In the Federal Republic, the individual state governments are responsible for determining the rights and obligations of dog owners by law or ordinance. Dog owner duties depend on the place of residence. The individual state dog laws or ordinances form the legal framework for keeping a dog.

The municipalities usually ensure compliance with and monitoring of dog laws, but can issue their own rules to protect public safety within federal and state law. Even if security is within the competence of the federal states, there are four legal requirements at federal level that are essential for keeping dogs.

The four important federal dog laws

1. Animal welfare as a state goal. In 2002, animal welfare was included in the Basic Law and made a state goal. Article 20a of the Basic Law serves both as the basis for the German Animal Welfare Act and for the general Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance.

2. Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance. This regulation applies only to keeping and breeding dogs. Above all, it contains general requirements for how a dog must be kept by private individuals and commercial breeders. In this context, the following federal law, which is also relevant for the state dog legislation, plays an important role

3. Dog Movement and Import Restriction Act. Anyone wishing to bring a dog to the German vicinity (from abroad) is required to follow the strict regulations on the movement or import of animals (includes dogs) into Germany. The law states that the following dog breeds may not be imported into Germany:

  • Pitbull-Terrier
  • American-Staffordshire-Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bull Terrier

Strict rules of importation or keeping them apply.

4. Liability for animal keepers. Dog owners must pay compensation if their dog harms another animal or human. Animal welfare liability is set out in Article 833 of the Civil Code. Case law shows: The owner of a dog can also be held liable for damage if another person looks after the animal or if neither the dog nor the owner is at fault.

If you are about to migrate to Germany and you have pets to bring with you, it is important to be aware of these set rules about dogs. You may also want to customize your home for the safety of your pets. Installing fences and dog doors (read dog door reviews) can help keep your pets happy while in Germany.