Anyone who is in the business of breeding and selling dogs requires a licence from the local authority under The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 as amended by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999. The local authority has discretion whether to grant a licence and must ensure that the animals will be suitably accommodated, fed, exercised and protected from disease and fire. It is for local authorities to enforce the requirements of the Act.
In the interests of animal welfare, the 1999 Act provides that bitches are not mated until they are at least one year old and that they give birth to no more than six litters in a lifetime and no more than one litter per year. Furthermore, the Animal Welfare Act which became law on 6 April, places an additional responsibility on all those who own or keep animals to ensure that their welfare needs are met.