Minister Kyne announces publication of revised Guidelines for Dog Breeding Establishments

Published 8 July 2018

Seán Kyne T.D., the Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, today, 8 July 2018, announced the publication of the revised Guidelines for Dog Breeding Establishments.  The revised Guidelines can be viewed on the Department’s website and will come into effect on 1 January 2019.

The changes in the revised Guidelines focus on improving the welfare of dogs and pups.  The Guidelines provide greater clarity on the suitable socialisation of pups, a greater emphasis on the need for accurate record keeping, direction in relation to staff/animal ratios and a provision for unannounced inspections of Dog Breeding Establishments (DBEs) by the local authority veterinary service.

Minister Kyne said that he wants to see the highest possible standards achieved by dog breeding establishments and that the Guidelines are in place to support the improvement of standards in DBEs and form part of the framework within which local authorities carry out inspections and issue improvement notices, where required.

The Minister said: “I am happy to see that the local authority veterinary service can make unannounced inspections of these establishments, which will help to drive up standards.”

In describing the process of renewing the Guidelines, the Minister added: “My Department has developed these Guidelines taking into account responses received through public consultation and by consulting with industry experts. Some of the issues raised during the public consultation related to matters beyond the scope of the Guidelines and these will be considered as part of a wider review of the legislation which is due to take place later this year.

‘‘There is a substantial shift in the new Guidelines towards a focus on the welfare of dogs and pups.  Better socialised pups, housed in appropriate accommodation, make for better pets.   Where there is a focus on socialisation in the key first few weeks of life, there is a smoother transition to life in a family home.”   The Minister also emphasised that the Guidelines are in addition to other obligations which dog breeding establishments must comply with, including health and safety and animal welfare legislation.

The new Guidelines come into effect on 1 January 2019, giving breeders time to familiarise themselves with the new requirements and to seek the necessary guidance and support they require to meet the new standards.


Notes to Editor:

    • Seán Kyne T.D. is the Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with special responsibility for Dog Control and Dog Breeding Establishments (DBEs).  Responsibility for the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 rests with his Department.
    • A Dog Breeding Establishment is 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 first set of Guidelines became effective from January 2012 and related to the operation of establishments and compliance with the DBE Act 2010.  The next iteration of draft Guidelines, developed by a working group of industry experts, was subject to a public consultation process which closed on 28 February 2017.
    • The working group included representatives from the ISPCA, the DSPCA, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Agriculture Northern Ireland, Local Authority Veterinary Inspectors and the then Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
    • The Guidelines published for public consultation included proposed changes relating to standards and sizes for kennels, guidance for exercise areas, hygiene protocols, exercise periods, socialisation, staffing requirements, training requirements for staff, breeding programmes and retirement plans.
    • Following consideration of the comments received through the consultation process, and further engagement with the members of the original working group, further changes have now been incorporated. These include strengthening the language, providing greater clarity on suitable socialisation of dogs and pups, greater emphasis on the need for accurate record keeping by DBEs, generally providing more clarification on the requirements and a revision of the staff to breeding bitches ratio from 1:30 to 1:25.