Can You Breed and Sell Puppies Without a License? (Solved!)

Typically, no, but dog breeding is handled on a state and city level, rather than on a federal one. In most cases, breeding and selling puppies will require some sort of license.

It might just be a business license if you are talking about one or two litters of puppies, or you might need a full breeder license if you are selling from a pool of multiple puppy litters. You will need to check your local laws to see exactly which licenses you will require.

Start it off simple by getting your business license, as you will definitely need this, and then proceed to research if you will need a breeder license as well for the estimated number of puppies that you intend to sell that year.

In this article, we’ve collected questions being asked this week by aspiring breeders that can help you if you are considering breeding dogs on your own. Are they taxable? Do puppies need to be microchipped or vaccinated before sales?

There are a lot of important questions that you’ll need the answers to, so read on for important information that will help you get started the right way!

Can you sell puppies without a license?

No, you cannot sell puppies without a license, even from your home. Advertising and selling puppies requires a license, though the type of license is going to vary from state to state. With a small number of dogs, it might just amount to a business license, while larger numbers will certainly require a breeder license.

Be sure to check the local laws for your city and state to find out which specific license you will need.

Can anyone breed and sell puppies?

Anyone can breed and sell puppies but when it comes to purebreds, a breeder can only sell puppies that they have bred themselves. This helps to ensure that someone buying a purebred is buying them from someone who actually bred the parents and can provide guarantees to the dog’s lineage.

That said, if paperwork and lineage is not important, you can certainly sell pups – you just cannot truly call them purebred without risking a possible lawsuit later down the line if this proves not to be the case.

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What happens if you breed a dog without breeding rights?

Breeders have to give you permission to breed and sell the offspring from their dogs. If you don’t have that permission and breed them anyway, then what happens later is you’ll find that you cannot officially register them as purebred.

Breeders put a lot of time, effort, and money into isolating particular traits and producing healthy bloodlines for dogs, so the right to breed a dog that you’ve purchased from them has a monetary value.

If you intend to breed your dog down the line, you need to get the right to breed them in the form of written consent to ensure that you don’t have any problems down the line.

Can I register my dog with the kennel club without papers?

Possibly, yes, and we’ll explain this answer with a little more detail. Basically, when you purchase a purebred dog through a breeder, they will already have papers associated with the name of that dog at the time of purchase.

As such, registration is already done and it’s more a matter of transferring ownership and ‘updating’ that dog’s information to include their new name and new owner’s name. If there is no previous record, however, then you won’t be able to register that dog as a purebred, at least not  with the American Kennel club.

Other entities will vary in their requirements, however, so you may be able to still submit an application for your dog to legitimize their purebred status with another official entity.

Do puppies have to be vaccinated before selling?

Breeders aren’t legally required to vaccinate puppies before sale, but most are going to do this anyway. One of the perks of purchasing a pup from a breeder is that they will typically be both vaccinated and well-adjusted to people and other animals.

That said, it’s not absolutely required – most breeders just do it anyway for the health of the pup, rather than the prospective sale.

Is dog breeding a taxable income?

Yes, dog breeding is table, so any pups that you sell are going to need to be reported as part of your yearly income, otherwise you’ll be risking the wrath of the IRS further down the line.

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To breed in the first place, you’ll likely need a breeder license and a business license anyways, so just treat those pups like any other income and report what you make as the law requires.

Is it against the law to sell a puppy without microchip?

Yes, in most cases it will be against the law to sell a pup without a microchip. Check your local city and state laws to be sure, as animal laws vary widely from state to state, but assume that the standard rule will apply – a puppy sold should be at least 8 weeks old and microchipped at the time of sale.

If you are a breeder, there’s a little more to it, as you’ll also need to register the dog and their bona fides so that the new owner can establish their dog as a registered purebred.

Do breeders give puppies shots themselves?

They do, but it’s a huge red flag when that happens. A good breeder is going to bring their animals in to the vet, so that vaccines are done by a licensed professional and so there will be paperwork to prove that it was done.

If a breeder tells you that they vaccinate their animals on their own, it’s safest to simply find another breeder as there’s no guarantee that your dog is safely vaccinated.

Can breeders microchip puppies?

Yes, they can, and some do – but most breeders will simply make a deal with a local vet and have their animals microchipped this way. That said, don’t be surprised if you are dealing with a veteran breeder who chips their own puppies. There are kits for this and it’s a fairly common practice among seasoned dog breeders.

What is considered a backyard breeder?

‘Backyard breeder’ is basically a term for an amateur breeder and usually something to look out for. While some hobbyist ‘backyard breeders’ know all about their dogs, others are not necessarily so savvy or ethical in what they do.

Breeders like this might well try to isolate profitable genetic traits by breeding a brother and sister, for instance, or might simply take poor care of their dogs or own more than they can adequately care for.

It’s best to go with a breeder that is registered with a recognizable entity such as the AKC so that you don’t risk any bad surprises down the line.