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Every dog in PA that is over 12 weeks of age is required to have a license and proof of rabies vaccination. If you don’t have a kennel license, then every dog must be individually licensed. You can administer your own rabies vaccinations if you have a commercial or non-commercial kennel license and if you pass a rabies vaccination test given by PA Dog Law. However, that only applies to the dogs when they are on your property. If you send your dogs elsewhere for boarding or breeding they will need a valid rabies vaccine given by a licensed vet.

You need a kennel license if more than 25 dogs have been on your property within a calendar year. This includes adults and puppies. If for example, you have 3 female dogs that have a total of 24 puppies in one calendar year (3 adults + 24 puppies, equals 27 dogs) you are required by law to get a kennel license. Another factor that can push you over the 25-dog limit is dogs you are temporarily boarding (for breeding, etc.). All dogs that are housed on your property during the calendar year should be counted toward your limit.
• Dogs owned by another person that come onto your property for breeding must also be listed on the kennel records (we recommend keeping a separate record from your own dogs).
• A current rabies certificate and dog license are required for all dogs while on the kennel property.
• Puppies must be at least 8 weeks of age before they can be sold, transferred, or given away.

License Options and Other Requirements

A non-commercial license allows you to transfer or house up to sixty dogs or puppies per year. Only retail sales are permitted with a non-commercial license. If you sell a single puppy to a pet store or dealer, you are required to have a commercial license. You will also need a USDA license to ship a puppy which includes any transaction where the breeder, retail buyer, and puppy are not present at the time of purchase.

A commercial license allows you to sell an unlimited number of puppies through retail sales. A USDA license is required if you sell wholesale or ship any of your puppies which includes any transaction where the breeder, retail buyer, and puppy are not present at the time of purchase. There are additional regulations for a commercial kennel that are no required of a non-commercial license like ventilation fans, air conditioning, bigger run sizes, etc.

You need a USDA license if you have 5 or more female dogs. A USDA license is required to ship a puppy which includes any transaction where the breeder, retail buyer, and puppy are not present at the time of purchase. Selling puppies to any wholesale buyer or dealer requires a USDA license.

A dealer license is required if you are purchasing puppies from a breeder and reselling them to the new owner.

Any dog that is brought into PA from another state must have a health certificate prior to coming into Pennsylvania.

You need a sales tax license to retail any dogs or puppies in PA, If you sell wholesale you do not need to charge tax but need an exemption card on file for each dealer or wholesale buyer. This is required even if you do not have a kennel license.

Questions? The PAWS team is here to help you become a lawful, respectable dog breeder. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about requirements for your unique situation. Sign up for a K.A.P evaluation for free advice from experienced dog breeders without the risk of citations and fines.



PAWS (Pennsylvania Animal Welfare and Safety) is a group of pet breeders who are dedicated to
helping the industry by providing guidance in areas such as pet safety, marketing, public relations,
and legal requirements. We believe that pets should be treated humanely and with respect. We
work to provide our members and the industry with tools and education so they can meet and
exceed state and federal standards.

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