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Old 29.07.2015, 17:08
meloncollie meloncollie is offline
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Re: Dogo argentino allowed in Swiss?

Since you list your location as Richterswil, can I assume that is where you live?

(Please - this is for anyone reading this, not just the OP - as dog law is set at the federal, cantonal and commune levels, it is important that you state where you live in order for us to give you meaningful answers.)

So making the assumption that you do indeed live in canton ZH:

No, the Dogo is not banned in canton Zürich. However, there is still much you need to understand about dog law in Switzerland. Chief among the things you should research are the training requirements in place for all dog owners in Switzerland, and for owners of large (List 1) dogs in Zürich. Before you bring your dog over, you should understand which laws laws apply to you, and how.

First there is federal law, applicable to all dog owners in all cantons. At this level two classes are required, the SKN Theory class and the SKN Practical class.

The Theory class is required of all first time dog owners, to be taken before acquiring the dog. First time owner is usually defined as not having had a dog registered in your name in the ANIS database. As you are new to CH, of course you don't have a previous registration, even though you already have your dog.

So in the case of foreigners who move to CH with their dogs, you are supposed to contact the cantonal Veterinäramt with your proof of previous ownership for a ruling on whether you are excused from the federal SKN Theory class, or not. Some people are excused, others have been told they must take it. Decisions are made on an individual basis.

Now there is the SKN Practical course to consider. In the case of dogs of larger breeds (45cm/15kg) in canton ZH, there is an additional complication. So let's leave federal law and discuss ZH law for a moment.

Is your dog a purebred Dogo Argentino, or is he by any chance mixed with one of the following breeds:

American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullterier, Staffordshire Bullterrier, American Bull Terrier, Pitbull Terrier, Bandog und Basicdog.

The above list are the banned dogs in canton ZH. In addition, any dog with 10% DNA of one of the banned breeds is also banned. (We saw a case not too long ago where a little dog who looked for all the world like a beagle was deemed to have that 10% DNA match, and the owners were given the choice to move the dog out of ZH or turn it over to be euthanized.)

So assuming there is no mix with one of the banned breeds, as aboveyour Dogo Argentino is not banned in canton ZH. So, for at least a moment, you can breathe a sigh of relief.


Your dog is a List 1 Breed. That means that he is classed as potentially dangerous due to his size, triggering additional education requirements that are specific to canton ZH. The ZH dog law affects dogs born afte 31 Dec 2010. What classes are required depend on the age of the dog - Welpen Forderung, Junghund, Erwachsene. There are a set number of hours of classes that must be taken, and the course must be led by a ZH recognized List 1 trainer.

NOW - if your dog was born before 31 Dec 2010 you are not required to do the List 1 classes - but in that case you still have to do the Federal SKN Practical course. This course is required of all dog owners who acquired a dog after 1 Sept 2008, regardless of breed, and must be done within 12 months of acquiring the dog - or in the case of a foreigner moving here, within 12 months of your arrival.

The ZH List 1 requirements are far more in depth, so the federal SKN is rolled into those courses - which is why the age of your dog is needed to determine what you have to do.

Since you already have to contact the ZH Veterinäramt for a ruling on the Theory Class, if your dog was born after 31 Dec 2010 I would recommend getting them to outline exactly which List 1 classes you would be required to take, and when.


Soooo - there is the law, and then there is the reality of living with a Dogo in ZH - and in Switzerland.

Be aware that Dogos are indeed banned in some cantons. If you wish to travel with your dog you need to check each canton before you go. In some cantons where they are banned you might be allowed to visit if you apply for a permit beforehand, and you might have to comply with muzzling/leash restrictions. see the TIR link given by Longbyt for each canton's regs.

Now - my opinion, based on what the two Dogo owners I know have been through:

Hans Ueli Hundhasser doesn't know a Molosser from a bull breed - so you may need to be prepared to be accused of owning a 'Kampfhund' (Oh how I hate that term!), as many confuse a Dogo with an AmStaff or ABD. A Dogo is a big, powerful dog - and some people may be afraid, some may try to make your life difficult. This is where it is very important that you know the law, can quote chapter and verse when needed. But even more important you MUST be a model dog owner and follow the law at all times, and you must train your Dogo to Swiss standards and beyond, you must respect others, as we all have to share the same crowded spaces.

Toward that end, even if you are excused from the SKN Theory and the ZH List 1 classes I would in the strongest of terms advise you to take the courses anyway. As the owner of a big, powerful dog you will have something of a target painted on your back from the get-go - even when the dog is a gentle giant.

The official courses will help you to understand what is required of you and your dog - and doG forbid, should there ever be a problem having done all the official courses will go a long way in your favor.

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But first I have to learn to read and speak in German
Yes you do.

And I'm not just being facetious here. I abhor BSL and will fight it to the last - but there is the reality to consider. As the owner of a big, powerful dog it is so very important that you learn, understand, and follow the rules to the letter and be able to converse with people you encounter who might have questions about your dog - all of which means learning German.

Again, here is where taking dog training classes comes in helpful. I learned much of my German conversation in the Hundeschule. To be able to 'talk dog' with kindred spirits will help you pick up German - and probably painlessly.

Wishing you and your dog all the best as you settle into Switzerland.

And by the way, one ZH Dogo owner I know choses to exercise his dog in nearby Ausserschwyz...


Has your dog been docked or cropped? Both practices are forbidden in Switzerland (federal law). A foreigner moving to Switzerland with a long time family pet that has been docked or cropped can be granted an exception to the import ban, but there are hoops to jump through. If this applies to you let us know and we can link you to the relevant info.

ETA, again: Just re-read your post and saw that you left your dog behind when you first moved to Switzerland. The exception to the docking/cropping ban only can be granted to people moving with their dog to Switzerland for the first time. So if your dog is docked or cropped you might not be eligible for the exception as you are importing him after you have registered here. Nonetheless, if applicable, speak to the cantonal Veterinäramt or the BLV for specifics.

Again, all the best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 30.07.2015 at 11:45.
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