Restrictions on Animals in Germany

Information about restricted breeds, and rules regarding pets in public places in Germany...

Details can be found below of restrictions on breeds considered dangerous and on pets in public, as well as how to travel with pets on public transport.

Restricted Breeds

Attacks on members of the public by certain breeds of dog have led to legislation restricting ownership of dogs deemed to be a danger to the public. The Law on Restrictions for the Introduction and Importation of Dogs (Hundeverbringungs- und einfuhrbeschränkungsgesetz HundVerbrEinfG) came into force in Germany on 1 April 2001. Certain breeds of dog considered as dangerous are no longer allowed into the country. The customs authorities enforce this law. In the main, the following breeds and their cross-breeds will be refused entry:

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

In addition, some other breeds are outlawed by various districts. Dog owners would be well-advised to check with their local authorities. Exceptions are sometimes made for tourists and disabled persons as long as satisfactory paperwork can be supplied to the effect that the dog is not considered of a violent nature.

Pets in Public Places

Although dogs are welcomed in many places, certain establishments (typically those selling food) may not allow them. If this is the case a sign will be displayed which is an image of a dog and the words "Unfortunately, we have to wait outside" (Wir muessen leider draussen warten). The same rules often apply to children's play areas and to cemeteries.

Dogs should be kept on a lead in public places:

  • the lead should be a maximum length of one metre
  • in small parks and sports grounds the lead may be up to two metres long

Although there is no legal requirement to clean up after a dog in public, people are becoming increasingly sensitive about it.

Animals on public transport

Dogs are commonly carried on trains. Most public transport companies allow dogs to travel free, but some (including in Berlin) may demand a standard ticket for two or more dogs.

  • Buses, trams and the metro:
    • Small animals travelling in a cage or other transport housing, as well as small dogs may travel freely
    • Larger dogs may also travel for free but must be muzzled
  • Trains:
    • Pets travelling in cages or similar transport housing as well as small to medium-sized dogs that can fit on a person's knees or in the luggage compartment may be taken on trains free of charge
    • A child ticket must be bought for larger dogs, which must also wear a muzzle (except guide dogs)
    • For international and overnight journeys, a child ticket must be bought for all dogs
    • Seats may not be reserved for dogs