This is a quick guide to help you understand the process of being Dog Breeding Establishment (DBE) in Ireland, and the some background about the laws. This is a different requirement to being a Registered Seller of Pets (dogs). It’s also important to note that Register Sellers of Pets are administered by the Department of Agriculture on a state level while Dog Breeding Establishments are managed on the local level with the local authorities.
The provisions for this are based around the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. More about the various laws around dogs ownership, dog breeding, dog microchipping can be seen here. We encourage you to read this before applying for your licence.
The main part of this states that anyone or business that maintains 6 or more female dogs, over the age of 6 months old, and can be used for breeding (e.g. non neutered or elderly dogs) is required to apply for a licence.
“dog breeding establishment” means a premises at which bitches are kept, not less than 6 of which are—
(a) more than 6 months old, and
(b) capable of being used for breeding purposes,
The act states that breeders this size and above need to be registered. There are a number of other provisions around recording of sales, number of staff required, animal welfare etc. but the starting point to be required to register is having 6 or more breeding females. Boarding kennels that could house 6 or more female dogs are also required to register.
Specific laws & regulations for DBEs
The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 sets out specific rules around the number of times a bitch can be bred from (6) and the number of litters any one bitch can have in a 3 year period (3 litters).
(e) bitches do not give birth to more than 6 litters of pupsDog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 – Article 15 Section 1
(f) during any period of 3 years, not more than 3 litters of
pups are born to a bitch.
Applying to be a DBE
The act states that these breeders need to apply for a licence with their local authority.
“local authority” means—
(a) a city council, or (b) a county council;
Your local city council or county council is the next port of call, to get an application form. This application comes with a fee, dependant on the number of dogs you are going to be licenced for. This covers the administration and inspection costs. In many cases you can download this form from their website.
The application form asks about details of the dogs you breed, the types of accommodation you will offer (indoor, outdoor, exercise, etc.), a site layout of your premises and details of planning permission sought.
Your premises will need to be inspected before you can be issued a licence. If successful you will be issued an DBE certificate that will show your name and / or business name, the licence details and the maximum number of bitches of age you are allowed to house. The licence number is legally required to be listed in all of your adverts both online and offline.
DBE annual licence fees
Currently the annual licence fee is based on the number of breeding bitches you have on your premises. These fees are set out in Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010, Section 13. Here is a typical schedule of these licence fees per year
- 6-18 breeding bitches : €400
- 19-30 breeding bitches : €800
- 31-100 breeding bitches : €1,600
- 101-200 breeding bitches : €3,000
- 200+ breeding bitches: €3,000 + €1,600 for every 100 bitches in excess of 200
Resources for dog breeding establishments
Via the The Department of Agriculture
A 20 page guide for DBEs from the Department of Agriculture. It is in 2 parts,
- Part 1 – construction and maintenance of a Dog Breeding Establishment. (Kennel sizes, temperature, Food and Chemical storage, etc.)
- Part 2 – operation and management of a Dog Breeding Establishment on a day to day basis (Animal care, Exercise, Habituation & Socialisation, Records, Veterinary care, etc.)
- Annex 1 – Transportation of dogs.
- Annex 2 – Sizing requirements for pens and exercise areas.
List of Councils & List of DBEs
Councils are required to publish the list of licenced Dog Breeding Establishments.
(15) A local authority shall publish in such manner as it thinks fit, and make available for inspection at all reasonable times by members of the public, the register maintained by it under this section.Regulation of Dog Breeding Establishments Part II Section 9, subsection 15
Of the 31 Local Authorities (County & City Councils):
- 17 provide list of Dog Breeding Establishments online
- 14 the others have chosen to share this information in other ways
- 3 local authorities have confirmed they don’t have any DBEs in their area, so they are not able to provide a list.
County Councils Number of DBEs
Numbers as of 31/12/2022 [source gov.ie] in total there are 240 DBEs registered (breeders, charities, kennels, hunt clubs).