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Do You Need a License to Breed Dogs in New York State?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Whether you need a license to breed dogs in New York State depends upon how many animals you plan to sell each year. Article 26-A of the state's Agriculture and Markets Law requires all pet dealers to obtain a license, but the law does not require all dog breeders to obtain a license. However, the state's definition of pet dealers does include some pet breeders.

Pet Dealer

Article 26-A defines a pet dealer as "any person who engages in the sale or offering for sale of more than nine animals per year for profit to the public." "For profit" excludes individuals who gift animals. If a dealer tries, but fails, to sell an animal, that does not exempt the dealer from the law; the attempt to sell an animal for profit counts toward the nine total.

Pet Breeder

Article 26-A considers pet breeders to be pet dealers and requires a license if the breeder sells more than 25 animals per year. According to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, "breeders who sell less than 25 dogs and/or cats annually born and raised on their premise are exempt from mandatory licensing." If you plan to sell only a limited number of puppies per year, you are exempt from New York's mandatory licensing requirement.

Animal Shelters

If you plan to breed dogs while also running a shelter for unwanted animals, you may be exempt from mandatory licensing. This exemption applies only to humane societies that are incorporated and recognized by the state. Humane societies do not typically sell their animals for profit. However, they can charge an adoption fee, and that fee does not count toward the annual limit of 25.


When counting the sale of animals to determine dealer eligibility, you must include dogs and cats as a cumulative total. For example, if you were to sell 20 dogs that you bred at your home and six cats from an unplanned litter during one calendar year, you would be legally considered a pet dealer and obligated to obtain a license.