Dog Licences and Laws

If you have a dog over four months old you must have a licence for him/her and the person to whom the licence is issued must be over 16 years of age.   All dogs are required to be licensed each year under the Control of Dogs Act 1986.

You can purchase an annual (€20) or lifetime (€140) licence for your dog at your local Post Office or you can buy one online at

Local authorities are responsible for the control of dogs under the Control of Dogs Act 1986. They can appoint dog wardens, provide dog shelters, seize dogs, impose on-the-spot fines and take court proceedings against dog owners. If you are a dog owner, you must have a dog licence and get your dog microchipped.

The Dog Warden regularly performs licence inspections throughout the Country. If you fail to produce a valid licence for inspection the Warden will issue a fine of €100.00 under the Control of Dogs Act 1986 and failure to pay the fine will result in a prosecution. Failure to pay this fine can lead to a prosecution with a maximum fine of €4,500 and/or up to 3 months imprisonment, if convicted.

Keeping Your Pet Under Control:

Failure to keep your dog under effectual control will result in a fine of €100.00.

This includes your dog being unaccompanied in any public place or not being kept under control in public and excessive barking which causes a nuisance to any person.

Additionally it is an offence to walk a dog on certain beaches under the Beach Bye-Laws.  Check with your local county council.

Dog Fouling:

Under the Litter Pollution Act 1997 it is an offence not to clean up after your dog. Failure to clean up after your dog’s waste can lead to a €150 “on-the-spot” fine. Failure to pay this fine can lead to a prosecution with a maximum fine of €4,000, if convicted.

Dogs are responsible to a large degree for an infection known as toxocariasis.  Children are more commonly infected by this infection as they are most likely to handle contaminated soil.  Anyone who has walked in dog dirt knows how messy, smelly and unpleasant it is.  Not cleaning up after your dog in public areas is anti-social and totally unacceptable and an offence.


Certain breeds of dog MUST be muzzled at all times when out in public. All restricted dog breeds in Ireland must be muzzled when out in public.  Check here for updates on restricted breeds.

Restricted dog breeds in Ireland –

American Pitt Bull Terrier Japanese Akita
Ban Dog Japanese Tosa
Bull Mastiff Rhodesian Ridgeback
Doberman Pinscher Rottweiler
English bull Terrier Staffordshire Bull Terrier
German Shepard/Alsatian    Any crossbreed from this list

These dogs must also be lead by a person over the age of 16 and kept on a strong chain or lead not longer than 2 metres.

Stray Dogs

Stray dogs will be taken by the dog warden to the dog pound where they must be kept for 5 days.


You cannot lead more than four greyhounds at any time in any public place and they must be led by a sufficiently strong chain or leash.

Dog Identification

Your dog must wear a collar with your name and address inscribed on it or on a plate, badge or disc attached to the collar. If you do not have identification for your dog you can be fined by the dog warden or in the District Court you could get a larger fine or 3 months imprisonment.


The “Micro-chipping of Dogs Regulations, 2015”, require that all pups must be micro-chipped by the time they reach the age of 12 weeks or before they leave the property on which they were born. The micro-chipping must be registered on a Government approved database which can be found here and the breeder or owner must have a certificate from the database containing the pup’s and the owner’s details.

It is illegal to sell, supply, buy or take ownership of a pup that does not have a certificate of micro-chip registration from an approved database. This law applies to all dogs.

Micro-chipping is a simple way to make sure your dog can be identified if it is separated from you. All dogs must always wear a collar and an ID tag with the name and address of its owner when in a public place.