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JonP 15.06.2021 21:10

Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
My Labrador passed away last week after spending 13 happy years with me and my family.

Back in 2008 when we got him, he was a rescue at 9 months from a family that couldn't look after him. We found him on Ricardo of all places! I was looking for a Spaniel at the time and he was a happy, very lucky find.

In a couple of months, after we have had a chance to let his memory pass, we would like to start looking for another.

My dog was pure English Labrador (shorter and stickier than Canadian Labs, with longer, thicker fur) and he had the temperament of an angel, he was kind and patient, a bit stubborn, and would eat until he weighed 300kg if we let him (we kept him at a stable 35kg for most of his life) and we would love to find another dog of a similar personality.

I understand that breeding kennels have been closed in Switzerland? How can I start looking for other dogs? The local SPA only has two dogs, neither Labradors, and that can't share a house with other animals, so unfortunately they are not an option. Any other ideas of where to go?

If I'm wrong about the kennel closures in Switzerland, please can you help identify one that has the mother dog in the house as a pet, and gives mother dogs breaks between pregnancies.

I'm happy not to go for a pedigree, it's their personality that's important to us, it's going to become a friend, not a Guchy bracelet.

Thanks all.

Island Monkey 15.06.2021 21:47

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland

I don't think breeders in Switzerland have stopped due to Covid, my dog's breeder has had a litter this year and last.

If you want a labrador, you can find breeders here https://www.retriever.ch/de

Rayne 15.06.2021 23:08

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
We recently adopted a lovely young dog from a rescue centre in Thurgau, helpforanimals
They also run a rescue centre in Bulgaria and some dogs suitable for adoption are sent to Switzerland every month or so. All the paperwork, vaccinaions, microchip etc is sorted out in advance.

meloncollie 15.06.2021 23:15

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.

AnnaSophiaA 16.06.2021 08:43

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
I see on Anibis all the time people who have bought a puppy and are rehoming due to various reasons ... that could be a place to start. Breeders have not necessarily closed down, but waiting lists are longer than usual.

Meloncollie knows the Swiss scene, especially regarding darker things, much better than I do. She is a treasure to share all her knowledge time and again! I would just add one thing, at the risk of repeating myself and at the risk of getting a tap on the wrist ... breeding “officially” with papers in Switzerland is a very very difficult process. If you are confident in your ability to assess a breeder, there are some very good ones who “hobby breed” but who do all the health testing and who take incredibly good care of their puppies. Whether you choose official breeders or hobby breeders you do have to have a certain amount of knowledge going into the process to be sure you’re not blinded by the cute little pups and can instead focus on what the breeder does and the quality they can offer you. A really good start for a puppy is paramount for easier training and easier adjustment to daily life outside the litter. A pup who has never left the farm ... well I took in one of those as a rehome last summer—and he had papers.

Kittster 16.06.2021 09:55

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
I am so sorry to hear you had to say goodbye to your friend. 13 years is a good innings for a Labrador, you must have taken great care of him, but of course it is always too soon for a pet shaped hole in our hearts.

Dogs are not my field of expertise but I also wanted to caution against bogus rescue operations. They have of course cottoned on to people feeling better about rescuing/adopting a dog than just buying one. They dress up as a shelter type organisation but mysteriously only have recognised breeds available for "adoption".

The other thing is those breeders who know that people cannot help but want to help a sick puppy, even if they caused it to be sick. Tiktok and Instagram is full of people who show off their "rescue dog", only to reveal that they "rescued them from a really dodgy breeder". Did they have the breeder shut down? Of course not. Was the puppy part of those seized during a raid where the breeder was shut down? Also nope. Hate to break it to them but that is not rescuing, it is supporting a dreadful business model because you were too cheap to get your toy Pomerhuahua from a reputable breeder.
Ok, I'll stop ranting...

In other news: can I just extend a huge thanks to the amazing meloncollie for her tireless and comprehensive support in all things canine. She is a precious resource and so generous with her time. To use the parlance of Gen Z, we must protecc her at all cost.

squeezethecroc 16.06.2021 10:47

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by JonP (Post 3317962)

I understand that breeding kennels have been closed in Switzerland? How can I start looking for other dogs? The local SPA only has two dogs, neither Labradors, and that can't share a house with other animals, so unfortunately they are not an option. Any other ideas of where to go?

Thanks all.

Here's one sad doggo looking for love
(Animal Welfare Valais, near Nandoz


Apparently, he's not good with small children or cats, although that's sometimes to do with lack of love and training.

Animal Welfare in the German speaking part of Valais have their own website, although they don't have any dogs up for adoption at the moment, but worth checking every so often.

3Wishes 16.06.2021 13:58

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
I can't offer any advice, but I wanted to say I'm sorry to read about your pet. I hope you find a new friend when the time is right.

Island Monkey 16.06.2021 14:35

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
The kennels we take our dog to when on holiday also looks after starts etc. They are looking for foster families https://www.tierpensionfurrer.com/ When we picked our dog up a month ago they had a dog that had just had a litter of puppies, super cute. Think it was a Malinos.

eng_ch 18.06.2021 16:53

Re: Obtaining a pet dog in Switzerland
I'm so sorry for your loss. It took us 10 months to be ready for a new dog after losing Heros :(

Our new dog came from a rescue in the Jura - www.grisette.ch. They are partnered with a rescue in Spain and bring in 4-5 dogs at a time to Switzerland when they have the money to fly them over. They mostly focus on galgos (Spanish greyhounds) but they don't leave dogs behind, so a small proportion of the dogs they have are of other breeds - Belgian and German shepherds, small Heinz dogs etc. Their website impressed me because they put up huge amounts of information about each dog, including being very open about any health issues so people can make an informed decision - compare and contrast the mostly 3-line ads from other rescue centres.

I can vouch that they are thorough home checks etc. We got all the paperwork including import papers, VAT payments and test results for Mediterranean diseases, so whilst we can only surmise what happened to Shadow before the Spanish rescue saved him (and we get indications every day grrr), we know almost everything about him since Jan 2020.

FWIW another EF user fostered for them last autumn and I believe was equally impressed.

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