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Dog Breeder Licencing Regulations

Breeding three or more litters of puppies in one year now falls under new animal welfare rules. In fact, the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 came into full force on the 1st of October in England.

PUPPY BREEDER REGULATIONS: A toughening up of the dog licencing rules should improve puppy welfare.

The main aim of the new dog breeding laws is to crack down on so-called ‘back-street’ dog breeders.

Defra is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. They expect the new licensing restrictions will apply most to smaller breeding operations.

The intention is to make it easier to tackle dog breeders and sellers who are jeopardizing the health or welfare of newborn pups.

Licences for Small Breeding Operations

The new licencing regulations target any dog breeder who produces three (3) or more litters of puppies in a single year. In these cases, they need to obtain a dog breeder licence to do so.

Reports show that over the last two years, Defra and animal charities removed over 130,000 adverts for pets from six major sites. This was due to concerns about the welfare of those particular animals involved.

Animal Welfare Minister Comments

The United Kingdom Animal Welfare Minister commented on the matter. Despite being a nation of dog lovers, it is crucial that puppies get cared for properly, he said.

They need to socialize in the first three months if they are to enjoy healthy and happy lives. Nonetheless, there is a lack of transparency surrounding Internet sales. That makes it harder to track down breeders when a dog is mistreated.

The Minister went on to announce: “We have reformed the dog licensing regime for breeders and sellers. Smaller puppy breeding establishments must abide by the same regulations and licensing rules as bigger breeders.”

“We can now deal with the worst offenders quicker. We are also reviewing other animal-related licensed activities, such as pet sales. We are addressing the problems associated with a growing trend for Internet sales of dogs that can contribute to impulse buying.”

New regulations in force from the 1st of October 2018 should strengthen animal welfare, especially puppy sales, in England by:

  • Ensuring breeders show puppies alongside its mother before making the sale.
  • Tightening the regulations so the completion of puppy sales takes place in the presence of the new owner (as per Lucy’s Law). This will help to prevent online sales occurring where prospective buyers have not even seen the animal beforehand.
  • Banning licensed sellers from dealing in puppies and kittens that are less than the age of eight weeks.
  • Regulating adverts, including those taking place on the Internet. The aim is to ensure that licensed sellers of all pets place an advert that includes:
    • The seller’s licence number.
    • The pet’s country of origin and country of residence.
  • Introducing a new ‘star rating’ (1 to 5) for dog breeders, for pet shops, and others. It will help people rate the businesses on their animal welfare standards.

Kennel Club Survey

New Licencing Regulations for Dog Breeders and Sellers in the United KingdomA survey carried out by the Kennel Club revealed some alarming results. They found more than half of all dog owners around the United Kingdom did not actually know where their pet pooch was bred.

Statistics also suggest that close to 20% of all canines bought over the Internet could have suffered a disease called parvovirus. This particular disease is often deadly for small puppies.

Closing this loophole is likely to better regulate those dog breeders who do not consider themselves as running a business.

The chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home qualified the intention. They stated that reducing the total number of litters a breeder can produce in one year (without a licence) ensures more breeders will get brought under the scope of industry regulation.

The new licencing rules for puppy breeders should protect the welfare of the most vulnerable dogs during their lives as puppies.


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Dog Breeding Rules and Regulations in the United Kingdom