Dog Breeding

Dog breeding is regulated under three pieces of legislation: the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991 and the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999.

The 1999 Act replaced the threshold at which a breeding establishment needed to be licensed from a place where more than two or more litters of puppies were born in a 12 month period to a place that was in the business of breeding and selling dogs. The 1999 Act additionally required anyone producing five or more litters from their dogs in a 12 month period to obtain a licence regardless of whether they were in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

In summary, anyone "in the business" of breeding and selling dogs (trading) needs to be licensed. Anyone producing five or more litters in 12 month period also should be licensed regardless of whether they are in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

Two examples of consideration of whether someone is trading are:

  • profit-seeking motive - an intention to make a profit supports trading; and
  • the number of transactions involved - systematic and repeated transactions support trade. 

This includes bitches kept:

  • by any person at the premises;
  • by any relative of the person at the premises;
  • elsewhere by the person;
  • anywhere by the person under a breeding arrangement/contact with another person.

Applicant requirements and further information

Details concerning applicant requirements, conditions, and offences can be found in this guide. (pdf, 24 kb)

How to apply

Any application made to us for a licence must be made by the individual(s) or body corporate who/which proposes to own and operate the Dog Breeding Establishment. The application must:

(a) Specify the breed of dogs to be kept;

(b) Specify the premises where the dogs will be kept;

(c) Specify whether or not the premises are wholly indoors or outdoors;

(d) Be made by a person and not disqualified from holding a licence under the act; and

(e) Be accompanied by a fee stipulated by us at a level sufficient to meet the direct and indirect costs involved.

Applications not complying with these requirements may not be granted.

Requests for application forms can be made by email: or by phone: (0191) 2116121

Dog Breeding Application Form (pdf, 300 kb)

The licence will be issued subject to compliance with the licence conditions and payment of the licence fee.

There is a fee payable upon application and subject to annual renewal. However, should we require the expertise of an animal specialist this may incur further costs at your expense before a Licence is issued.

Current Licence Fees

Planning requirements

Your application for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required for the proposed licensed activity. You should contact the Planning Authority via or telephone 0191 2115654 to discuss whether permission will be needed. Your application for a licence will not be processed until the planning issue has been decided.

Right of appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.


If you want to make a complaint about any dog breeding establishment, please contact us.

If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please telephone the Trading Standards service. The Trading Standards service will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have.

The Council also has a formal complaints procedure.

Animal Welfare Report 2016

To see a copy of the full report of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee as published in November 2016 go to Report (pdf 1.52 mb). The recommendations in this report include:

  • that the Government pass Regulations to protect the genetic viability and welfare of offspring as well as adult dogs,
  • that anyone breeding two litters or more per year should be licensed as a breeder,
  • that the legislation governing the breeding of dogs should be updated with a licensing regime based on modern welfare standards,
  • that a national inspectorate should be established to liaise and support local authorities in enforcing the licensing regime, undertaking inspections and dealing with complaints,
  • that the third party sale of dogs should be banned. Dogs should only be available from licensed, regulated breeders or approved re-homing organisations,
  • that the Pet Advertising Advisory Group's minimum standards should be made mandatory for all websites where pets are advertised and sold, 
  • that the Government make it compulsory that all internet advertisements should include the registration or licence number of the seller,
  • that the Government place a statutory duty on local authorities to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The Government must ensure that appropriate resources are made available to local authorities to support them in this extension of their statutory duties.     

Government Review

To see a publication highlighting the current review being undertaken by Government into animal licensing go to Report (pdf 223 kb)

Useful links

Visit the Department for Food and Rural Affairs website.

Copies of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991 and the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 can be viewed at the Trading Standards Service, Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH, where you may also obtain an application form and further help or advice.

Trade associations

Copies of the legislation mentioned on this page can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office or can be accessed at OPSI.

Please note: This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help businesses to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the legislation for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.

Contact details

For further information or clarification please contact the Trading Standards Service, Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.
Phone: 0191 2116121 

Page last updated: 
25 May 2018
Was this page useful?