Apply for a Cat or Dog Breeder License

License Requirement

You must be licensed, if you meet both of the following conditions:

  • You possess 11 or more adult female dogs and/or cats that are capable of reproduction
  • Within one calendar year, you sell, exchange, or offer to sell or exchange at least 20 dogs and/or cats

Each adult female animal in your possession that is capable of reproduction will be presumed to be used for breeding purposes, unless you can establish, based upon breeding records or other evidence, that the animal is not used for breeding.

Persons who operate without a license may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions in an amount up to $5,000 per day for each violation.

Exemptions from Licensing

If you breed dogs for certain specific purposes, you may qualify for an exemption to the licensing requirement.

Dogs that are bred primarily for the following purposes will not be counted towards the “11 or more adult female dogs” requirement for obtaining a license:

If you breed the types of dogs listed above purely for personal use, or for exchange for other dogs used in the same manner, you will not be required to obtain a license.

A person who breeds dogs that meet the exemption requirements (above) but also breeds non-sporting dogs, or cats, may not be exempt from becoming a licensed breeder with respect to the non-sporting dogs or cats.

Application and Fees

To apply for a new cat or dog breeder license, submit a completed license application form (PDF) along with the applicable fee (see below).

As part of the application, you must provide a valid state sales tax identification number with your renewal application, as well as the names and addresses of each person who has a controlling interest of at least 25% in the operation.

Licenses are valid for 1 year from the date of issuance.

Fee Schedule

Number of Female Animals Capable of Reproduction Application Fee
11–25 $300
26 or more $500

All application fees are non-refundable.

Pre-License Inspection

Before a license may be issued, the department must inspect a facility to ensure that the facility meets the requirements. Please see the pre-license inspection checklist for further details.

If your facility does not meet the requirements, you will be given an opportunity to correct the deficiencies and request another pre-license inspection. Additional inspection fees may be required.

Exemption from Inspection

If you currently hold a USDA class A animal dealer license issued under the Animal Welfare Act, you may be exempt from the pre-license inspection requirement.

To request an exemption to the inspection, submit a copy of your animal dealer license with your application materials. As part of the application form, you will be required to sign a statement certifying that your facility meets the standards and qualifications required.

Multiple Locations

To operate under a single license, all buildings, property, and confinement areas used to conduct breeding operations must be located within 300 feet of the facility specified in the original license application.

A separate license is required for noncontiguous locations that are more than 300 feet apart.

Applicants with Criminal Convictions

If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor (other than a minor traffic violation) or pleaded guilty or no contest (resulting in a deferred adjudication) to any in-state, out-of-state or federal criminal offense, you must provide a completed Criminal History Questionnaire (PDF) along with your application materials.

The department will conduct a criminal history background check on all persons who apply for a cat or dog breeder license. Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Depending on your criminal history, a review can take from one to six weeks to complete.

Individuals may request TDLR review their criminal background before actually applying for a license. TDLR uses the same process for this pre-application evaluation as the process described below. See the Criminal History Evaluation Letter page for more information.

Please see the Guidelines for License Applicants with Criminal Convictions, which describe the process that TDLR uses to determine whether a criminal conviction renders an applicant an unsuitable candidate for the license, or whether a conviction warrants revocation or suspension of a license previously granted.