Dog licence

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An Irish dog licence revenue stamp used in 1904 and showing an Irish Wolfhound.
The dog licence tag might be one of several dog tags worn.

A dog licence is required in some jurisdictions to be the keeper of a dog. Usually a dog-licence identifying number is issued to the owner, along with a dog tag bearing the identifier and a contact number for the registering organization. If a stray pet is found with the tag, a rescuer can call the registering organization to get current contact information for the dog's owner.

Licensing a dog might require additional actions on the owner's part, such as ensuring that the dog has a current rabies vaccination. In many jurisdictions a fee, which is usually small, must be paid. Licences typically must be renewed annually or after some small number of years.

Licensing information worldwide[edit]

Dogs need a RMB 500 licence in Beijing, China.
Great Britain
Dog licensing was abolished in 1987. Prior to this dog licences were mandatory, but the requirement was widely ignored, with only about half of owners having one. The final rate for a dog licence was 37 pence, reduced from 37½p when the halfpenny was withdrawn in 1984. This figure was an exact conversion from 7/6 (seven shillings and sixpence) on decimalisation in 1971. The revenue went to local authorities. From 2016 it is a requirement that all dogs in England have a microchip.[1]
Northern Ireland
Dog licences are required under the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983. As of October 2011 dog licences cost £12.50 a year, with reductions for pensioners and owners of neutered dogs.[2]
Dog licences are required. There are three types of licences[3]
  • Individual dog licence – covers one dog for a period of 12 months
  • General dog licence – for owners of kennels for a period of 12 months
  • Lifetime of the dog licence – for the lifetime of the dog for which the licence is issued
Dog ownership is regulated by a "dog tax" as opposed to a dog licence, with the amount due depending on the breed of the dog: dogs deemed "dangerous", such as Pit Bull Terriers, are subject to higher tax.
United States
Most states, municipalities, or other jurisdictions require dog licences[citation needed][4] along with rabies vaccination, and the licence duration cannot exceed the time the vaccine is effective. As a way of preventing the overpopulation of animals, some jurisdictions charge a significantly lower licensing fee if the owner presents veterinary proof that the dog has been spayed or neutered. California and Maryland also have some areas where cat licences are required.[5][6]
Dog licences are required in most cities in Canada, along with proof of rabies vaccination. These requirements are set by the municipality, and exact regulations differ from city to city. Usually municipalities require that all dogs over a certain age are registered, with reduced fees for owners who have veterinary proof that they have spayed or neutered their pet to help with overpopulation. Many owners also choose to tattoo and/or microchip their pets.
A tax was imposed on dog-owners from 1927. But the tax was abolished in 1970.
Dog licences are mandated by state and territory legislation but are issued by local governments (e.g., city or shire councils).[7] Hence the cost of a licence and the format of the licence tag vary across the country. Some areas, such as Victoria, require cat registration and microchipping also.[8]
New Zealand
Under the Dog Control Act 1996 all dogs over 3 months old are required to be registered with the city or district council the dog usually resides in. As a prerequisite, all dogs classified as dangerous or menacing, and all dogs first registered in New Zealand after 1 July 2006 must be micro chipped before they can be registered.
All dog registrations expire yearly on 30 June, and must be renewed by 31 July. Each registered dog must wear a tag specifying the council, registration expiry date, and registration number of the dog, with the colour of the tag changing every year for easy identification (e.g. tags for the 2013/14 year are red). Fees for registration differ between councils, and also differ according to factors such as whether the dog is neutered, living in an urban or rural area, classed as dangerous or menacing, and whether the owner is a responsible dog owner. Fees for working dogs (herding dogs, police dogs, drug dogs, etc.) are generally lower than for pets, and seeing-eye or hearing-ear dogs are generally free or minimal cost to register.
Isle of Man
Dog licences are required.[9]
Dogs must be registered and a yearly tax is paid to the municipality based on the number of dogs. The amount differs between municipalities; for example in The Hague it is €112.80 for the first dog, €176.76 for the second one, and €224.16 for the third one.[10] Other municipalities have scrapped it like Amsterdam in 2016.[11]
Since 2008 an identification microchip is mandatory for each dog over 2 months, and a small fee is associated with it, but it does not need to be renewed.[12]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "150% Increase In Price Of Dog Licence". BBC News. 3 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Dog licensing in Ireland. Dog licences from An Post". An Post. Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Pajer, Nicole. "5 reasons to get your dog licensed". Cesar's Way. Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "PET LICENSING". Department of Animal Care & Control, Los Angeles County. Retrieved 27 Oct 2014. 
  6. ^ Pet License Archived May 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Department of Inspections/Licenses/Permits, Howard County Maryland Government
  7. ^ Australian Official Registers: Ownership and Use: pets Archived May 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ All About Cats Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Responsible Pet Ownership Program, State Government of Victoria
  9. ^ "Licences". Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hondenbelasting". 
  11. ^ "Hondenbelasting 2016". 
  12. ^ "Altalex".