How Many Dogs Allowed Per Household UK 2024: UK Dog Laws

So you’re a dog lover and want to give a loving home to as many canine pals as possible. But just how many dogs per household can you have in the UK legally? There is no legal limit on how many dogs a household or an individual can have in the UK. However, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is legislation which sets out rules regarding how you must care for your dogs. Additionally, if you want to breed dogs, then you need to have a dog breeding licence.

Let’s go into a bit more detail about owning multiple dogs and when you might need to apply for a breeding licence.

How Many Dogs Can I Own In The UK?

There is no UK law that puts a limit on how many dogs a person or a household can own. This means a person or a household can own as many dogs as desired. However, as a responsible dog owner, you’ll need to consider the welfare of your dogs. This means ensuring you’re providing them with an adequate living environment, protecting them from injuries and suffering, and provide adequate exercise and food.

How Many Dogs Can You Have In A Council House UK?

The number of dogs you can have in a council house depends entirely on the council in question. As stated, there are no legal limits placed on how many dogs an individual can own. However, UK councils have their own guidelines and policies in place regarding pets being kept in council houses and council flats.

Generally speaking, councils are normally agreeable to tenants keeping dogs or other pets in their council homes. This is normally dependent on three conditions; firstly, your pets are properly cared for; secondly, if your pet poops in communal areas you must promptly dispose of it; and thirdly, your pet mustn’t create a nuisance to neighbours.

For example, Southwark council in South London state the following in their tenants handbook:

“You are allowed to keep a pet as long as it is not dangerous, not a health risk, not likely to cause a nuisance and you have a suitable home for the type of animal you wish to have as a pet.”

Newcastle City council is much more specific with its policy regarding keeping dogs as pets. Here’s an excerpt from their tenants handbook:

“…You may keep 1 dog and 1 cat if the access to your home is not by a shared entrance. You may keep an assistance dog in a property with a shared entrance if you have our written permission…”

The important point here is that councils have their own policies about their tenants keeping dogs and other pets. Therefore, you’ll need to check with your council what policies they have in place regarding pet ownership.

How Many Dogs Can You Have In A Privately Rented Home?

Just like local council authorities, most private landlords will have policies regarding pet ownership in their properties. These policies are likely to be similar to those of UK councils. Private landlords will want to make sure that your dogs are being cared for properly, that they’re not damaging the property itself, and that your dogs are not creating a nuisance to neighbours.

One issue that can lead to both council authorities and private landlords banning certain tenants from keeping dogs in their homes is nuisance dog barking. That is, if the dog barks loudly, or for prolonged periods, or late at night.

What Is The Animal Welfare Act 2006?

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is legislation which applies to England and Wales, (the law that applies to Scotland is the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006). The legislation sets out the legal responsibilities of pet owners across the country.

If you want to own multiple dogs in a safe and legal way, then you’d need to ensure you take reasonable steps to meet the needs of your dogs.

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 defines exactly what is considered an animal’s need, as below:

  • Its need for a suitable environment,
  • Its need for a suitable diet,
  • Its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
  • Any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and
  • Its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

If you don’t believe you can meet the needs of multiple dogs (or even one dog), then don’t take ownership of any dogs. If you do take ownership of one or more dogs, but fail to meet their needs, you’d be breaking the law.

Recommended – Got several dogs and don’t know how to deal with all the dog poop at home? This article gives 5 simple and effective ways to dispose of dog poo at home.


When Might I Need A Breeding Licence?

The legal obligation you might have to acquire a breeding licence depends on which constituent country of Britain you live in. See an overview below:

England

The summary for England is that if you have three or more litters in a 12 month period then you will require a breeding licence. Further, if you advertise a business of selling dogs, you will of course require a breeding licence.

The full legislation can be read here

Wales

Wales legislation is a little more convoluted. Typically, a person or entity will require a breeding licence if they keep three or more breeding female dogs on their premises, and if they meet certain other conditions on top of that.

The full legislation can be read here

Scotland

In Scotland, if you have three or more litters in a 12 month period then you will require a breeding licence.

The full legislation can be read here

Northern Ireland

Legislation for Northern Ireland is similar to Wales in that it’s not so straightforward. In northern Ireland, a person will generally require a breeding licence if they keep three or more breeding female dogs on their premises, and if they meet certain other conditions on top of that.

The full legislation can be read here

Final Thoughts On How Many Dogs Allowed Per Household Uk

There is no law in the UK which limits how many dogs are allowed per household. This means that you can own as many dogs as you like, in theory. However, in practice, owning multiple dogs requires a lot of time, energy and money. On top of that, there are strict animal welfare laws which stipulate how you must take care of your dogs or other pets. As a result, most people would struggle to own more than three dogs in a safe and responsible way.