This guide explains what all dog owners in Berlin must know. The rules can be different in the rest of Germany.
Coming to Germany
Taking dogs or cats to Germany – The German Way
Moving to the EU with pets – PerPETual
Registration, taxes and permits
Register your dog – Berlin.de
Outside your home, your dog must wear a collar with its name and address.3
You must register dogs of dangerous breeds at the Ordnungsamt. Pitbulls, American Staffordshire Terriers and Bull Terriers are considered dangerous breeds.4
This costs 30€. If you move, you must also report the address change. If you leave Berlin, you must deregister your dog at the Ordnungsamt.
Register a dangerous breed – Berlin.de
To walk your dog without a leash, you need a dog handler certificate (Hundeführerschein). You can get it at certain dog schools. It costs 80€ to 100€.5 You must take a theory exam and a practical exam. In the practical exam, you must prove that your dog follows your commands.5 Your dog must be at least 15 months old.6
List of certified dog trainers in Berlin (2016, in German) – Berlin.de
Apply for the Hundeführerschein (in German) – Berlin.de
When you get the Hundeführerschein, you also get a green tag (grüne Plakette). Your dog must wear it on its collar.
You can add your dog to the TASSO register. It’s free. You will get a dog tag (TASSO-Plakette) with a number on it. This helps people return your dog if it gets lost.
Insurances for your dog
Dog liability insurance
You must get dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung).
This insurance covers you if your dog…
- Harms a person, or another dog
- Gets another dog pregnant
- Damages another person’s things
- Damages the apartment you rent
It does not cover you if your dog…
- Gets sick
- Bites a member of your family
- Damages your own property
Your coverage must be at least 1 million euros.18 If you travel with your dog, make sure your insurance also covers you in other countries. If your dog is a dangerous breed, make sure your insurance covers dangerous breeds.
Pet health insurance
Dog health insurance (Tierkrankenversicherung) is optional.
It covers the veterinarian bills when your dog gets sick. It rarely covers routine operations like vaccines or castration, but it covers expensive operations.9 This can be important when your dog gets old.
The cost depends on your dog’s age, race and sex. Basic coverage costs around 20€ per month. Full coverage costs around 60€ per month.
How to behave with a dog
You must be nice to your neighbours. If your dog barks all the time, or if you leave dog poop in the community area, you could get kicked out of your apartment.16
You must collect your dog’s poop, and put it in a trash bin. When you walk your dog, you must carry poop bags with you. If the Ordnungsamt catches you without a bag, you can get a 35€ to 250€ fine.
Dogs on public transit
You can bring dogs on public transit. They might need a ticket too.
Dogs in restaurants and stores
Most businesses allow dogs inside.10 Grocery stores do not allow dogs inside.
Restaurants and bars only allow dogs if they have a closed kitchen.10 Always ask if you can bring your dog inside.
How to meet other dog owners
In Berlin, use the Dog owners in Berlin Facebook group.
Most neighbourhoods have unofficial WhatsApp groups for dog owners. Ask other dog owners at the park, or on Nebenan.
Use these apps to find a dog sitter:
Finding an apartment with a dog
It’s harder to find an apartment that allows dogs.13 It’s even harder with big dogs.15 Landlords can’t ban all dogs, but they just give the apartment to someone else. Most of the time, you need the landlord’s permission to have a dog.14