Dog breeders

Ban on XL Bully dogs →

It is now a criminal offence to sell or breed an XL Bully dog, or breed from an XL Bully dog. Further information can be found on GOV.UK (external link).

If you are a dog breeder, you may need an animal activity licence. To obtain a licence, you need to ensure that you meet the specific licence conditions for breeding dogs.

Do I need a licence?

You will need a licence if you are either:

  • Breeding three or more litters of puppies per year (unless you can show that none of the puppies have been sold) OR
  • Breeding puppies and advertising to sell them, with a view to making a profit, regardless of the number of litters produced per year. This is not restricted to registered businesses - individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.

Visit GOV.UK for further guidance on the conditions (external link)

Anyone carrying out this activity without the relevant licence could be prosecuted and face imprisonment of up to 6 months, receive a fine or both.


To find out how much your animal activity licence will cost visit:

How to apply

  • BEFORE you apply you must pay the relevant fee online
  • Complete the application form  - you will need to add your payment receipt number to your completed application
  • Complete the inspection form
  • The following documents must be produced with the application form. Failure to produce these documents within 7 days of submitting your application will result in it being returned and any fees paid refunded:
    • A completed inspection form (this shows how you are complying with and / or will comply with the relevant conditions)
    • Operating procedures covering the following:
      • Infection Control Procedure
      • Feeding Regimes
      • Cleaning Regimes
      • Transportation
      • Monitoring Health and Welfare
      • The Death or Escape of an Animal
      • Emergency Care Plan
      • A plan of the premises
      • Insurance Policy
      • Risk Assessments (including a fire risk assessment)
      • Qualifications (if any)
      • Training policy / records
  • Submit the application and supporting documents via email to the licensing team or by post to the Licensing Team, PO Box 100, Wigan, WN1 3DS.

Please note: The licence, if granted, is non-transferrable should the premises / business be sold or taken over by another operator. If the licence holder dies, the personal representative of the licence holder can take on the licence provided that they inform the local authority within 28 days of the death that they are now the operators.


We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before we can approve an application.

As part of your inspection, you will be given a rating based on specific criteria.

What do I do if I already have a licence?

Before the expiry date of your licence, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.

You are advised to familiarise yourself with the new licence conditions to ensure you are able to comply with these before making a new application - see further guidance on complying with the new conditions (external link).

Public register

We maintain a public register of all the businesses which hold an animal activity licence, a copy of which is available below. This will be updated on a regular basis.

Ban on XL Bully dogs

It is now a criminal offence to own or possess an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless there is a valid Certificate of Exemption in place.

It is also an offence to:

  • sell an XL Bully dog
  • abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray
  • give away an XL Bully dog
  • breed or breed from an XL Bully dog
  • have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle.

The rules that must followed in relation to an XL Bully dog in England and Wales is available at Ban on XL Bully dogs - GOV.UK (external link).

To be considered a type ‘known as the XL Bully’ a dog must meet the minimum height measurements set out in the conformation standard.  The conformation standard is available at XL Bully conformation standard - GOV.UK (external link).

© Wigan Council