The exact methods vary depending on the state or town, but in general, you can obtain a dog breeder's license by applying to the appropriate government agency and submitting to a facility inspection. Applications are usually processed by the county or city clerk's office or the state department of licensing.
Not all locations have licensing requirements for dog breeders. Some that do not have breeder-specific licenses do require kennel licenses for people with more than a certain number of dogs. Other jurisdictions may require special licensing for dogs that have not been spayed or neutered, regardless of whether they are used for breeding. The city or county clerk's office may be helpful in determining which regulations apply to a particular individual's situation.
Most states that have breeder's licenses require a government inspection to check for proper care and treatment. These inspections generally involve looking at the kennel to ensure the dogs have adequate housing and room to move, and that sanitary conditions are maintained. Some states may require written veterinary records for all dogs. They may also check zoning laws or require breeders to notify neighbors of their intention to apply for kennel licenses.
Large operations may also have to apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a license, but this usually only applies to breeders who sell their dogs to pet stores or other businesses instead of to private homes or sell pets sight unseen over the Internet.