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There is no State law that licenses dog and cat breeders in Minnesota; therefore, Minnesota does not license or record how many dog and cat breeders and brokers/dealers operate in our State.
Only breeders with four or more intact females and who sell wholesale (to brokers/pet stores, not directly to consumers) are required to be licensed by the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA-licensed breeders represent only a fraction of breeders in Minnesota. See link below for a list.
NOTE: The numbers listed in chart (on above link) fluctuate as existing breeders may:
Ranking and cancellations
In 2009, the USDA issued a report that ranks the top 10 states with the largest number of USDA Class A licensed "commercial " breeders. This list is below.
Please be aware when reviewing the above: In previous years, Minnesota was tied with South Dakota as #10 for the most number of Class A breeders. Between 2006 and 2011, over 60% of USDA-licensed dog/cat breeders (Class A) and dog/cat brokers (Class B) in Minnesota dropped their USDA license. While a few of these licensees may have gone out of business, many chose to cancel or not re-new this license and instead sell directly to consumers. This means these breeders/dealers are not regulated at all. Selling wholesale (i.e., to pet stores) requires a USDA license; selling retail (i.e., directly to consumers though the Internet, at the kennel, through classified ads, at parking lots or other places) does not require a USDA license. Minnesota does not regulate dog/cat breeders.
Estimate of industry size
As a point of reference, in 2007 the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) conducted a five-month investigation to determine the number of breeders and breeding conditions in the State of Virginia. They found that “only 16 of Virginia’s more than 900 commercial puppy dealers hold federal licenses. Many of the rest…violate federal law when they sell their puppies to pet stores.” [Associated Press, November 2, 2007, Humane Society: Virginia is for puppy mills]
In Indiana, it is estimated there are 3,000 commercial breeders operating throughout the state; of that figure, there are 92 USDA-licensed breeders. Not all of these breeders sell to pet stores; the majority sell directly to consumers through websites and classified ads. [IndyStar.com-Indianapolis, April 5, 2009, Officials: Underground breeders evade taxes]
No investigation has yet been conducted to determine the depth and breadth of the dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota. The dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota is not regulated by the state; therefore, no licensing exists in Minnesota.
USDA-licensed facilities in Minnesota
There are multiple facilities in Minnesota licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture. (See descriptions below.) Not all of these facilities breed dogs and cats. In 2011, it is estimated there are about 45 USDA-licensed breeders (Class A) and brokers (Class B) in Minnesota who breed/broker dogs and cats. For complete list, see link at top of page. (Note: The number of breaders/dealers on this list changes each year.)
Below is an abbreviated definition of the following categories. For specific definitions and explanations, see links below (on USDA-APHIS website).
Further licensing information
For additional information about USDA licensing and a discussion of legislation pertaining to wholesale vs. retail sales, go to: Animal Welfare Act - licensing