EU Law to Register All Dog Breeders

May 2015  All dog breeders will need to be registered from 2020 under a new European Union Animal Health Law. The proposal was put forward by the Eurogroup for Animals to tackle the unethical backstreet breeding of dogs. All EU member states will have to apply this law.

Illegal Importation of Dogs (Parliamentary Bill)

On 26 March 2014  Jim Fitzpatrick, MP, requested Parliament to support a Bill to provide for a fixed penalty charge for those caught smuggling dogs into the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.

This is to address the growing welfare problems connected to the illegal importation of dogs/puppies particularly from Eastern Europe.  Puppies are no doubt bred in sub standard conditions, removed from their mothers and trafficked to the UK to supply the demand for puppies in the UK. These will be sold on througb dealers and often via internet websites with little or no regard for the welfare needs of the puppies, nor the suitability of their new owners.

Canine and Feline Sector Group

Established in March 2013 to represent the dog and cat sector and comprising representatives from the industry, welfare and rescue organisations.

Its remit is to be a functioning sector council that advises the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) and Defra Ministers on the key issues affecting dogs and cats. It will help to form strategies, solutions and delivery of formal regulations and informal initiatives.  It will use combined or individual resources to communicate initiatives and key messages to the general public.  It will enable open debate on issues of concern.

In simple terms it aims to co-ordinate the work of the numerous organisations concerned with the breeding, welfare and rescue of cats and dogs and make recommendations to AHWBE on issues of common concern.

Dog Breeding Reform Group (DBRG)


To promote and support initiatives and reforms that will effectively improve dog welfare related to a) genetic and breed health; b) breeding, rearing and selling practices.(Whilst acknowledging the numerous dog welfare issues in the UK, this group will retain a focus on breed and breeding issues (from which many other welfare issues ensue).


  1. A single accepted Puppy Contract 1
  2. A single accepted Breeding Standard 2
  3. A requirement for registration of all dog breeders with their local authorities
  4. Reduction of the perceived default local authority licensing requirement for dog breeders to three litters or more in any 12 month period
  5. Repeal of the Breeding of Dogs Acts 1973, 1991, 1999 and replacement with new regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, that ensure high standards of welfare for dogs; that protect the genetic health of offspring; and that effectively regulate the sale of puppies 3
  6. Enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act as a statutory duty
  7. All advertisements for the sale of dogs/puppies to include a breeder’s registration number provided by the relevant local authority
  8. A ban on the sale of puppies by anyone other than the breeder 4
  9. Measures by the Kennel Club to improve dog health 5
  10. Inclusion of animal welfare as a core part of the national curriculum, in particular with regard to the purchase, lifelong care and welfare of dogs.
  11. Establishment of a Government-funded body to provide independent advice on companion animal welfare 6

Julia Carr (Canine Action UK)
Stephen and Julia Charlton (Cockapoo Club of GB)
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP
Dr Fiona Cooke (Animal Law Expert, Aberdeen University)
Professor Sheila Crispin (Dog Advisory Council) (DAC)
Mrs Lesley Field (DAC)
Carol Fowler (Cavalier Campaign)
David Grimsell (CARIAD)
Marisa Heath (Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare) (APGAW)
Chris Laurence, MBE (DAC)
Dr Dan O’Neill (Royal Veterinary College, VetCompass)
Lisa Richards (Scientific Officer, RSPCA)
Dr Clare Rusbridge (DAC) (Veterinary Neurologist)
Sean Wensley (Junior Vice President, British Veterinary Association) (JVP, BVA)


  1. Widely accepted by organisations that also include the Kennel Club, British Veterinary Association – Animal Welfare Foundation, RSPCA, Dogs Trust, PDSA
  2. Currently there are three ‘Standards’: Dog Advisory Council Standard for Breeding Dogs; Kennel Club Assured Breeders’ Scheme Standard and Guidance; CIEH Model Licence Conditions for Dog Breeding Establishments
  3. As proposed in the Dog Advisory Council’s Advice to Governments ‘Recommendations on regulations and legislation’
  4. Or by re-homing organisations affiliated to the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes
  5. Measures would  include: banning the mating of second-degree relatives (ie, grandson to granddaughter); maintenance of effective population sizes (EPS)to above 100; outcrossing breeding strategies where the burden of genetic diseases cannot easily be remedied within the existing gene pool; limiting the number of times a ‘popular sire’ is used; requiring genetic/clinical health testing/screening/use of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs); eliminating exaggerated physical traits which impede a dog’s ability to enjoy a normal active life
  6. For example, by setting up a Companion Animal Welfare Committee, comprising  independent experts selected according to Nolan principles

Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee Report on Dog Control and Welfare February 2013

The EFRA Committee Report on Dog Control and Welfare was published on 15 February 2013.

It’s recommendations on Dog Welfare and Breeding include:

  • Anyone breeding more than 2 litters a years should be licensed with the local authority as a breeder
  • All agencies and welfare charities should work together to promote the Puppy Contract
  • A voluntary Code of Practice should be set up for websites advertising dogs for sale
  • The Kennel Club should refuse to register puppies that do not meet the conditions of the Assured Breeders Scheme (ABS)
  • ABS health tests should be required and the results of those tests applied to breeding decisions
  • The KC and breed clubs should develop outcrossing strategies for those breeds which have the most pressing health issues
  • Those involved in breeding must redouble their efforts to eradicate health problems caused by conformation to breed standards
  • There should be an annual review of breed standards by an independent panel of experts
  • Additional health checks should be done on dogs before entry to a dog show is allowed
  • The Advisory Council on the Welfare Issues of Dog Breeding should be given a regulatory role
  • The Animal Welfare Act should place a duty on anyone breeding dogs to have regard to the offsprings’ health and welfare

This report is very welcome and now makes the sixth welfare report on the breeding of dogs since 2006.  Campaigning must focus on getting the above recommendations translated into action.