The law

The Companion Animals Act 1998 and the Companion Animals Regulation 2018 provide for the identification and registration of cats and dogs, how they are managed and the duties and responsibilities of their owners.

Cat and dog breeders are also bound by animal welfare related legislation administered by other NSW Government agencies, including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 2006 and the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Breeding dogs and cats.


Microchipping requirement and exemption

In NSW, all cats and dogs, except exempt cats and dogs, must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or before being sold or given away, whichever happens first. You must be an authorised identifier to microchip cats and dogs in NSW.

If you are not a vet, you must have successfully completed a training course run by the NSW Technical and Further Education Commission (TAFE NSW), Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA NSW), Animal Welfare League (AWL NSW) or other training provider authorised by the Chief Executive, Office of Local Government, enabling you to lawfully implant microchips in cats and dogs in NSW.

On successful completion of the course, your training provider will notify the Office of Local Government, which will give you access to the NSW Companion Animals Register for the purpose of entering onto the register, identification information of animals you have microchipped

Important note: When a breeder presents a cat or dog to an Authorised Identifier for microchipping the breeder must record their own contact details in the ‘owner details’ section of the Permanent Identification (P1A) Form.

Breeders are not to record the person who has pledged to purchase the animal on the permanent identification (P1A) form as the current owner.

When the new owner takes delivery of the cat or dog the breeder must then complete a Change of Owner/Details (C3A) Form containing the new owners details and submit it to their local council within 14 days of the sale. Penalties may apply for non-compliance.


Recognised breeders and Recognised breeders’ organisations

Clause 3(1) of the Companion Animals Regulation 2018 defines a recognised breeder as a person who is a member of a recognised breeders’ organisation (within the meaning of Part 9 of the Companion Animals Act 1998) for the species of companion animal.

This includes:

  • the Royal New South Wales Canine Council Limited (trading as Dogs New South Wales),
  • the NSW Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc,
  • Australian National Cats Incorporated,
  • any other body approved by the Deputy Secretary for the purpose of this definition.


Registration requirement

In NSW all cats and dogs, except exempt cats and dogs, must be registered with the local council, in whose area they are ordinarily kept, by 6 months of age. This includes breeding cats and dogs.

To view the current registration fee for an undesexed (entire) animal kept by a recognised breeder for breeding purposes, please refer to the Microchipping and Registration section.


Annual permits for non-desexed cats

From 1 July 2020 the Government introduced annual permits for owners of non-desexed cats, restricted dog breeds, and dogs declared to be dangerous. This means that owners of cats not desexed by four months of age are required to pay an $92 annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

Exemptions are in place for cats kept for breeding purposes by members of recognised breeding bodies, and cats which cannot be desexed for medical reasons. Please refer to the Annual Permits section for more information.

Recognised breeders are required to provide certain documentary evidence to their local council at the time of registering a cat or dog kept for breeding purposes. This evidence may include, but is not limited to, a current membership card containing a ‘breeder prefix’ with a recognised breeder body and a statement that the cat or dog is being kept for breeding purposes. Contact your local council for further information.


Qualifying conditions for approval as a recognised breeders’ organisation under clause 3(1) of the Companion Animals Regulation 2018.

To view conditions and the application form for approval as a recognised breeders’ organisation, see Guidelines for Approval as a Recognised Breeders’ Organisation below.



Key resources