.
A reasonable distance would in normal conditions, be no more than 30 minutes travelling time.
In a non-domestic setting, an emergency contact name and contact number must be displayed on the outside of the premises.
Optional higher standard for emergencies
A competent person must be on site at all times.
Part B – Specific conditions: breeding dogs (schedule 6 of the regulations)
1.0 Advertisements and sales
1.1 The licence holder must not advertise or offer a dog for sale:
(a) that was not bred by the licence holder
(b) anywhere other than from the premises where it was born and reared under the licence
(c) otherwise than to:
(i) a person who holds a licence for the activity described in paragraph 2 of schedule 1
(ii) a keeper of a pet shop in Wales who is licensed under regulations 2 and 4 of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Wales) Regulations 2021, knowing or believing that the person who buys it intends to sell it or intends it to be sold by any other person
The complete sales route from birth to sale must be clear. The inspector must see how and where puppies are bred, born, reared and kept until sale. The inspector must also see what potential buyers are shown including the details of mating.
To demonstrate breeding, the licence holder’s involvement in the complete reproductive route from conception and gestation to birth must be evident. The inspector must see details of the matings and both parents, including where this may have occurred on other premises.
Licence holders may provide other supporting evidence such as, photographs, microchip and veterinary records to show that they housed and cared for the animal and its mother for the first 8 weeks of its life.
There must not be more litters than the number of breeding bitches referenced in the licence for that premises at any one time.
1.2 Any advertisement for the sale of a dog must:
(a) include the number of the licence holder’s licence
(b) specify the local authority that issued the licence
(c) include a recognisable photograph of the dog being advertised
(d) display the age of the dog being advertised
1.3 The licence holder and all staff must make sure that any equipment and accessories being sold with a dog are suitable for it.
1.4 The licence holder and all staff must make sure that the purchaser is informed of the age, sex and veterinary record of the dog being sold.
1.5 No puppy aged under 8 weeks may be sold or permanently separated from its biological mother.
Dogs must remain with their mother for the first 8 weeks of life unless the mother dies or there is a health risk to the puppy or its littermates or the mother from remaining with her. Where necessary, a vet may certify that it is in the best interests of the animal to be removed earlier.
1.6 A puppy may only be shown to a prospective purchaser if it is together with its biological mother.
Puppies must be seen interacting with the mother and any siblings.
1.7 Sub-paragraphs (1.5) and (1.6) do not apply if separation of the puppy from its biological mother is necessary for the health or welfare of the puppy, other puppies from the same litter or its biological mother.
In the event of the mother’s death before the puppy is sold, or if her health or that of the puppy would be compromised by interacting with each other, this must be documented in the records and explained to the buyer.
Buyers must be able to access the environment in which the mother and her puppies are kept.
Required higher standards for advertisements and sales
The breeder will ensure all breeding stock or puppies are recorded in the UK with a registration organisation which must make available record of parent or lineage including coefficient of inbreeding and record of health screening test results
Optional higher standards for advertisements and sales
The breeder must give all details of the sire and bitch to the buyer including:
- date of birth
- microchip number
- registration body (if applicable)
- details of any inherited diseases that the breed is prone to
- any screening tests
2.0 Suitable environment
2.1 Each dog must have access to a sleeping area which is free from draughts, and an exercise area.
Dogs kept in domestic premises must have free access to more than one room.
Dogs must have access to an outside exercise area.
Dogs kept in a kennel environment will have an adjoining run or secure outside space.
2.2 Each dog must have sufficient space to:
(a) stand on its hind legs
(b) lie down fully stretched out
(c) wag its tail
(e) turn around without touching another dog or the walls of the sleeping area
Minimum kennel sizes must be increased depending on the size and number of dogs. The minimum area is per non-whelping adult dog with each additional dog requiring additional space per animal.
Minimum kennel sizes
|Dog weight (kg)||Minimum kennel area (m²)||Additional area per additional dog (m²)|
|Less than 5||4.0||0.5|
|5 to 10||4.0||1.0|
|10.1 to 15||4.0||1.5|
|15.1 to 20||4.0||2.0|
|20.1 to 30||8.0||4.0|
|Over 30||These sizes must be scaled up accordingly and must be proportionate||These sizes must be scaled up accordingly and must be proportionate|
Bitches with litters must be provided with double this space allowance.
