Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme given Defra seal of approval following Kennel Club survey

The Kennel Club has today (April 11) welcomed the news that Defra has issued a note for local authorities in England in which it is made clear that any member of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme of at least three years’ standing should be awarded a five-star breeding licence valid for three years.

The only exception would be where significant evidence of poor animal welfare standards or non compliance is found during a local authority inspection.

This news comes swiftly on the back of lobbying activity carried out by the Kennel Club following a survey it conducted, in conjunction with Our Dogs newspaper, in which concerns from dog breeders about inconsistencies in local authority licensing were identified.

The note issued by Defra is to be used by local authorities who need to license activities involving animals and the relevant establishments. The updated document now states, “In relation to dog breeding, the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme operates to the higher standards, and is currently the only UKAS accredited scheme operating in this area of animal activities”. The use of the words ‘higher standards’ is significant as it now gives clarity to the fact that members of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme are considered to be low risk.

Defra has also provided further clarification regarding the £1,000 trading income licensing exemption. This exemption has caused considerable confusion for all parties, with many believing that this is a threshold for which anyone exceeding it would require a dog breeding licence. Defra has now made it clear that the “£1,000 trading income as referred to in the guidance documents should be used as an indicator and not a ceiling as someone with over £1,000 trading income may not be a commercial dog breeder or pet seller and they may not be making a profit”.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “This is very good news for the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme as it means that Defra recognises the fact that ABS members have signed up to meet specific standards of animal welfare, which in most cases go way beyond those required of local authorities.

“We also warmly welcome the clarification on the so-called trading income exemption, which has caused significant confusion for many breeders and local authorities alike.

“The law regulating breeders is an issue on which the Kennel Club has been lobbying the Government for a number of years, so to now see this clarification is very encouraging indeed as it shows that the Kennel Club is being heard by Government on matters involving dog breeders.”

The note issued to local authorities in England today can be accessed at

Read more information on the new dog breeding regulations, which came into force on 1 October 2018.