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Dog breeding establishments

As part of the Welfare of Animals (Dog breeding establishments and miscellaneous amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 anyone who owns three or more breeding bitches or intends to breed more than three litters of puppies a year for sale must apply to us for a dog breeding establishment licence. 

A breeding establishment is defined as one or more premises, within the same area, operated by the same person and from which that person keeps three or more breeding bitches, and 

  • breeds three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period
  • advertises three or more litters of puppies for sale in any 12 month period
  • supplies three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period, or
  • advertises a business of breeding or selling of puppies.

We regulate dog breeding establishments within Belfast to make sure that they meet minimum standards of accommodation, environment, mating, whelping, behaviour, socialising and health.  We have a statutory duty to make sure that the Welfare of Animal (Dog Breeding Establishments and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2013 is enforced.  

If you are planning to operate a dog breeding establishment within the Belfast City Council area you must apply to us for a licence.   

If you need advice or guidance on dog breeding, please call 028 9027 0431 or email dogwardens@belfastcity.gov.uk 

Requirements for setting up a dog breeding establishment

If you are planning to breed dogs in the Belfast City Council boundary you must have a valid dog breeding establishment licence from us. 

You cannot apply for a dog breeding licence if you have been disqualified under any of the following legislations:

  • The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 
  • The Welfare of Animals Act 2011 
  • The Dogs (NI) Order 1983, (amended)
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • The Protection of Animals Act 1954
  • The Pet Animals Act 1951

You may also need to get permission from your landlord or mortgage provider, and should check with Building Control and Belfast Planning Service to make sure you have all the relevant documents and approvals. It is your responsibility to make sure all these checks have been made. 

Concerns regarding a breeding establishment or unlicensed breeders 

If you think you have discovered an unlicensed breeding establishment or breeder please report your concerns to our dog wardens who can investigate. You can contact them on 028 9027 0431 or email dogwardens@belfastcity.gov.uk

You will be required to give your name and contact details so that we can ensure the complaint is genuine. Your details will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed unless the investigation results in a prosecution. 


Contact us
Dog control
028 9027 0230
Dog Wardens
Ground Floor
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BP