Animal Welfare Act 2018: What Licensed Dog Breeders Must Do To Legally Advertise Their Litters

*Updated on the 21st June 2018

The Animal Welfare Act (2006) in England is about to undergo some fairly dramatic changes, to tighten up the laws surrounding the breeding and selling of puppies for profit and to close a number of loopholes that have been identified within the current legislation.

These amendments to the Animal Welfare Act will come into force on 1st October 2018, and will bring about wide-reaching changes in terms of licensing and local authority compliance for anyone who sells dogs as a business.

From 1st October 2018 onwards, anyone who breeds and sells three or more litters within any twelve-month period (Changed from 5 litters in some areas) – and anyone who breeds and sells dogs for commercial gain is classed as a business, and needs a license.  

Getting to grips with the upcoming changes for dog breeders and sellers can be heavy going – particularly if your dog breeding and selling activities aren’t classed as a business under the existing remit of the law.

There are several different elements to the Animal Welfare Act for dog breeders that anyone breeding as a business needs to adhere to in order to get and keep the necessary local authority licence – and Pets4Homes is posting a series of articles on the upcoming changes to the Act as it applies to dog breeders and puppy buyers to help you out.

In this article, we will look at the different elements of the Animal Welfare Act changes that apply to how people deemed to be in business breeding and selling dogs can advertise puppies and dogs for sale, and the type of records they must keep on their dogs. Read on to learn more.

Are you selling dogs as a business?

First of all, the changes to the law mean that a lot of dog breeders and people who may breed puppies to sell for commercial gain will now be classed as being in the business of breeding, if they make or intend to make a profit and/or breed and sell three or more litters per year.

This means that if you breed from your dog to make a profit – even if the dog is your pet – your local authority licensing department may deem you to be “selling dogs as a business,” which means that the rules will apply to you.

If you are unsure if you need a license, then contact your local authority licensing department to find out more, get a clear answer on whether or not you are deemed as being in business, and to learn about the licensing criteria and how to get the licence that you need.  To find your local council’s website and contact details, you can use this useful “Find your local council” page.

Record keeping requirements for people selling dogs as a business

If you’re classed as selling dogs as a business, the ways in which you can advertise your dogs and how you must keep records of sales are outlined within the new law.

Any dog you keep or sell must have a record kept of it, showing all of the following details:

  • The dog’s full name.
  • A record of who supplied or sold you the dog (or if you bred them yourself).
  • The sex of the dog.
  • The dog’s age.
  • Information on the dog’s veterinary records and any veterinary treatment they have undergone.
  • The dog’s date of birth – or if you did not breed the dog yourself, the date that you became the keeper of the dog.
  • The date on which the dog was sold by you to a new buyer.
  • If relevant, the date of the dog’s death. Records should be retained for at least six years.

If any dog is currently undergoing veterinary treatment for any issue you must also record the following for them:

  • The fact that they are undergoing veterinary treatment.
  • If relevant, that the dog is not to be sold.

Advertising rules for people selling dogs as a business

When you advertise your dogs or puppies for sale, you also have to fulfil a number of criteria covering information on your licence to sell the pups and your compliance with the local authority licensing regulations.

These criteria dictate that certain information must be included within any advert for a dog or puppy you sell – whether that advert is online or offline. You must include all of the following within your adverts:

  • Your breeder license number.
  • Name of the local authority that issued you with the licence.
  • A clear, recognisable photo of the specific dog you are selling.
  • The age of the dog offered for sale.
  • The dog’s country of origin and country of residence, which will generally (but not always) be the UK.

You should include these details within your advert here on Pets4Homes if they apply to you – and your advert may be removed and/or your business reported to the relevant local authority if you are not in compliance with the licensing regulations.

Pets4Homes provides the ability for you to input these relevant details within the adverts that you place on our site, to make it easier for you to comply with the new law. However, this is not the case for all pet classifieds sites, or other sites that accept adverts or posts for things for sale – like Facebook. Even if you advertise your litters elsewhere and find that the platforms you use don’t provide specific areas to enter the above details or direct you to do so, this remains your responsibility under the law.


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