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Old 19.08.2019, 06:54
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Re: moving to switzerland with a dog

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As you probably know (or will soon find out, if you have just started researching) Switzerland is a land of rules and regulations. Private life is regulated here to a degree that is unimaginable to most Americans - dog ownership is no exception.

There have been many threads covering your questions, do a bit of browsing through the Pets section for some interesting reading. But just to get you started:

The BVet explains import regulations:

Be aware that docking and cropping is forbidden in Switzerland, and docked and cropped dogs may not be imported. An exception exists for long time family pets who move at the same time as the family. De-barking is banned too, btw.

Be aware that about half the cantons have enforced BSL, either banning or restricting anywhere from 4 to 13 breeds. An overview of the various cantonal rules - in German - can be found here:

You must have your dog vaccinated against rabies according to the manufacturer's schedule (3 years is most common) to import the dog, and valid vacs are required to cross borders. Once in Switzerland there is no requirement to vaccinate as long as you stay in only Switzerland - but it is strongly recommended. KC is a continual problem here; there was an outbreak of Lepto earlier in the year, and parvo crops up from time to time. Most kennels, dog schools, activity clubs, and competitions will require current vaccination. If you plan on doing any travel across borders you must have vacs up to date in order to do so. Given how small Switzerland is, it's hard not to cross borders.

Yes, dog classes are mandatory - this is called the SKN or Sachkundenachweis. There are two classes - the theory class is required of all first time owners, and the practical course of all dog owners, with each and every dog, so you will be required to take the practical course. As you already have a dog you are probably excused from the theory course, but it is strongly recommended that you take it, as dog ownership in Switzerland is nothing at all like in the US. The theory course will help you understand the law and your responsibilities, and most importantly what Swiss society expects of you. The SKN practical is only a very basic course - it is strongly recommended that you continue taking classes beyond that.

Microchipping is mandatory, as is registration in the national database. This needs to be done within 10 days of arrival or acquisition of the dog. Only a vet can register your dog, so one needs to find a vet soon upon arrival.

One must also register one's dogs with the local Gemeinde - you do this when you register the family. There is an annual dog tax; the amount varies by canton/Gemeinde, but is usually in the CHF 150 per dog range. Some cantons impost a progressive tax for each additional dog in the family.

Most cantons require dog owners to carry liability insurance, usually in the 1-3 million range. Even if not required it is recommended, as damages can be very expensive.

Along the lines of rules and regulations and expectations... be aware that there is a growing anti-dog feeling in Switzerland. The onus is on the dog owner to be in control of one's dog at all times, to be respectful of others.

To understand what Swiss society expects of dog owners, read the BVet's "Hunde Richtig Halten':

Dog owners may have trouble finding housing, especially in this over-heated market. There are so many people chasing the few available properties that a dog owner has to be willing to compromise in order to find appropriate housing -perhaps living in less convenient areas, living in less desirable housing, paying over the odds.

We live in tiny spaces here in overcrowded Switzerland - which can make relations with neighbors difficult for dog owners. The most important thing to understand is that noise is not tolerated, and barking is considered the worst of all noises. Many landlords add a clause that a dog may not be left alone in the flat because of this.


Even with all the regulation, Switzerland by and large remains fairly dog friendly, provided your dog is well trained, well socialized - and that you the owner obey the rules and respect others at all times.

Good luck with your move.

(What brings you to Switzerland, by the way?)
Bit of an exaggeration that with the private life
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