If you want to be a professional dog breeder, the first step is acquiring the appropriate license. Different countries have different regulations which can be confusing if you’re new to it all. In this article, we will break down how to get a dog breeding license in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.
Although you don’t need a license to breed the odd litter for fun, if you’re looking to make a commercial business out of it, a license is an essential and ethical step. Breeding license registration helps to keep breeders in check and encourages ethical dog breeding.
What is a Breeding License
Much like a typical business permit, a dog breeding license is something that you need when you’re looking to start up a dog breeding business. This is defined as the regular breeding and selling of dogs for a commercial profit.
Licenses are especially important for breeders because they are in charge of caring for animals and their babies. It’s essential that they should be vetted by an authority to make sure they are appropriate to do so.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of breeders that practice unethically out there. They are able to fly under the radar because they are not vetted by any official organization.
So, make sure you’re up to date on any and all licenses or permits you may need as a dog breeder in your country. Not only will it keep you out of legal trouble, but it will also make sure you meet every necessary welfare standard to keep your dogs and their puppies safe, happy, and healthy.
United Kingdom Breeding License
British breeders need to contact their local council for a UK breeding license. For detailed advice on how to navigate the paperwork and dog breeding in general, the British government suggests contacting the UK Kennel Club. You need a license in the UK if you run a business that breeds and advertises dogs for sale, or if you breed three or more litters in a year and sell any of the puppies. Breeders caught doing either of these without a license could face a fine or up to six months in prison.
Licenses are issued by the British government. Upon receiving an application, the local council will arrange a background check and an inspection of the breeder’s premises. They will inspect whether the conditions of the premises are in line with the Animal Welfare Act, as well as any records kept regarding the business. Applicants will not receive a license if they have committed any animal welfare offenses and possibly other offenses. Licensed breeders must maintain welfare conditions in order to keep their licenses. Not meeting license requirements could result in a fine.
Depending on how well you pass your inspection, the council will decide whether the license is valid for 1, 2, or 3 years until it is up for renewal. You request renewal paperwork from the same local authority and it will be similar to the original forms. Breeders must submit it before the original license expires or they will have to go through the whole application process again. How long a license lasts will determine the cost of the application fee. UK dog licenses allow breeders to operate in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Those looking to acquire a UK breeding license will need:
- License form
- Application fee (£150 – £500)
- Pass a background check
- Pass an inspection of records kept
The inspection of the premises that applicants must pass requires that animals must have:
- Appropriate accommodation and bedding in line with animal welfare laws
- Appropriate food and sufficient exercise
- Safe and comfortable means of transport
- Protection from pain, injury, disease, or suffering of any kind
- Protection in emergency situations such as a fires
USA Breeding License
Those looking to start a commercial dog breeding business in the US must request licensing forms at the Animal Care Office in their state. Whether or not you need a license will depend on the state you live in. So be sure to do your research! Some states require you to obtain a license if you breed more than two litters a year. While in others, it depends on the amount of revenue generated per year by the breeder. Those who are unsure if they need a license should use the USDA’s registration assistant to help them.
Licenses are issued and regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some states also have their own regulating bodies which have their own sets of rules. So make sure to check with your local authorities if this applies to you. Applicants should take a look at the USDA’s pre-license info pack to help them navigate the license form. It also lets you know about all of the upcoming paperwork and the essential information all budding breeders should know. This includes the day-to-day care of dogs in line with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Once you have applied for your license, the USDA will carry out an unannounced inspection of your kennels to make sure that all federal regulations including those AWA standards are being met. Licenses will be valid for one year from the issue date. Breeders looking to renew their license must do so through the Animal Care Office before it expires. If not, applicants will have to go through the entire process again. Much of the paperwork is the same.
Those looking to acquire a US breeding license will need:
- Application form (APHIS Form 7003-A)
- Application fee ($10)
- Taxpayer ID Form
Canada Breeding License
In Canada, you do not need a license to breed dogs. However, breeders with more than three dogs per household, and in some places four, must register for a permit with the Canadian Kennel Club. There are different processes for different permits and budding breeders should enquire with the CKC for which one is appropriate for them. However, you can access the majority of the general paperwork online through the registration forms page of the CKC website.
Breeders and their premises must meet the CKC’s codes of practice in accordance with Canada’s Animal Pedigree Act to acquire a breeding certification. This will be graded based upon the following criteria; space, housing, and environment.
