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Changes to Breeding Regulations in England

As of October 2018 new breeding regulations are being introduced in England by Defra and the Kennel Club is providing information to its customers on how some of these changes will affect dog breeders and some of those involved with dogs.

The main legislative changes being made are:

  • A breeding licence will be required for anyone breeding three or more litters and selling at least one puppy in a 12 month period. This is a reduction from the previous litter test of five or more litters.
  • A licence is not required if documentary evidence can be provided that none of the puppies or adult dogs have been sold.
  • Anyone in the business of selling dogs (even one or two litters in a 12 month period) may require a licence. This is not new and has been in place since 1999. The Government provides guidance on what local authority inspectors should consider when assessing whether a breeder meets the business test.
  • A new star rating system is being introduced based on welfare conditions and breeding history which has been designed to reward high performing breeding establishments and to give further help to puppy buying public in identifying good breeders.

Further examples are provided within the Government’s guidance document “The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, Guidance notes for conditions for breeding dogs” which can be found on under the legislation and guidance tab. There is also further information on the Kennel Club website

As well as changes to the breeding regulations, revisions have been made to the licensing regime for boarding kennels, home boarders and day boarding establishments. The same star rating system will be implemented for these businesses. The performing animal regulations have been amended and are now only applicable to those in the business of keeping or training animals for educational or entertainment purposes. The exemption for those keeping or training animals solely for military, police or sporting purposes has been maintained.

For further information and to see a full list of FAQ’s please see the Kennel Club website To see the full Defra report please go to

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson/Editor

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson/Editor