←Go back to RSPCA

RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase

Search:     Advanced search

Are there laws that require companion animal breeders to meet certain standards of care?

Article ID: 324
Last updated: 07 Mar, 2019
Revision: 12
print  Print
share  Share
Views: 21389

Laws relating to the welfare of animals vary in different states. In some states, companion animal breeders have to be registered which may also require meeting certain standards of care but in other states, breeder registration and/or standards may not exist (see Table below). Specific requirements are often contained within associated Regulations so it is best to check these too. Your local council can give advice on current requirements.

The RSPCA believes that the welfare issues associated with companion animal breeding will only be addressed through proper regulation and enforcement. RSPCA Australia advocates a compulsory registration and licensing system for all outlets selling companion animals, including breeders. The conditions under which animals are bred, kept and presented for sale must be detailed in a code of practice with compliance with the code of practice made a condition of licensing. 

State governments would be responsible for governing these laws however, as stated above, compulsory standards of care do not yet exist in most states. The RSPCA is powerless to prosecute irresponsible breeders unless they are committing an offence under animal welfare legislation in the state they are operating in. Sadly, this means the situation has to be very serious before any legal action can be taken.

Please see the related article What laws are necessary to stop puppy farming? and the attached documents 'Legislating to End Puppy Farming - the Way Forward' and 'End Puppy farming - The Way Forward'.



 Breeder registration

 Breeder welfare        standards


 Domestic Animals Act  2000 

 Mandatory registration of all  breeders and any owners of an entire dog/cat from 3 months of  age (NB desexing is mandatory by 3 months of  age)


 Intensive Breeding of Cats or Dogs (Animal Welfare Act 1992)


 Animal Management (Cats   and Dogs) Act 2008

Dogs only

Mandatory registration of all breeders (even someone with one female breeding  dog)

Breeder society registration accepted

Government supplies breeder identification number (BIN)


 Minister can instruct  breed societies to  implement an  accreditation scheme.

Queensland Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Breeding of Dogs and their Progeny (Oct 2018)

 New South Wales

 Companion Animal Act  1998



 Animal Welfare Code of  Practice Breeding dogs  and cats

 Northern Territory




 South Australia

 Dog & Cat Management  Act 1995

 Mandatory registration of all  breeders and any owners of an entire dog/cat from 6 months of  age (NB desexing is mandatory by 6 months of  age)

Government supplies breeder registration number (BRN)


South Australian Standards and Guidelines for Breeding and Trading Companion Animals 2017


 Cat Management Act 2009

 Dog Control Act 2000






 Domestic Animal Act 1994

Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Act 2017


 But only if there are at least 3 breeding females & are  exempt if registered with a  breed organisation except if  there are >10 breeding females


 Code of Practice for the  Operation of Breeding  and Rearing Businesses

 Code of Practice for the  Breeding of Animals  with Heritable Defects  that Cause Disease

 Western Australia

 Dog Act 1976

 Cat Act 2011





This article was:  

Attached files
file Legislating to End Puppy Farming - RSPCA Discussion Paper May 2015.pdf (509 kb) Download
file End Puppy Farming - the Way Forward - RSPCA Discussion Papaer Nov 2010.pdf (176 kb) Download

Also read
folder How do I avoid supporting puppy farms?
folder What is a backyard breeder?
folder How do I find a good dog or cat breeder?
folder What laws are necessary to stop puppy farming?

Prev     Next
Are purebreed breeders more responsible than crossbreed breeders?       How do I avoid supporting puppy farms?