The Animal Welfare Act (2006) in England is undergoing some 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. Amendments to the Animal Welfare Act will come into force on 1st October 2018, and will bring about large 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 or anyone who breeds and sells dogs for commercial gain (making over £1000) is classed as a business, and needs a license.  



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 will now deem you to be “selling dogs as a business,” which means that the rules will apply to you.  


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 (pedigree on mongral).
  • The sex of the dog.
  • The dog’s age.
  • A record of who supplied or sold you the dog.
  • 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.
  • Information on the dog’s veterinary records and any veterinary treatment they have undergone.

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

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


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.

The 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,

If you sell on sites such as Gumtree, Shpock. Pets4Homes, Preloved, Facebook, your local authority will be watching you. It remains your responsibility under the law to ensure you are registered with your local authority.