pet ownership germany

Germany has rules when it comes to pet ownership. It may differ slightly from state to state or city to city but for the most part, there are some commonalities. Some rules may sound absurd especially for expats but they are mostly there for a reason and quite strictly enforced.

What pets can you own in Germany?

The German Customs Office only allows certain animals to be owned as pets in order to both protect the country’s biodiversity, the community, and the animal’s welfare as well.
So, you can own

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Ferrets
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Rats
  • Mice (As well as other rodents
  • Horses
  • Turtles (Or tortoises that are not considered rare)
  • Some fish
  • Parrots
  • Parakeets
  • Pigeons
  • and other kinds of unendangered birds

If you want to bring your pets into Germany, you also need to provide certifications and other necessary documents.

Most common pets in Germany?

According to Statisca, there are about 34.3 Million pets in Germany. Cats are the majority with about 14.7 living in households in Germany. Dogs come second place at around 10.1 Million followed by small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs at 5.2 Million. Ornamental birds are the least common with a population of around 4 Million.

Banned breeds in Germany

Generally endangered and rare spicies are protected and cannot be kept as pets.
Also some breeds of dogs are regarded as dangerous and are banned from being imported. There are

  • Line 1Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bull Terrier

You can read more on the customs website here

Tip: Cat owners are sometimes preferred by landlords since they are are quieter. 

Check with your landlord before buying a pet. There may be a no pet clause in your contract.

What Dog Owners Should Know

There are few a few more rules for dog owners.

  • Your pet will need to be registered at the local Bürgeramt
  • Get an Identification Badge and Chip(Free)
  • Pay Dog Tax – Deadline: One month after moving or after the birth of the puppy.
  • Pick up after your dog poops (local laws may vary – You will be fined if you do not)
  • Be aware of local leash laws
  • Dog Liability Insurance: Compulsory in most states
  • Dog Health Insurance
    It’s advisable to get health insurance for your dog. You can compare prices and plans using platforms like Check24

Where to get a pet in Germany?


There are a few places where you can get pets, but the most common ways are usually either by working with a breeder or adopting it from an animal shelter. Be aware that some may be shady and thus may not be accredited, breeders. For example, if you cannot see the animal with the mother, it is most likely a shady operation.

Keep in mind that shelters may be the best place to go simply because there are animals who are in dire need of a good home! However, you will still need to fill out many forms. Here are a few: