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Dog Breeding Establishment Licence

The Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (NI) Order 2013 came into effect on the 1st April 2013, and introduced the Licensing of Dog Breeding Establishments.

About the Licence

The licensing conditions provide the Council with a means of regulating Dog Breeding Establishments ensuring that they meet the minimum standards relating to accommodation and environment, mating, whelping facilities, behaviour, socialisation and health.

If you current operate or wish to operate a dog breeding establishment, there are a number of basic conditions which must be complied with:

Accommodation and Environment

The accommodation in which a dog is kept must be durable and appropriate in construction and size, and have suitable temperature, lighting, ventilation, cleanliness and drainage.
Clean bedding must be provided for each dog, and must be renewed when it is soiled.

You must also ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect both people and dogs in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Whelping Facilities

A designated area must be provided for all bitches, prior to whelping, and must include a suitable whelping box or bed.

Facilities for heating must be adequate, secure and safe, and capable of providing the range of temperatures suitable for both pups and bitch.

An area should also be provided within the whelping kennel, where a bitch can rest, away from her puppies.


You must ensure that all dogs are supplied daily with a suitable quantity and quality of food for the type and breed of dog. Dogs must also have access to clean drinking water at all times.

Normal Behaviour

All dogs need to have regular access to adequate facilities to enable them to exhibit normal behavioural patterns through play, interaction and relief from boredom. Dogs should also have regular exercise, suitable to their breed and size.


All licensed dog breeders must develop a written socialisation program for puppies, which must be approved by the Councils Enforcement Officer.


Enhancement and Enrichment

All Licenced breeders must have a written enhancement and enrichment program for bitches, stud dogs and other dogs, approved by the Councils Enforcement Officer.


All dogs should be inspected at regular intervals throughout the day and night, and you must take all reasonable steps to protect dogs from pain, suffering, injury or disease, including preventing and controlling the spread of infectious or contagious disease amongst the dogs.

Isolation facilities which are adequate and suitable must be available for any sick dog that is awaiting veterinary treatment, and for recuperation following sickness.

Dogs must not be continually exposed to direct sunlight.

All dogs must receive any necessary veterinary treatment, including vaccinations.


A breeding bitch must not be mated until she is over 12 months old, and must not give birth to more than 3 litters in any period of 3 years, and not be bred in any consecutive heat period. She must not give birth to more than 6 litters of pups in total, and cannot be mated after she is 8 years old, unless veterinary certification is granted.

Change of ownership of a puppy

The licence holder must keep possession of a puppy until it is at least 8 weeks old.
Identification of breeding bitches and other dogs

All breeding bitches and other dogs must be microchipped, to allow for identification, unless a Vet has certified that to effect that implantation of a microchip would have an adverse effect on the health of the dog. Where a breeding bitch or other dog arrives at a breeding establishment and has not been microchipped, the Licence holder must ensure that this is done within 7 days.

Identification of puppies

All puppies must be identified with a microchip before they are 8 weeks of age. The licence holder must be the first registered owner of any puppy born on the premises, before the puppy leaves the premises with a view to changing ownership, or the licence holder transfers ownership of the puppy to a third party. Details should be provided to allow the new owner to update the microchip database.

Record Keeping

Records must be kept in relation to each breeding bitch on the site, setting out her name/number, date of birth, breed, health status, microchip number and mating details to include breed and unique microchip number of the sire and details of each puppy born, including date of birth, sex, microchip number of each puppy, and date when ownership is transferred.

Records should be available for inspection by one of the Council’s Enforcement Officers,


The fees for a Dog Breeding Establishment Licence depend on the number of bitches kept within the Establishment and are as follows:

£150 – 10 or less bitches are kept
£200 – not less than 11 and not more than 25 bitches are kept
£250 – not less than 26 and not more than 50 bitches are kept
£300 – not less than 51 and not more than 100 bitches are kept
£350 – not less than 101 and not more than 200 bitches are kept
For Establishments with over 200 bitches, the fee will be £350 plus an amount of £50 for every additional 100 bitches.

It is an offence for any person to operate a Dog Breeding Establishment without having the appropriate Dog Breeding Establishment Licence or to contravene any condition of the Licence.  Any person found guilty of such an offence shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 5 (£5000) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.

Should you wish to apply for a Dog Breeding Establishment Licence please contact us. All applications will be subject to inspection of the Establishment.  

Useful Contacts

Dog Control

Enforcement Officer

Mossley Mill,
Carnmoney Road North,
BT36 5QA

Tel: 028 90340160

Email Dog Control

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