Animal licences

Dog breeding establishments

If you are breeding dogs to sell, you may need a licence.

You will be presumed to be carrying on a business where, during any 12 month period, 5 or more litters are born to your bitch or bitches, or if the licensing team believes that you are running a business.

You must make sure that:

  • adequate accommodation is provided for the animals and suitable provisions are made for their welfare
  • bitches are not mated if they are less than one year old
  • bitches do not give birth to more than 6 litters of puppies each
  • bitches do not give birth to puppies before the end of the 12 months beginning the day on which they last gave birth
  • accurate records are kept

Fines of up to £2,500 will be issued for failing to have a licence, or for failing to comply with the conditions of your licence.

We won’t grant a licence if you have been convicted of an offence under the following Acts:


New licence: £189.30

Renewal: £189.30

Licences usually run from 1 January (or when issued) until 31 December and are renewable annually.

How to apply

You can apply online (link opens in new window).

Payments may be made by telephone (0300 300 8136) or cheque made payable to Central Bedfordshire Council, or you may pay online (link opens in new window).

Conditions of the licence

A licence will only be granted if the following conditions can be met:

  • animals will be kept in accommodation of suitable construction, size, number of occupants, temperature, lighting, ventilation, and cleanliness
  • animals will be supplied with adequate food, drink, and bedding material
  • animals will be adequately exercised and visited regularly
  • precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of diseases
  • appropriate steps will be taken in case of fire or other emergency

The following offences apply to the breeding of dogs:

  • anybody found guilty of keeping a dog breeding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine of up to £2,500
  • anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licence may be subject to a fine of up to £2,500
  • anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector or authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers may be fined up to £1,000

If found guilty, your licence may be cancelled and you may be disqualified from keeping a dog breeding establishment.

Refusal of licences

Licences may be refused, cancelled or revoked for several reasons, including:

  • if the applicant is under 18
  • if the applicant has been disqualified from holding an animal licence or keeping an animal
  • if conditions of the licence are not met

Tacit consent

Your licence will be issued within 20 working days of payment.

Tacit consent does not apply for this licence. You must not assume that your licence is granted if you have not heard from us.

Appeals and complaints

If you have been refused a licence or have a complaint about the issue of the licence, you can write to:

The Service Manager
Public Protection
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
SG17 5TQ


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