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Dog Breeders

A Dog Breeding Establishment is defined as any premises (including a private house) used to carry on a business of breeding dogs and selling dogs.

To run a business of breeding and selling dogs an Animal Welfare Licence is required.  The number of animals that may be used for breeding will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions.

This webpage and guidance should be read in conjunction with our Animal Welfare Licensing Overview webpage

You must have an Animal Welfare Licence to breed and sell dogs if you do either or both of the following:

·       you run a business that breeds and advertises dogs for sale.

·       you breed 3 or more litters during a 12-month period.

The circumstances which will be taken into consideration in determining whether

or not you run a business include:

·       whether you are carrying on the activity with a view to making a profit, or

·       earn any commission or fee from the activity.

Further detailed information regarding the business test can be found in the

Guidance Notes for Conditions for Breeding Dogs issued by the Department for

Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).


Lucy's Law

Lucy's Law is a Regulation which limits the sale of puppies and kittens as pets in England. The law came into effect in April 2020 - licensed commercial traders are no longer allowed to sell kittens or puppies as pets if they are less than six months old and they had not been bred by the seller.

Further information, regarding Lucy's Law, can be found at this link.

Eligibility Criteria

Please refer to our Animal Welfare Overview webpage for information.

Application Process

Applicants must complete a licence application form.  The application form must be accompanied with the required documentation specified on the form and the licence application fee - currently £120.00.  Details of how to pay the fee can be found on the application form. The licence applicant must satisfy the nationally set licence conditions; guidance on these conditions is set out in the DEFRA guidance notes.

The licence application form for breeding dogs can be found at the bottom of this webpage.  A link to the DEFRA guidance notes and licence conditions can be found our Animal Welfare Overview webpage.

If more than one licensable animal activity is being carried on, applicants must complete an application form for each of the licensable activities.  For example, if they operate a business of providing dog boarding and breeding dogs for sale they would need to complete an application form for animal boarding and an application form for breeding/selling dogs.  Provided that the applications are made at the same time there will be only one application fee payable - currently £120.00. 

Application Evaluation Process

Once the application is received by the Council arrangements will be made for inspections. Applicants that have not previously been licensed to breed dogs at their current establishment must have the premises inspected by both a veterinary surgeon/practitioner and an Officer of the Council.  For those applicants that have previously been granted a license to breed dogs, an inspection will be undertaken by either an Officer of the Council or veterinary surgeon/practitioner, or both.  The veterinary surgeon/practitioner will be appointed by the Council and the cost will be recharged to the license applicant.

The premises, animals, facilities and management will be inspected to ensure they comply with the current dog breeding license conditions.

Applications are then either approved with license conditions or refused.

The following criteria (and other relevant matters) will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times. Factors to be taken into account include the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness, temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions.
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly.
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies.
  • That bitches are not mated if they are less than one-year-old.
  • That bitches do not give birth to more than one litter of puppies in a 12-month period.
  • That bitches do not have more than six litters of puppies in total.
  • That a bitch is not mated is she has had two litters delivered by caesarian section.
  • That no dog/bitch may be used for breeding if it can be reasonably expected that breeding from it would be detrimental to its health/welfare or the health/welfare of its offspring.
  • That appropriate records (as specified in the DEFRA guidance notes) are kept and that these records are available to be inspected at any time by a Council officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

Full details of the conditions that must be satisfied can be found in the DEFRA guidance document.

Tacit Consent

We normally aim to have applications determined within 10 weeks of receipt of a valid and complete application.  However, if we have been unable to determine an application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications and therefore tacit consent does not apply.  This means that applicants must wait for the Council to determine their application before any licensable activities can take place.

Failed Application Redress

Applicants that have their licence application refused may appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.  The appeal must be made in writing or email and within 28 days of the date of notification of refusal to grant a licence.

Licence Holder Redress - Star Rating for the Business

If an applicant is granted a licence but is unhappy with their Star Rating, issued by this Authority, they should, in the first instance, contact the Licensing Team.  If the matter cannot be resolved the licence holder may appeal to the Council; the appeal must be made in writing and within 21 days of the original notification.

Consumer Complaint

If you have any concerns regarding a dog breeding establishment in the East Lindsey District, please contact the Licensing Team using the contact details below:

The Licensing Team, East Lindsey District Council, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP


Dog Breeding Register

This Register is not currently available online but should you wish to see a copy please contact the Licensing Team using the contact details set out below:

The Licensing Team, East Lindsey District Council, Tedder Hall, Manby Park, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 8UP


Regulations Summary


·       Animal Welfare Act 2006  

·       The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 

·       The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019  

Trade Associations