This is a list of things you must know and do if you want to have a dog in Germany.
Bringing your dog to Germany
Taking dogs or cats to Germany – The German Way
Moving to the EU with pets – PerPETual
Registration, taxes and permits
Dog registry and dog tax
In Germany, you must register your dog in many different places:
- At the Finanzamt
You must register for the dog tax (Hundesteuer). It costs 120€/year for one dog. It costs 180€/year for each extra dog.
- In the dog registry (Hunderegister)
In Berlin, you must add your dog to the Hunderegister. This costs 17.50€.
- At the Ordnungsamt
If your dog is a dangerous breed, you must register it at the Ordnungsamt.
You can also add your dog to the TASSO register for free. You will get a dog tag (TASSO-Plakette) with a number on it. If you lose your dog and someone finds it, they can use this number to find you.
Identification badge and chip
Rules for dangerous breeds
Pitbulls, American Staffordshire Terriers and Bull Terriers are considered dangerous breeds.4 In most states, there are many requirements to own those dogs. The complete list of requirements for Berlin is on Berlin.de.
In Berlin, you must register dogs with dangerous breeds at the Ordnungsamt. 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.
In Berlin and Lower Saxony, you need a dog handler certificate (Hundeführerschein) to walk your dog without a leash. If you don’t have a Hundeführerschein, you can only let your dog without a leash in a dog park or Hundeauslaufgebiet. The Hundeführerschein is optional.
You can get a Hundeführerschein at certain dog schools. In Berlin, 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.
The Ordnungsamt often patrols parks in Berlin. They give fines to people who walk dogs without a leash, or without a Hundeführerschein.
Insurances for your dog
Dog liability insurance
Dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung) is mandatory in Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Thuringia. This insurance pays for the damages caused by your dog. It’s sometimes called pet liability insurance (Tierhaftpflichtversicherung) or pet owner liability insurance (Tierhalterhaftpflichtversicherung).
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
This insurance does not cover you if your dog…
- …gets sick
- …bites a member of your family
- …damages your own property
In Berlin, your coverage must be at least 1 million euros.3 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.
Hundehaftpflichtversicherung is cheap. It costs less than 5€ per month. Use Tarifcheck to compare prices. If you don’t speak German, Feather and Getsafe sell dog liability insurance, and they speak English. They cover dangerous breeds.
Pet health insurance
You can also get pet health insurance (Tierkrankenversicherung). If your dog gets sick, this insurance covers the veterinarian bills. It rarely covers routine operations like vaccines or castration,8 but it covers expensive operations. This can be important when your dog gets old.
The price of pet insurance depends on the age, race and sex of your dog. Basic coverage costs around 20€ per month. Full coverage costs around 60€ per month. Use Tarifcheck to compare prices. If you don’t speak German, Getsafe and Feather sell pet health insurance, and they speak English.
How to behave with a dog
When you walk your dog in Berlin, you must carry poop bags with you. If your dog poops, you must put it in the bag, and throw it in the trash. If the Ordnungsamt catches you without a bag, you can get a 35€ to 250€ fine.
Dogs on public transit
Dogs in restaurants and stores
Most businesses allow dogs inside.9 Grocery stores do not allow dogs inside.
Restaurants only allow dogs if they have a closed kitchen.9 Always ask the restaurant employees before you 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.
These apps that help you find a dog sitter:
Finding an apartment with a dog
It can be hard to find an apartment that allows dogs.12 Only ~20% of apartments explicitly allow dogs. You need the landlord’s permission to keep a dog in the apartment.13 The landlord can refuse tenants with dogs.14 Most websites let you search for apartments that allow dogs.