Owning Pet Animals in France

Identification and Registration
It is compulsory that dogs have identification (either tattoo in the ear or a microchip inserted beneath the skin) and registration.


  • All dogs entering France from within or outside the EU must be identified by tattoo or microchip
  • All dogs in départements declared as having rabies must be identified (consult a vet)
  • All dogs being bought or sold must be identified
  • Note:The only exemption is in the case of a dog born before 6 January 1999 that has remained in France all it’s life with the same owner

Veterinarians and Animal Health
The laws of the Ordre des Vétérinaires prohibit publication of a list of English speaking vets.The website of the Ordre des Vétérinaires of France has many useful links to animal nutritional suppliers,dog,cat and horse breeders and much more (in French).

Dog vaccination
No vaccination is compulsory for a dog living in France.However,if the dog is travelling to a foreign country,it must be vaccinated against rabies.The majority of France is rabies free,however,there have been cases of rabies since November 2007 and restrictions on the movement of dogs and cats not vaccinated against rabies may apply.

  • For information about rabies from the Department of Agriculture:Click here (in French)

Vets recommend that all owners vaccinate their dogs.They should be vaccinated annually for the following:

  • C – Carré (Distemper)
  • H – Hépatite de Rubarth or hépatite contagieuse canine (infectious hepatitis)
  • P – La Parvovirose (Parvovirus)
  • L – La Leptospirose (Leptospirosis)
  • R – La Rage (Rabies).Essential if travelling across EU borders with a dog
  • PI – La toux de chenil Para-Influenza (Kennel Cough).Dogs moving to France from the UK may not have been injected against Kennel Cough.If a dog is to go into boarding accommodation in France,it would be wise to vaccinate against this

Note:The Piroplasmose parasite carried on certain ticks can kill a dog in as little as three days.The vaccination protects against this dangerous tick found in certain parts of France.If travelling in France with a dog,consult a vet about the need for this vaccine.

Travelling with a Pet
All pet owners travelling with a dog,cat or ferret in the European Union must carry the European Pet Passport.This records up-to-date vaccinations,identification and a certificate of good health issued by a vet.This is compulsory when entering another country (including Corsica),and for visiting most French campsites,holiday resorts and hotels.Please consult a vet for full details.

Public transport

  • Train:A supplement should be paid for an animal to travel in a basket,and half-fare if on a lead
  • Air:An animal may travel in a basket as hand-baggage (if small enough) or in the baggage hold on some airlines
  • Ship:The animal has to stay in the kennels or the hold. Brittany Ferries are approved carriers for pets travelling under the PETS Travel Scheme.They have onboard kennels and pet-friendly cabins.

Boarding kennels and cateries

  • Check with the Préfecture that the kennel/boarding facility is licensed
  • Pay a visit to make sure it is satisfactory
  • Get a written agreement on dates and details from the kennel
  • Provide instructions with any special medication or food the pet may need
  • Provide copies of identification and health certificate

Some beaches allow dogs,and some have restrictions on when they are allowed on a beach.All syndicats d’initiative and Tourist Offices (offices du tourisme) make this information available.If information is needed about a specific location,contact either of them.The SPA also publishes dog beaches on its website but be aware,that the list may be incomplete – if a town has not responded to their request for information it does not feature on the page.

Buying,Selling and Giving Away a Pet
All dogs and cats being bought, sold or given away must be identified by microchip.Puppies and kittens may be advertised for sale or give away under the identification number of their mother but must be issued with their own identification number before changing hands.

The person giving/selling the animal provides:

  • Microchip details with the ID card
  • Contract or sales certificate with the full names and address of the seller and buyer,the date of sale,price and the consulting vet

In addition,for a pedigree animal:

  • Birth certificate or pedigree
  • Vaccination book (not compulsory)
  • Information booklet detailing tips on needs,features and training recommendations of the animal

Animals Lost and Found
If an animal is lost,take action as quickly as possible.If it is a dog,cat or ferret and can be identified by tattoo or microchip contact,it can be identified and reported through the Fichier National d’Identification des Carnivores Domestiques (I-CAD):

  • I-CAD Tel: 08 10 77 87 78

A found animal declaration can be made online with a tattoo or microchip number.Veterinarians and animal shelters have equipment that can read the microchip number.

Lost animal

  • Act as quickly as possible
  • Notify the local police,pompiers and vets in the area the animal was lost
  • Put up notices (with a photograph of the pet,if possible) in the vets,Mairie and shops of the area it went missing
  • Contact the local animal shelters in the area
  • If the animal has identification,contact the National Pet Register (I-CAD)

Animal found

  • Notify the local police,fire service (pompiers) and vets in the area the animal was found,supplying a full description and the tattoo number if the animal has one (usually stamped inside the ear or on the inner thigh)
  • If the animal has identification,contact the National Pet Register (I-CAD)

These organisations have records of the owner and will contact them.

  • If the animal has no identification,or the finder is unable to look after it while the owner is located,take it to an animal shelter
  • Make sure that the police,fire service (pompiers) and vets know where it has been taken

Chien Perdu is a website where dog owners can post a free-of-charge advertisement if they have lost their dog.

Abused Animal,What to do
Assault,ill-treatment,abandonment,torture and neglect all constitute mistreatment and are punishable by fine or imprisonment under French law.Conviction and sentencing is the jurisdiction of the Courts.

