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Dog control and animal welfare

Dog breeding establishments

  • 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 want to operate a dog breeding establishment within the Belfast City Council area you must apply to us for a licence. But you cannot apply until our dog warden service has inspected the premises.

    If you need advice or guidance on dog breeding, email or call 028 9027 0431.

  • 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:

    • 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. 

  • Report an unlicensed breeder or breeding establishment

    If you think you have discovered an unlicensed breeding establishment or breeder, report your concerns to our dog wardens who can investigate. You can email or call 028 9027 0431.

    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

For more information and advice, get in touch.

028 9027 0431

Dog control, Ground Floor, Cecil Ward Building, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BP

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