Puppies must be housed in litter groups, but must be able to move away from litter mates if they wish to.
2.3 The exercise area must not be used as a sleeping area.
2.4 Part or all of the exercise area must be outdoors.
Dogs must have constant access to shade and shelter, so they can avoid extremes of weather.
2.5 There must be a separate whelping area for each breeding bitch to whelp in. It must contain a suitable bed for whelping.
In a kennel environment, the whelping bed must be raised off the floor and with sides high enough to prevent newborn puppies from falling out. The bed must contain sufficient bedding, so the bitch has a soft surface that absorbs any liquids from whelping. The bed must be constructed of easily cleanable and waterproof material. It must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between litters.
Bitches must be moved to their whelping housing 60 days after mating or sooner if signs of imminent whelping are shown.
There must be access to the whelping area without disturbing other dogs.
Where a bitch is whelped in a domestic environment, it is acceptable for a temporary disposable covering to be used.
2.6 Each whelping area must be maintained at an appropriate temperature (between and including 26°C and 28°C) and include an area that allows the breeding bitch to move away from heat spots.
The temperature must be carefully monitored.
2.7 Each dog must be provided with constant access to a sleeping area.
2.8 A separate bed must be provided for each adult dog.
Each dog must have a clean dry bed and bedding material.
Any bedding material used must be:
- padded so as not to cause injury
Bedding material must be cleaned or disposed of in accordance with the documented cleaning and disinfection procedure.
The bed must be:
- easy to clean and disinfect
- away from draughts
- free from hazards
Bedding material must be non‐irritant and dry, and used in sufficient amounts to provide the necessary comfort and warmth. Examples of suitable bedding material include blankets or quilted dog bedding.
A dog must not be left without bedding. Soft bedding materials must be provided and adapted if necessary for old, young or infirm dogs to help regulate their body temperature.
2.9 No puppy aged under 8 weeks may be transported without its biological mother except:
(a) if a vet agrees for health or welfare reasons that it may be so transported
(b) in an emergency
2.10 No breeding bitch may be transported later than 54 days after the date of successful mating except to a vet.
Breeders must make reasonable effort for the vet to visit the premises rather than transport the bitch.
2.11 No breeding bitch may be transported earlier than 48 hours after whelping, except to a vet where it is not otherwise suitable for the vet to attend to the bitch.
Breeders must make reasonable effort for the vet to visit the premises rather than transport the bitch.
2.12 Each dog’s sleeping area must be clean, comfortable, warm and free from draughts.
2.13 In this paragraph, ‘exercise area’ means a secure area where dogs may exercise and play.
3.0 Suitable diet
3.1 Staff must:
(a) ensure that each puppy starts weaning as soon as it is capable of ingesting feed on its own
(b) provide each breeding bitch with feed appropriate to its needs
(c) provide each puppy with feed appropriate for its stage of development
(d) ensure that each puppy ingests the correct share of the feed provided
4.0 Monitoring behaviour and training
4.1 The licence holder must implement and be able to demonstrate the use of a documented socialisation and habituation programme for the puppies.
The facility must have in place an adequate programme to socialise puppies and prepare them for life in the environment they will live in. Procedures must be available so that all staff know how to appropriately socialise puppies.
If bitches are anxious or aggressive when their puppies are approached, this programme must be gradual.
Puppies must be handled regularly from shortly after birth for short periods (for example, gently picking up and examining) to make sure they:
- get used to human contact
- can be examined for signs of disease
- are feeding properly
Toilet training of puppies must be started before sale.
Harsh handling or potentially painful or frightening equipment must not be used.
4.2 Each dog must be provided with toys or feeding enrichment (or both) unless advice from a vet suggests otherwise.
Food provision can be used to enhance enrichment (for example, through the use of devices that increase the time and effort taken to access food). These could be puzzle feeders, activity balls or stuffed rubber toys as examples.
Where dogs are kept in pairs or larger groups, more devices must be available than the number of dogs. Their use must be supervised carefully to identify where any undesirable behaviour occurs.