To elaborate, every breed of dog has different spatial requirements. Toy dog breeds must have at least 4 square meters of indoor space each, whilst giant breeds must have up to or over 15 square meters. All dogs should be housed inside in a safe, clean environment, with proper heating and air conditioning, suitable beds, and access to clean water and secure outdoor space.
- Registration forms
- Breeding certification from the CKC
Australia Breeding License
In order to breed and sell puppies or kittens in Australia, you need a license from the Australian government. Applications for licenses are via the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS). Budding breeders must contact the contact officer at the ABLIS and request the application forms. There is an application fee of $424.00 (Australian dollars).
After applying, there will be an inspection to ensure your business complies with animal welfare breeding standards. Once you have your license, you will receive a letter with a unique breeding license number that must be on display in all advertisements for the sale of any puppies or kittens you breed.
The licenses last for two years from the date they are issued and must be renewed before they run out, or breeders will have to go through the entire application process again. Breeders may also need to get in touch with their state’s specific governing body or kennel society for additional localized permits.
- Application form
- Application fee
- Meet breeding standards
Dog Breeding License: FAQ
If you breed dogs occasionally, for example, once a year for fun, then no, you don’t need a dog breeding license. However, if you plan on becoming a professional or commercial dog breeder, then yes, you need a dog breeding license and are legally, as well as morally, obliged to have one.
There are too many irresponsible, illegal, and unethical dog breeders that do not comply with animal welfare standards. You do not want to be one of them!
To apply for a breeding license, you must request the application form from the appropriate authority, fill it out and send it off. You may need to pay a small application fee. You will then receive an inspection of your records and premises to make sure it meets animal welfare standards. Once you obtain a license, you must maintain these standards.
The license will have an expiration date on it, it’s important to renew the license through the same authority before the date runs out, or you may have to go through the entire application process again.
If your pet dog accidentally gets pregnant – of course, you can sell their puppies. You only need a license if dog breeding is something you are planning on doing regularly for commercial purposes.
In some states in the US, owners that breed and sell dogs more than twice a year require a license to do so. In others, it is dependent on revenue earned. Similarly, in the UK, breeders must request a license if they breed and sell more than three litters a year. Or if they breed and advertise any dogs for sale in a business capacity.
How much money you make from breeding dogs depends on two factors; how many litters you breed per year and the amount you sell them for. Certain breeds of dogs with unique coat colors and such are more ‘elite’ and therefore you can charge more for those puppies. However, you have to do your research and know exactly what you’re doing. Different breeds have different needs and you must be able to meet them all.
You also need to be able to breed a responsible amount of dogs, for example, bad breeders often use dogs as money-making machines and force them to have as many pups as possible. This is unethical and cruel to the dogs. Many ethical breeders feel that one dog shouldn’t have more than two or three litters in their lifetime.
You can have more than one dog being bred at a time, of course, if your premises and care permits it, but remember, it is always quality over quantity. A few happy, healthy dogs are better than hundreds of sick and miserable ones.
Whilst some dog lovers insist that dog breeding is bad, breeding dogs in itself is harmless if done ethically. The problem occurs when the business aspect becomes more important than the animals’ welfare to a breeder. We insist that owners only ever buy from reputable, trustworthy, ethical breeders and that no one becomes a breeder who isn’t willing to put the dogs first.
Examples of bad breeding include overbreeding a mother, breeding runts, inbreeding dogs, and mistreatment of any kind.
Breeding dogs is not illegal in the US, or in any of the countries mentioned in this article. However, breeders must make sure they are complying with licensing and animal welfare laws in their country or they could face a fine or even prison time.
For example, in some states, breeding and selling more than two litters of puppies per year requires a license. In Canada, a dog breeder’s premises must be deemed to have appropriate space, housing, and environment, including both a safe indoor and outdoor space for the dogs.
In general, licensed breeders are better than non-licensed breeders. This is not to say that non-licensed breeders are bad. There are plenty of occasional non-licensed breeders that do it because they love it and take great care of the dogs and their pups, however, from a stranger/buyer’s point of view, a license makes a breeder a lot more trustworthy. This is because licensed breeders undergo an inspection from an authority in dog or animal welfare in order to obtain their license.
Wherever you are from in the world, it is essential that you look into and acquire the appropriate breeding licenses if you’re looking to become a professional dog breeder. Not only will it keep you out of legal trouble, but it will also make sure you meet every necessary welfare standard to keep your dogs and their puppies safe!