Dog breeding licence
Important information to read before applying

Please read Animal activity licences for important information about the law, the application and inspection processes, and paying the fees, before you make an application for a licence.

You must have a dog breeding licence if you breed and sell dogs in the course of a business. Please note, this is NOT restricted to registered businesses but also applies to individuals who are breeding dogs and advertising them for sale.


To apply for the correct licence you must determine whether you are a domestic or commercial breeder:

  • Domestic breeder tends to be breeding dogs in a domestic setting
  • Commercial breeder tends to be breeding dogs in a commercial setting, for example kennels

You must be over 18 to apply for a licence.


This licensable animal activity comes under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (as amended).

Persons who may not apply for a licence are as listed in Schedule 8 of above regulations.

Application and guidance notes

You will need to complete the following application form and return it with the application fee and appropriate veterinary fee (where necessary) to Herefordshire Council, Licensing Section, Plough Lane Hereford, HR4 0LE or email

GOV.UK licence conditions and guidance from 1 February 2022

Please note, each Animal Activity Licence consists of a set of General Conditions and a set of Specific Conditions which relate to individual Animal Activities. In order to be granted a licence you MUST meet all of the minimum standard conditions in both the General Conditions and the Specific Conditions. You MUST also have all of the necessary written documentation in place at the time of inspection. We are unable to accept retrospective documentation or structural works relating to the site after the inspection has taken place.

Please read the licence conditions and guidance notes and ensure that you meet all of the minimum standard conditions in both the General Conditions and the Specific Conditions, and that you have all of the necessary written documentation in place at the time of inspection.

If, on inspection, you do not meet all of the minimum standard conditions in both the General Conditions and the Specific Conditions, and if you do not have all of the necessary written documentation in place at the time of inspection, you will NOT be granted a licence and you will have to submit a new application and fee.

Animal activities licensing policy

If you require further guidance we offer a chargeable pre-application advice and assistance service.

Processing and timescales

When we receive your completed application and fee(s) you will be contacted by a member of the licensing team to make arrangements for an inspection. This would normally be within 28 days.

Where necessary, a vet will accompany our officers during their inspection.

Inspections are carried out in accordance with the ratings system which will determine the length of your licence and star rating. It considers whether or not the business is considered to be high or low risk and the levels of compliance found during the inspection of the premises. If a business implements additional higher voluntary standards you can achieve a star rating of 4 or 5.

Inspections will take approximately 4 hours but can be a longer or shorter duration depending on the complexity of the activity and what the officer observes during the inspection.

You will normally be informed of the outcome of the inspection in writing within 14 days.

Validity and renewals

A licensable animal activities licence can be granted at any time during the year, and can last for either 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the risk-rating determined from the inspection.

Licence renewal applications can be submitted up to 3 months before the current licence expiry, but must be submitted no later than 4 weeks before the licence expiry. Submitting a renewal application less than 4 weeks before the licence expiry may result in the existing licence expiring before an inspection can be carried out. This will result in the premises being unlicensed and you will need to submit a new licence application.

Changes to a licence

You should contact the licensing section to discuss any proposed changes to the licensable activity, including any changes to:

  • The licence holder
  • The person named in the application as the person who will have direct control or management of the activity or establishment
  • The layout of the premises
  • The number of animals used under the terms of the licence

The variation fee will depend on the variation request and whether or not an inspection will be required. Please see the Animal licence activity fees in the ‘Fees’ section.

If you are applying to add or replace the breeding dogs that you are licenced for, you will also be required to have each new dog veterinary health checked at your own expense and your vet will need to complete the Veterinary inspection report for breeding dogs.

The completed report must then be submitted to Herefordshire Council, Licensing Section, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE or email

Death of a licence holder

In the event of the death of a licence holder, the licence may pass to their personal representative, provided that they notify us in writing within 28 days of the death that they are now the operators of the licensable activity. If the personal representatives do not notify us within 28 days of the death, the licence shall cease to have effect after 28 days.

If we are notified in writing within 28 days of the death, the licence will then remain in place for 3 months from the death of the formal licence holder, or for the remaining licence period if that time period is shorter. The new licence holder should then apply for a new licence 1 month before the expiry of this new period.

The 3 month period may be extended at our discretion.

Contact us in the first instance.
Contact details

Please contact us by email or telephone. All calls are dealt with by our contact centre staff and are allocated to an officer who will take action on the service request within 1 to 10 working days. Our telephone operating hours are 9am - 4.15pm.