Dogs that show undesirable behaviour when feeding (or when provided with food based enrichment) must be separated from other dogs prior to the next feed.
4.3 Except in the circumstances mentioned in sub-paragraph (4.4), all adult dogs must be exercised at least twice daily away from their sleeping area.
There needs to be various options for exercise (such as, a secure exercise space or on-lead walk).
Pregnant and lactating bitches will require frequent opportunities to toilet with short gentle exercise. Consideration must be given to bitches who have given birth in the last 48 hours, so they can have access to short toilet breaks.
4.4 Where a vet has advised against exercising a dog, the dog must be provided with alternative forms of mental stimulation.
Walks must be replaced with 2 extra periods of human interaction during the day using grooming or toys or play.
Toys will ideally be on a rotation so that:
- their preferences for different toys can be established
- stress is minimised
4.5 Any equipment that a dog is likely to be in contact with and any toy provided must not pose a risk of pain, suffering, disease or distress to the dog and must be correctly used.
All toys must be inspected and cleaned in between each usage. Damaged toys must be disposed of.
Any equipment used to walk a dog must protect its welfare and must be correctly fitted and used.
5.0 Housing with or apart from other dogs
5.1 Each adult dog must be provided with opportunities for social contact with other dogs where such contact benefits the dogs’ welfare.
Dogs must not be kept separate from other dogs where possible. Mothers and puppies must be kept together in a kennel area of sufficient size for their sole occupancy, with a divider that allows the mother space away from the puppies.
Facilities must be available to securely separate male dogs from bitches in season to avoid frustration.
5.2 Each adult dog must be given suitable and adequate opportunities to become habituated to handling by people.
5.3 Procedures must be in place for dealing with dogs that show abnormal behaviour.
These procedures will include people competent in understanding and handling difficult dogs and the use of appropriate equipment. Professional advice must be sought as necessary and any advice applied.
5.4 There must be an area within each sleeping area where dogs can avoid seeing people and other dogs outside the sleeping area if they choose to.
The design and layout of kennels must allow dogs to control how often they can see their surroundings and dogs in other kennels (and be seen). It must also minimise the number of dogs that staff disturb when removing any individual dog and make sure staff remain safe when passing other dogs.
There must be a place where a dog can hide to avoid seeing other dogs (and being seen by other dogs).
Dogs can hide in:
- beds with high sides or screens
6.0 Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
6.1 All dogs for sale must be in good health.
6.2 Any dog with a condition that is likely to affect materially its quality of life must not be moved, transferred or offered for sale but may be moved to an isolation facility or veterinary care facility if required until it has recovered.
6.3 The licence holder must ensure that no bitch:
(a) is mated if aged less than 12 months
(b) gives birth to more than one litter of puppies in a 12-month period
(c) gives birth to more than 6 litters of puppies in total
(d) is mated if she has had 2 litters delivered by caesarean section
Mating must not begin until the appropriate time after the previous mating.
Breeders must not permit mating of any bitch beyond her sixth litter.
6.4 The licence holder must make sure that each puppy is microchipped and registered to the licence holder before it is sold.
The animal must be microchipped in accordance with the current legislation. The breeder must be registered as the first keeper.
6.5 No dog may be kept for breeding if it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype, phenotype or state of health, that breeding from it could have a detrimental effect on its health or welfare or the health or welfare of its offspring.
Licence holders must take all reasonable steps to check that the dogs:
- have good physical health
- have good genetic health
- have a good temperament
- can see
- breathe normally
- are physically fit
- can exercise freely
Licence holders must be aware of any health risks that may be specific to that type or breed. Where appropriate, veterinary advice on the suitability of an animal for breeding must be sought.
Dogs that have required surgery to rectify an exaggerated conformation that has caused adverse welfare, or requires lifelong medication, must not be bred from.
Bitches that have had 2 litters delivered by caesarean section must not be bred from.
The prospective purchaser must be provided with written guidance on any relevant conformation issues, including how to manage them in the relevant literature handed over with each sale.
Temperament can be an inherited trait and must be taken into consideration when selecting breeding stock. Licence holders must not breed from stock which shows fear or aggression.
