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]


Dog licences are mandated by state and territory legislation but are issued by local governments (e.g., city or shire councils).[1] 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.[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


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.[4]


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.[5] Other municipalities, such as Amsterdam, no longer observe this law.[6]

New Zealand[edit]

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 microchipped 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.

United Kingdom[edit]

In England, Wales and Scotland, 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. In 2016 it became a requirement that all dogs in England and Wales have a microchip;[7] Scottish legislation was also changed to make microchipping of dogs compulsory from 2016.[8]

In 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.[9]

Crown dependencies[edit]

Bailiwick of Guernsey

Dog owners in Guernsey are required to obtain a licence for each dog owned and a dog tax is payable each year.[10]

Isle of Man

Dog licences are required.[11]

United States[edit]

At least some states, municipalities, and other jurisdictions require a dog license[citation needed][12] and rabies vaccination, and a license expires before the vaccine does. To prevent animal overpopulation, some jurisdictions charge a lower licensing fee if the owner presents veterinary proof that the dog has been spayed or neutered. Some parts of California and Maryland require cat licenses.[13][14]


  1. ^ Australian Official Registers: Ownership and Use: pets Archived May 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ All About Cats Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Responsible Pet Ownership Program, State Government of Victoria
  3. ^ "Dog licensing in Ireland. Dog licences from An Post". An Post. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Altalex".
  5. ^ "Hondenbelasting".
  6. ^ "Hondenbelasting 2016".[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Dog microchip date set for England". 6 February 2013 – via
  8. ^ "All Scottish dogs to be microchipped from next year". 4 March 2015 – via
  9. ^ "150% Increase In Price Of Dog Licence". BBC News. 3 October 2011.
  10. ^ "GSPCA".
  11. ^ "Licences". Archived from the original on 11 November 2013.
  12. ^ Pajer, Nicole. "5 reasons to get your dog licensed". Cesar's Way. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  13. ^ "PET LICENSING". Department of Animal Care & Control, Los Angeles County. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  14. ^ Pet License Archived May 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Department of Inspections/Licenses/Permits, Howard County Maryland Government