  • Report what has been seen to the local police,court authorities,or if there is one,the local animal protection organisation
  • The complaint will be taken to the State prosecutor who will decide whether to lay charges
  • If the police are unhelpful, you are entitled to write (giving full details) to the State prosecutor at the Tribunal de Grande Instance (Regional Court) in the area where the events took place.They may decide whether to order an investigation

Animal welfare regulations

  • There are heavy penalties for cruelty and mistreatment of an animal
  • The sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old is prohibited
  • Public inspectors may enter business premises and animal transport vehicles if they feel that an animal may be in distress
  • Public inspectors may also break into a vehicle parked in full sun if an animal’s life is endangered,and in an emergency, they may order that an animal is removed to a shelter

Owners of category 1 and category 2 dogs (dogs classed as dangerous) have certain obligations to fulfill:the dog must be registered with the town hall and the owner must carry a licence for the dog issued by the town hall.This licence is the Permis de détention d’un chien de 1er ou 2ème categorie.

  • Information brochure on Chiens Dangereux: Click here (PDF in French)

Note: Any person selling or giving away a dog must provide a certificate issued by a vet,indicating the category to which the dog belongs.Note that category 1 dogs may not be sold or given away.

Dogs classed as dangerous

  • Category 1:Attack dogs (chiens d’attaque):Staffordshire terrier and American Staffordshire terrier (Pitbull terriers) without pedigree registration,Mastiff (Boerbull) without pedigree registration,Tosa without pedigree papers
  • Category 2:Guard dogs (chiens de guarde et défense):Rottweiler (pedigreed), Staffordshire terrier and American Staffordshire terrier (pedigreed),Tosa Inu (pedigree).These dogs must be registered with a pedigree which is recognised by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.Also included,unpedigree and cross breeds dogs with «the appearance of a Rottweiller».

Note:The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a smaller breed than other Staffordshire breeds,with no proven dangerous tendencies.It is not classified as a dangerous dog.

  • More information on the Staffordshire Bull Terrier under point «2»:Click here (in French)

Owning a dangerous dog
A person may only own a dog on the list of «dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs» (chien susceptible d’être dangereux) if they:

  • are aged 18 or older and if over 18 must not be under supervision
  • have not have been convicted of a crime or imprisoned
  • have not previously had the right to own a dangerous dog withdrawn

Getting a permit/licence
It is obligatory to register the dog at the Town Hall (Mairie) and receive a licence (Permis de détention).Any dangerous dog owner without a permit may be fined and imprisoned.A form must be completed and submitted to the town hall along with the following documents:

  • A behavioral assessment of the dog,performed by a veterinarian
  • A certificate of competency of the owner,issued by a certified trainer following a training course (themairie can provide the contact details of certified dog trainers in a region)
  • Proof of identification of the dog
  • Proof of valid anti-rabies inoculation
  • Proof of third party public liability insurance for the owner or handler of the dog
  • Proof of sterilisation (in the case of a category 1 dog)

If the dog is not yet eight months old,a provisional permit is issued and the dog must undergo a full behavioral evaluation at one year of age before the full licence can be drawn up.

The registration forms can be downloaded online:

  • Category 1 dog:Relevant documents for registration: Click here
  • Category 2 dog:Relevant documents for registration: Click here

Dog owners’ responsibilities
Any dog,regardless of its category,which bites or injures a person must be reported to the town hall by the owner.The dog then undergoes a behavioural evaluation by a vet who will advise what the next steps will be.

Category 1 dog:

  • Acquisition,sale,purchase and importing these dogs is banned
  • Sterilisation of male and female dogs is compulsory (must have a veterinary certificate to prove this)
  • Access to public transport,public places and common areas in apartment buildings is prohibited
  • The dog may be taken to wide open places but must be kept on a lead and muzzled

Category 2 dog:

  • It must be leashed and muzzled in public places and on public transport

Official information and forms

Much information is available from the French government:

  • For information on the Permis de détention:Click here (in French)

Animal Identification
Any person who owns a sheep or goat – whether as a professional farmer or not,and whether keeping an animal for commercial reasons or not – must ensure the maintenance of the identification of these animals.Even if a person owns just one goat,the same rules apply.

All sheep and goats must be identified with a numéro d’exploitation from the local EDE (Etablissement Départemental d’Elevage),or GDS (Groupement de Défense Sanitaire). These are departmental associations whose role is to survey the health of animals.The GDS are recognised and subsidised by the government.
Animals born before the 31 July 2005 keep their original identification number and under no means can this identification number be changed.
All animals born after the 31 July 2005 must receive a permanent,ear tag in each ear within 6 months of their birth or before they are sold or moved.(Lambs bred for slaughter before the age of 12 months need be tagged in one ear only).

The identification number contains the following information:

  • Code of the country of birth (FR for France)
  • A six digit identification code
  • Five digits which may indicate the birth date of the animal

Tags can be ordered from the local EDE or GDS.It is the owner’s responsibility to replace lost ear tags.

The owner or breeder of the sheep and goats must keep a identification log (registre d’exploitation) which contains the following:

  • A list of tags and identification numbers for each animal
  • Date the identification took place
  • Movement documents.These must accompany the animal if it is transported elsewhere
  • An inventory list indicating the number of animals in the flock or herd

A fine per animal can be imposed on owners of unidentified animals.Each animal that is not tagged will be seized and put down.

For further informations:


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