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Old 15.06.2021, 23:15
meloncollie meloncollie is offline
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Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland

Jon, my condolence on the loss of your pup. Our furry friends are such a large part of our lives - I hope the good memories of those 13 years to help you get through this difficult time.


As you probably have seen while searching, there are not many dogs in rescue in Switzerland right now. Lockdown and WFH has led to many many people wanting canine companionship, pretty much emptying a number of shelters.

Which, of course, is every rescuer's dream.

Several shelters in Switzerland, with few 'Swiss' dogs in need, have started partnering with rescues abroad. But again, the off-and-on border closures have made it somewhat more difficult for rescues to bring dogs here than in the past.

Ditto puppies bred in Switzerland. First, there are not as many active breeders in Switzerland, across most breeds. No, breeding was never closed down during lockdown - but from my own admittedly superficial 'keeping an eye out' it seems that some breeders chose not to breed this last year, for a variety of reasons.

So we have the situation of massively increased demand and fewer dogs available, either from shelters or breeders. To be blunt: You may find you have lots of competition for available dogs. Responsible shelters and breeders are being quite careful in deciding who to give their dogs to. Be prepared for a somewhat more difficult time finding a new furry friend than you might have experienced in the past.

I mention this because it may take time to find your next friend. I know all too well the pain of an empty house and the need to fill that void - but do mentally prepare yourself for the possibility of a longer search.


Island Monkey has given you the link to the Retriever Club in Switzerland, and I'll add it's counterpart in Germany, under the VDH:

Both breed clubs are the place to start for a puppy.

See 'Welpen List' and 'Geplant Würfe'.

You would need to contact each breeder, ask if you can be considered for a pup, or if you can put your name down on a waiting list.


There are also independent or 'dissident' breeders that are not affiliated with the official breed clubs. While I usually steer people first to the SKG or VDH, some of the independents are also good ethical breeders. The question you should ask is why the breeder chose not to affiliate. Make sure you understand the rationale - and make sure you double check all health and temperament tests.

Of course, there are also unafilliated breeders who are not affiliated because they cannot or will not meet standards, or they are BYBs or fronts for the Dark Side.. Avoid these like the plague.

A good breeder (and rescue) will want to assess you before allowing you on the list. Be prepared for questions, be prepared to show that you are the right home for one of their pups. Towards that end, here is an old thread, but a very good one still applicable today, discussing buying from a breeder:

Because of the scarcity of dogs available you will want to put your best foot forward from the initial contact.


If you are interested in a rescue dog, Retriever In Not/ Liberty For Dogs is a good resource. In Germany. This is a rescue specializing in the retriever breeds, as well as dogs of other breeds.


A list (not definitive, though) of all-breed shelters in Switzerland is here:

And here is a thread discussing how to go about adopting a dog from a rescue. Again an old thread, but most of the information, especially how to present yourself, is still relevant:

Again because of the scarcity of dogs available you will want to put your best foot forward from the initial contact.


My interactions are largely with dogdom in the German speaking world. I have little experience with rescues or breeders in France, but nonetheless here are two sites to look at:

Chiens de France, which appears to collate available litters, by breed:

And Second Chance, which lists rescue dogs at shelter throughout France:

I have little personal experience with rescues in France, and none with breeders, so I must again emphasize due diligence.


Unfortunately there is no longer a (non-commercial, controlled) database of homeless animals in Switzerland. After the old one closed down, the alternative is to go through the commercial sites. Probably the better sites are TierOnline and Adopt-a-Pet and Petfinder. Tierwelt also has a dog advertising section - it used to be where some smaller breeders advertised, but for the last year, I mostly see 'Dog wanted' ads rather than dogs for sale/adoption. Again, pandemic.

Some dogs are listed as here in Switzerland, but when you get to the Dossier it says the dog is abroad and can be transported here. Due diligence. (Yeah, I'm sounding like a broken record but it is so very important.)

(I have adopted many dogs from outside Switzerland - but I always travel to the country and shelter where the dog currently is. I spend time there to get to know the dog and the rescue group. I would urge anyone adopting abroad to do so, especially if you have children or resident pets.)

FYI: I am generally not a fan of the 'free ad 'type online sites unless you are very savvy at spotting the Dark Side.


Speaking of which: EYES WIDE OPEN! You need to carefully research both breeders and rescues in Switzerland and abroad - because there are scam artists, battery producers, smugglers, and outright evil barstewards aplenty, posing as both.

This has been a problem for quite some time now in Switzerland but the increased demand for dogs due to lockdown has made it many times worse. Typically the bad actors are located outside Switzerland and traffic the dogs here. A dog bought from the Dark Side perpetuates the cycle of abuse and misery. Don't support these barstewards.

Switzerland is trying to stamp this evil trade out, be aware that dogs entering Switzerland illegally are seized at the border. If the dog does not have proof of valid rabies, the dog must be sent back to it's country of origin at your expense, put into quarantine at the cost of ca 8K paid by you, or the dog will be euthanized. The authorities are taking a very hard line, many puppies have been killed because naive buyers/adopters did not follow regulations.


I must urge caution. You have just gone through a terrible loss - and the Dark Side plays on emotion. Their business model is tugging at your heartstrings. Be careful, and steel yourself to walk away at the first sign of something that feels off.

Here's a thread discussing one member's experience navigating the shark-filled waters of the Dark Side, and her happy ending when she finally found a pup from a good breeder:


As you might find that you have to go abroad to find your pup, either from a legit breeder or legit rescue. FYI, half of Switzerlands 500K dogs came from outside the country, and the number is rising. So be aware of what is required to import a pup back into Switzerland so that you are prepared. The BLV lays it all out:
And the online tool:

And a another point: It is imperative that any dog imported into Switzerland is correctly stamped at the border - which means planning the journey to enter at the points able to check animals, and to coincide with opening hours.


OK, I've nattered on long enough to get you started. If you have questions, please come back to ask.


Wishing you all the best with your search, and again, I am sorry for your loss.

Last edited by meloncollie; 21.06.2021 at 09:44.
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