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Old 19.01.2011, 13:23
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Dog ownership in CH

Hi All,

I am new on the forum. We currently lve in the UK and are considering a move in the near future.

Can someone enlighten me what the regulations for dog ownership are in CH. We would like to get a dog again once we have moved and settled.

Is there any regulation about cats? We still have our cat (13 years old) and he would need to move with us.

Thanks in advance

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Old 19.01.2011, 14:13
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Re: Dog ownership in CH

To import your cat from the UK, see the BVet website for instructions:


Dog ownership is regulated in Switzerland - there are billions of threads here in the Pet Corner discussing this. Do a bit of a search for similar topics to get a feel for just how regulated life is here.

In a nutshell, dog ownership is regulated at both the federal and cantonal levels. You will need to comply with both sets of laws.

At the federal level, if you are a first time dog owner you will need to take the mandatory theory course (SKN Theorie) before you acquire your dog. All dog owners, regardless of experience, are then required to take a practical course (SKN praxiskurs) within 12 months of acquiring your dog. This course is required for every dog you acquire while resident in Switzerland.

All dogs must be microchipped and registered with ANIS, the national database, and with your Gemeinde. This needs to be done within 10 days of acquisiton, only a vet can do the ANIS registration. The animal control folks at your Gemeinde will tell you exactly what needs to be done.

See the BVet for specifics:


Most dog control issues are regulated at the cantonal level, so depending on where you live you will need to familiarize yourself with those laws. An overview can be found here:


Be aware that several cantons have implemented BSL, in those cantons some breeds or mixes thereof are either restricted or banned althogether. An owner of a restricted breed may be required to obtain a special permit. Zürich has the most restrictive BSL.

There is a annual dog tax to be paid, the amount varies by canton/Gemeinde. Roughly speaking, expect around CHF 100-200 per dog.

Most cantons require you to hold liability insurance, usually a cover of 1-3 million. This is usually purchased as part of your Privathaftpflicht.

With the exception of SZ (where dogs must be kept leashed at all times in public), dogs are allowed off lead in many areas - but the dog must be under voice control at all times. There will be areas where a dog is required to be on lead, usually near schools, in nature conservation areas, in forests during spring and hunting season, on busy streets, etc. There will be areas where dogs are forbiddn - usually swimming areas, post offices, grocery stores, cemeteries. See your local Gemeinde for the areas where restrictions apply.

There are hosts of other rules and regulations. (Welcome to Switzerand!)

Be aware that there is, sadly, an increasing anti-dog sentiment in Switzerland. Make sure that you have your landlord's permission to keep a dog written into your lease from the start, and be aware that there might be issues with neighbors. Search the forum, there are many threads on this issue.

How's your German/French/Italian/Romansch? If not up to taking the SKN courses in a local language, you'll need to find a trainer who will do so in English - again, search the forums, there are several related threads.


And if I may make a special plea...

When you decide that the time is right to bring a dog into your family, please consider giving a home to a rescue dog. There is a Swiss-wide database of animals in need, searchable by type of animal, age, gender, canton, and various other criteria:


There are so many wonderful pets in need of a loving home, just waiting for the right person to come along.

Good luck with your move, and may you and your critters enjoy your Swiss adventure.


Last edited by meloncollie; 19.01.2011 at 14:27.
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Old 24.01.2011, 11:13
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Re: Dog ownership in CH

Thank you, that is most informative. I have found the posts on EF on the whole quite good.

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