Cocker Spaniel Breed Council

Dog Breeding Regulations 2018

As of October 2018, new dog breeding regulations have been introduced by DEFRA under the The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. These new regulations will affect both breeders of Cocker Spaniels and those looking to buy a Cocker Spaniel puppy in England. There are currently no changes to breeding regulations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (this situation may change)

The main changes to the legislation are as follows:

1 A breeding licence will be required for anyone breeding three or more litters and selling at least one puppy in a 12 month period. This is a reduction from the previous litter test of five or more litters. (NB The fees for a breeding licence are set by individual local authorities and will vary across the country)

2 A licence is not required if documentary evidence can be provided that none of the puppies or adult dogs have been sold (ie if the puppies or adult dogs have been gifted to new owners)

3 Anyone deemed to be "breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs"(even one or two litters in a 12 month period) may still require a licence. This is not new and has been in place since 1999. The Regulations state that the business test includes circumstances where a breeder (a ) makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or (b) earns any commission or fee from the activity. The Government provides guidance on what local authority inspectors should consider when assessing whether a breeder meets the business test. The full guidance notes can be found HERE but factors include regularity of advertisements, high prices etc.

4 A new star rating system is being introduced based on welfare conditions and breeding history which has been designed to reward high performing breeding establishments and to give further help to puppy buying public in identifying good breeders.

The Kennel Club has published detailed information explaining the Regulations for those breeders concerned about whether they need a licence or not :

KC Information: New Dog Breeding Regulations

KC FAQs Dog Breeding Regulations in England