Regulated Animals in Spain

Understand what constitutes a dangerous dog and how to correctly register your pet...

There are restrictions on owning certain breeds of dog and potentially dangerous animals in Spain. Laws are regulated by the Autonomous Communities (Comunidades Autónomas), which impose a wide variety of rules and regulations within the country.

Each town and region have their own dog regulations and licence application procedures. For comprehensive information and links visit the Citizens Advice website

In general, the following are considered as dangerous animals and owned under specific conditions:

  • Wild animals including: reptiles (alligators, crocodiles and poisonous snakes), any wild animal weighing over two kilograms, poisonous fish and mammals weighing over 10 Kg when adult.

Note: From October 2008, residents in Andalucía are forbidden from owning exotic or wild animals as pets. Residents have six months to declare their pets at the local town hall and deliver them to the designated authorised establishment. This applied to:

  • Crocodiles, caimans, poisonous amphibians and fish, snakes, spiders and insects
  • All species of reptile that weigh over 2 kilograms when fully-grown
  • All primates and wild mammal species that weigh more than 10 kilograms as adults (for carnivores this is limit is 5 kilograms)

All dog, cat and ferret owners in Andalucía are required to register their animals on the Animal Identification Registry of Andalucía (Registro Andaluz de Identificación Animal, RAIA). Owners have three months to register their pets, except for those with a potentially dangerous breed of dog who have one month to obtain the necessary licence.

Dangerous Dogs

Any person owning a potentially dangerous dog  (perros potencialmente peligrosos) in Spain must have an appropriate licence (by law of article 3 of the Royal Decree 287/2002, of 22 of March 2002) and the dog must be registered with the municipality. Spain introduced a dangerous dog license #50/99 in 2007 and updated the laws in 2008 and 2009.

Handlers and walkers of dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs must also be licenced (article 1, 2 of Law 50/1999, of December 1999). A licence is valid for five years. Owners of a potentially dangerous dog are required to hold a public liability insurance cover. Vets are not permitted to microchip or administer the rabies vaccine to any new dog listed as a dangerous dog breed without the stamped letter of registration from the local Town Hall. Persons with a criminal record are not permitted to obtain a license.

The owner also requires a report from a specially appointed psychologist stating they are capable of owning a potentially 'dangerous dog'. Dog owners must also attend a specific training course where a vet will access the dog for signs of agression. Failure to obtain the appropriate license will result in a large fine and the possible termination of the dog.

Potentially dangerous dog are identified as being in one of three categories:

1) Breeds and breed crosses classified as potentially dangerous:

  • Doberman (Andalucia only)
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • English Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Tosa Inu
  • Akita Inu
  • Mastiffs
  • Dogo de Burdeos
  • Dogo del Tibet
  • Mastin Napolitano
  • Canary Presa
  • Mallorcan Presa (Ca de Bou)

The above dogs must be muzzled when taken out in public and are banned from areas with children such as parks and schools etc.

2) Dogs with certain characteristics of these breeds are also classified as potentially dangerous. The characteristics are:

  • Strong musculature, powerful or athletic constitution, robustness, agility, vigor and endurance
  • Short hair
  • Deep chest (60 to 80 cm), height of over 50 cm and a weight over 20 Kg
  • Big, square, head, with a wide skull and strong jaws
  • Broad, short and muscled neck.
  • Straight, parallel forelegs and muscular hindquarters, relatively long back legs standing at an angle

3) Dogs that have a track record of aggression to humans and other animals must also be licenced and registered.

Dog owner licence application

The licence application is made to the municipality of the place of residence. The applicant must take the following (an applicant must be over 18 years):

  • Proof of identity (passport or residence card)
  • Proof of having no criminal convictions
  • Proof of being mentally and physically capable of looking after one of these animals. (There are centres test of physical and psychological aptitude can be done and a certificate issued. The certificate must have been issued in the previous 12 months)
  • An insurance contract for the dog with a liability of at least €120,000 (€175,000 in Andalucia)
  • Proof of fully up-to-date vaccinations
  • Proof of identification by microchip
  • Proof that the dog is or has attended training school
  • Two passport sized photographs
  • Pets insurance policy

Once accepted, a licence (the licencia para tener perros potencialmente peligrosos) is issued.

Dog registration

Potentially dangerous dogs must be registered with the municipal registry for dangerous dogs (Registro Municipal de Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos). Registration of the dog must be renewed annually.


  • Proof of identification and microchip number's certificate
  • Certificate from the vet stating that the dog is in good health

Walking a potentially dangerous dog

Dog owners or handlers must carry the licence and dog registration document when out with the dog. The dog must be muzzled and on a lead of no more than two metres long (one metre in Andalucia). Only one dog may be handled per person. In Andalucia, dangerous animals are banned from entering children's leisure or recreational areas.

Note: In most municipalities, only one dog may be registered to one person. The property where the dogs are kept must be enclosed by a two metre high barrier.

Dangerous dog owners must display a 'dangerous dog' sign outside their property. If the dog goes missing the police must be informed within 24 hours of the animal going missing.

  • Further information on dog licences and regulations is available from the CIAA (Centro Integral de Acogida de Animales): (in Spanish)