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On Friday, the Utah House Business and Labor Committee passed a bill regulating breeders that contains many amendments requested by the AKC in the 2023 session.  House Bill 478 will soon be considered by the full House of Representatives.

Those who wish to comment on HB 478 are encouraged to contact their State Representative.  Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to get your Utah State Representative’s name and contact information.

Summary of House Bill 478:

House Bill 478 establishes standards and requirements for dog breeders and dog breeding premises, and allows the Department of Agriculture to respond to complaints and enforce penalties at their discretion and as resources allow.  The bill as originally introduced in 2023 would have required licensing and inspections of all breeders.  However, AKC worked closely with the sponsor and secured the following amendments, which were included in this year’s version of the bill:

  • Definition of “dog breeder” – The bill applies to “dog breeders”, defined as someone who breeds “for the primary or express purpose of selling, trading, bartering, or…transferring offspring for profit.” The words “primary or express purpose” were offered by the sponsor to address concerns raised by AKC that the definition could impact hobbyists any time this section of code was amended in the future.  In addition, the bill clarifies that the definition does not include those who breed only one litter per year.
  • Clarification that “Dog Breeding Premises” do not include private residences – This important clarification will ensure that any subsequent laws or regulations regarding dog breeding premises will not impact private homes. It was an important provision requested by AKC, as often provisions can include specific requirements regarding flooring, lighting, etc. that are appropriate for separate kennels but not homes.
  • Reasonable requirements for dog breeders – The bill now contains some basic, reasonable requirements for all who meet the definition of dog breeder. This includes requiring veterinary checks for breeding females, a prohibition on selling dogs under 8 weeks of age, and a statement that all dog breeders must comply with current Utah code regarding preventing animal cruelty.

    While this does not prevent future regulations, it ensures that as a baseline, requirements for dog breeders are reasonable and defined in Utah Code.

  • Clarification on record-keeping requirements – Amendments remove requirements that breeders keep records on a dog’s “behavioral issues”, which was unclear and undefined. Instead, the bill now states that those meeting the definition of “dog breeder” must keep records on a dog’s dangerous behaviors, if any, as well as health conditions and medical care.
  • Removal of arbitrary litter restrictions – The 2023 bill had prevented a female from being bred more than once in a 12-month period. After discussions with AKC, the bill now states that a veterinarian must examine the female to “determine that it is safe” to breed her more than once in the year. While this is not the exact language AKC requested, we believe that this is an important improvement and appreciate that the arbitrary restrictions have been removed.
  • Removal of breeder permits and inspections – The original bill in 2023 required a permit for all breeders, and possible inspections of private homes. These provisions are not included in House Bill 478.

AKC Government Relations greatly appreciates the sponsor accepting AKC’s amendments from 2023 and incorporating them again into House Bill 478.  We will continue to monitor this legislation.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at