Dog Breeding Laws

Dog breeding laws are becoming increasingly stringent all over the world in an effort to stamp out the so-called “puppy farms” and curb the population of unwanted dogs.  So like it or not, dog breeding attracts its share of red tape and it’s best to meet it head on right at the beginning.

Licensing Issues

Dog Breeding On Your Propertydog breeding environment

The first thing you must determine before embarking on dog breeding is whether you are allowed to have dogs on your property and if so, how many.  Such considerations will dictate the number of dogs you can keep (if any!).  You must register each dog with your local council (where I live it is mandatory after a pup is 12 weeks of age) and it will be given a tag to wear at all times, and required to also have a collar and medallion furnished with your contact details.  The fee for registration of spayed or castrated dogs is low compared to that for breeding dogs.

If you are contemplating going down the track of being a larger (more commercial) breeder, you will need special permission from your local authority.  Local authorities normally restrict larger scale dog operations to suitably zoned locations such as ascribed kennel areas or rural-zoned properties.

You As a Dog Breeder

Increasingly new dog breeding laws are being enacted into legislation requiring anyone who is breeding dogs for sale to register themselves as breeders with a central database of some kind.  This is rolling out in some states in Australia as I write this and it’s only a matter of time before it comes to a government body near you!  The dog breeding laws you will have to conform with will be unique to your state or legislative area and you will need to become familiar with them.


If your operations amount to no more than the breeding of an allowable number of family pets from a normal household then they may be considered by your nation’s taxation system as a hobby.  In Australia, at least, the proceeds from a hobby are not considered as taxable income.  They are thus tax-free!  You will need to check the taxation implications in your country to see if they are similar.

For larger, more commercial dog breeding that is clearly bigger than a hobby, you will probably be subject to tax on any profits, and will need to keep appropriate records too of all expenses and income – yet another reason to stick to a small “backyard” scale enterprise!

If you have a large, clearly commercial (rather than hobby scale) dog breeding venture in mind, then you must keep full records of all transactions of the business for taxation purposes.  This would include, of course, all income derived from sales of pups or stud fees, as well as receipts for all expenses including veterinary fees and drugs, food, grooming equipment, kennels, fencing, insurance, registration and licensing fees, advertising costs etc.

Choosing a Business / Kennel Name

Your national canine authority (or specialized breed group such as rare breed organizations) exclusively maintains registration of the pedigree and show achievements of all qualified dogs and registered dog breeders in their area of jurisdiction (e.g. a particular state).

If you are breeding registered, purebred dogs then you must be a breeder registered with your presiding kennel/canine authority to be entitled to, in turn, register any pups that issue from your dogs.  And this requirement may well be mandatory for all breeders in your area once the new dog breeding laws roll out locally.  Being a registered breeder also gives you credibility in the eyes of your clients, and instills their confidence and trust in buying from you.  Registration is renewed (and paid) annually, but is a relatively small cost.

As a registered breeder, you will need to choose a ‘kennel name’ or ‘stud prefix’ for your stud.  This name will appear as the first name of every registered puppy that you produce from bitches either owned or leased by you.  Check out the names of other dog studs for inspiration.

Registering Your Pups

In order to qualify for registration with your kennel club, a dog must have parents who are both registered with the appropriate canine/kennel authority(s) in your country/for your breed.  There is usually a time limit on registration such that dogs over a certain age are no longer eligible.  When you apply to register a pup you will also have to register the litter (and pay a fee) and (pay another fee to) transfer the ownership of the pup to its new owner.  You get to submit a few alternative registered names for the pup.  The approved name will appear after your kennel prefix on its Certificate of Registration and Pedigree.

In Australia there are two kinds of dog registration available:  Limited Registration and Main Registration.

Limited registration is a “pet only” registration.  Dogs on the Limited Register are acknowledged officially as purebreds and permitted to compete in agility and obedience, they are not allowed to be entered in dog shows, nor are their progeny eligible for registration.

The Main Register is the “full” registration.  You are entitled to breed, show and register the puppies of your Main Register dog.

Insurance Issues

Your dogs are valuable and you may choose to insure them against accidental death, theft or other loss.  It is also possible to get health insurance for pets.


A sensible precaution against loss of your dogs is to have them microchipped.  Your dog’s microchip number is registered on a national database, and the system provides secure identification of your dog for life.  Microchipping your dogs may also qualify you for cheaper insurance.  Microchipping is a mandatory requirement for all dogs under most new ownership and dog breeding laws taking effect.

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