Regulations for cat and dog breeders

In Victoria, the breeding and selling of cats and dogs is regulated under the Domestic Animal Act 1994 (the DA Act), the Domestic Animal Regulations 2015 and the Code of practice for the operation of breeding and rearing businesses 2014 (revision 2018). The DA Act limits the number of fertile females breeders can keep in Victoria.

Microbreeders

If you own one or two fertile female cats or dogs and breed to sell you are classified as a as microbreeder.

Microbreeders do not have to register as a domestic animal (breeding) business (DAB) with their local council or comply with the Code of practice for the operation of breeding and rearing businesses 2014 (revision 2018) (Code).

Recreational breeders

If you are a member of an Applicable Organisation (e.g. Dogs Victoria) with up to 10 fertile female cats or dogs and breed to sell, you are classified as a recreational breeder.

Recreational breeders do not need to register with their local council as a Domestic Animal Business (DAB) or comply with the Code. Instead, recreational breeders are required to comply with their organisation’s rules and code of ethics.

Breeding domestic animal businesses

If you have between 3 and 10 fertile female dogs or cats, are not a member of an Applicable Organisation, and breed to sell, you are classified as a DAB. DABs must be registered with local council and comply with the Code of practice for the operation of breeding and rearing businesses 2014 (revision 2018).

The Code outlines minimum welfare standards for the housing and management of dogs and cats in breeding and rearing businesses.

DAB’s must also comply with their council’s local laws and planning laws.

Learn more about domestic animal businesses.

Commercial dog breeders

Commercial Dog Breeder approval is required if you wish to keep more than 10 fertile female dogs on your property.

Breeders with between 11 and 50 fertile female dogs must first be registered as a DAB with their local council, after which they can apply to the Minister for Agriculture to obtain commercial dog breeder approval.

All commercial dog breeding businesses will be subject to audits and inspection by departmental authorised officers, must comply with the Code and requirements set by the DA Act and supporting regulations.

Read more about the commercial dog breeder approval process.

Online breeder training course

As part of the toolkit prepared for breeders, a FREE online breeder training course is available that meets the minimum competency requirements in the Code.

Puppy and kitten brokers

Brokers buy puppies and kittens from breeders in Victoria or interstate, either acting as a breeder’s agent or selling the puppies and kittens directly to the community.

Anyone holding a puppy or kitten for sale, including brokers, must register with their local council as a DAB and comply with the DA Act and Code.

Selling or giving away cats, dogs, puppies and kittens

The DA Act stipulates advertising requirements when selling or giving away cats, dogs, puppies and kittens. Learn more about the advertising requirements.

Regulating dog and cat breeding in Victoria

All breeders must also be familiar with and comply with the mandatory Code of practice for the breeding of animals with heritable defects that cause disease.

If any breeder, including microbreeders, breaches requirements under the DA Act or Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, penalties apply.

Local council, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Victoria) and Animal Welfare Victoria are empowered to monitor and enforce compliance with legislative requirements.

Page last updated: 11 Jan 2021