6.6 The health, safety and welfare of each dog must be checked at the start and end of every day and at least every 4 hours during the daytime.
All dogs must be observed regularly throughout the day. The licence holder or responsible person must visit the dogs at regular intervals of no more than 4 hours apart during the day (for example, starting at 8am until 6pm), or as necessary for the individual health, safety and welfare of each dog.
6.7 Breeding bitches must be adequately supervised during whelping and the licence holder must keep a record of:
(a) the date and time of birth of each puppy
(b) each puppy’s sex, colour and weight
(c) placentae passed
(d) the number of puppies in the litter
(e) any other significant events
Puppies must be checked for birth defects and medical conditions. The buyer must be aware of any defects and conditions.
6.8 The licence holder must keep a record of each puppy sale including:
(a) the microchip number of the puppy
(b) the date of the sale
(c) the age of the puppy on that date
6.9 The licence holder must keep a record of the following in relation to each breeding dog:
(a) its name
(b) its sex
(c) its microchip and database details
(d) its date of birth
(e) the postal address where it normally resides
(f) its breed or type
(g) its description
(h) date or dates of any matings, whether or not successful
(i) details of its biological mother and biological father
(j) details of any veterinary treatment it has received
(k) the date and cause of its death (where applicable)
6.10 In addition to the matters mentioned in sub-paragraph (6.7), the licence holder must keep a record of the following in relation to each breeding bitch:
(a) the number of matings
(b) its age at the time of each mating
(c) the number of its litters
(d) the date or dates on which it has given birth
(e) the number of caesarean sections it has had (if any)
6.11 Unless the licence holder keeps the dog as a pet, they must make arrangements for any dog that is no longer required for breeding to be appropriately rehomed.
Breeders have a responsibility to care for their animals and must be able to document how puppies that do not sell, or bitches and dogs that are no longer able to breed, are cared for or rehomed.
If any animal is deemed unsuitable for breeding, and the owner of the animal is unwilling or unable to keep it as a domestic pet, they must be rehomed to an appropriate environment.
The decision to proceed with euthanasia must only be taken for health or behaviour reasons. Only someone suitably medically and behaviourally qualified (such as, their vet) can make that decision.
6.12 A preventative healthcare plan agreed with the vet with whom the licence holder has registered under paragraph 9(8) of Schedule 2 must be implemented.
The facility’s appointed vet must be consulted and a written health plan provided.
This must include:
- internal and external parasite control
- monitoring of weight
- body condition score
6.13 The licence holder must keep a record of any preventive or curative healthcare (or both) given to each dog.
6.14 Where any other activity involving animals is undertaken on the premises, it must be kept entirely separate from the area where the activity of breeding dogs takes place.
Other activities involving animals must be undertaken in a separate building.
Required higher standards for protecting dogs from pain, suffering, injury and disease
All bitches must be at least 18 months old before they are used for mating.
A bitch must not be mated if she is 8 years of age or older.
A bitch must not give birth to more than four litters of puppies in total.
A bitch must not be bred from if they have had one caesarean.
Licence holders must test all breeding stock for hereditary disease using the accepted and scientifically validated health screening schemes relevant to their breed or type. They must carefully evaluate all test results and follow any breeding advice issued under each scheme prior to breeding.
No mating must take place if the test results indicate that it is likely to produce health or welfare problems in the offspring or affect negatively the relevant breeding strategy (or both).
Surgery to correct exaggerated conformation must be reported to the registration organisation.
A vet must check each puppy before sale. Proof of the check must be held and available to the puppy buyer.
A puppy contract must be used, which must include undertakings and warranties around health, vaccinations and socialisation carried out by the seller prior to sale, and also make clear the responsibilities of the buyer relative to the dog.
This must then give both parties confidence that a transaction has taken place in good faith.
Optional higher standards for protecting dogs from pain, suffering, injury and disease
The licence holder must make sure that the microchipping database is amended with the puppy buyer’s details.
No bitch must be intentionally mated when the Coefficient of Inbreeding (CoI) of the puppies would exceed the breed average or 12.5% (if no breed average exists as measured from a minimum 5 generation pedigree).