Written evidence submitted by The Kennel Club (PS0004)


Local Authority Survey

The Kennel Club commissioned Dods to survey local authorities in order to get a breakdown of how many dog breeding licences were being issued across the country, the type of breeder applying for a licence (i.e. high volume or low volume breeders), and whether this was different prior to October 2018 when the Animal Establishments (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Act was introduced.

Findings – key statistics

Kennel Club data – key statistics






Kennel Club breeder data from 1,500 dog breeders who applied for a dog breeding licence


How Defra and the Kennel Club can help local authorities

  1. Defra - remove the business test

The business test is resulting in one and two litter breeders requiring a licence. To target the higher volume breeders and to remove the ambiguity as to whether a one or two litter breeder is a ‘business’, we propose the business test is removed and that a litter licence threshold of 3 litter per year remains in place (as is the case in Scotland and Wales).

Removal of the business test would mean local authorities could focus their limited resources purely on volume breeders, most of whom are still operating under the radar.

Removing the business test would take 675 breeders out of the dog breeding regime.

  1. Kennel Club - full integration of the UKAS Accredited Assured Breeder Scheme into the Regulations

Currently Assured Breeders are recognised within the Regulations to the extent that they should be recognised as a low risk, high welfare breeder and therefore achieve a higher star rating. However despite being inspected by a trained Kennel Club Assessor, they must also be inspected by a local authority inspector. Full integration of the ABS would mean that:

1)      Routine inspections of establishments belonging to members of the Assured Breeder Scheme would be conducted by the scheme’s trained and accredited assessor and gather evidence to demonstrate compliance to the local authority licensing conditions, alongside any additional requirements specific to the ABS

2)      Should the AB require a licence (e.g. if they breed 3 or more litters per year), they would submit their completed inspection report to the relevant local authority with a ‘general administration fee’ (as opposed to a full licensing fee)

3)      Assuming compliance to licensing conditions had been met, the local authority would grant a licence, in accordance with the risk category the establishment fell into e.g. an AB meeting the scheme’s higher standards would be classified as low risk.

This would avoid a duplicated inspection from a local authority and the associated cost of that inspection. In the event that a complaint was made to a local authority about an ABS member, the local authority could alert the Kennel Club in order that an ABS assessor could inspect, though the local authority would remain the licensing authority and retain enforcement powers.

376 Assured Breeders bred 3 or more litters within the 2018-2019 period. If the Assured Breeder Scheme were to enjoy greater levels of integration with the current licencing regime, these 376 breeders would no longer be a burden on the resources of local authorities as the Kennel Club could inspect these breeders on local authorities’ behalf.

If the business test were removed, and the ABS was integrated in to the licensing regime this would take at least 1000 breeders out of the current licensing regime, equating to around 20 per cent of local authorities workload (they would be required to carry out 4000 inspections instead of 5000, and would have more capacity to target higher volume breeders)


Impact of Covid-19 on supply and demand:

Lockdown statistics

FAP searches 2019-2020 compared


Impact of Lucy’s Law and ‘Petfished’ campaign

Figures below are from a survey carried out by the Kennel Club of over 2,500 new dog owners