You don’t want to leave your furry family member behind? No problem: Your trusty canine is welcome in Switzerland. However, there are strict laws and regulations, and they change constantly.
Here is a brief abstract (as per January 1, 2017)
Before arriving in Switzerland
Brining a dog to Switzerland does not require a quarantine period, but your pooch needs to be up to date on his shots, have a microchip that is compliant with European standards, and a certified vet visit.
- At the latest one month before departure, proceed with the Microchip: ISO Standard 11784 with identification code according to ISO 11785. Attention: If your pet’s microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you will have to bring your own microchip scanner. A clearly shown tattoo-no is accepted if the dog was born before 2011, which has to be proved.
- At the latest 22 days before departure, proceed with rabies vaccination. Your dog has to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before entering Switzerland. If you arrive from a country with a high incidence of rabies, your dog must have a Blood Titer Test done three months prior to departure.
- Your vet has to sign your dog’s Pet Passport (for EU citizens), or to give you a health certificate, issued within 10 days prior to your arrival in Switzerland.
- You must not bring dogs with docked ears and/or tails.
- Number of pets is limited to five.
When arriving in Switzerland
Your dog will be a relocating/household effect, if you will be staying longer than one year. In any case you have to go to customs with your dog’s health certificate, foreign registration papers, and prove of relocation.
You have to register at your local “Gemeinde” – Municipality, and a local vet within ten days. Your dog will than be registered with “AMICUS”, the Swiss database, where all dog-related information will be saved.
This system makes it possible to retrieve data on the dog owner, breed, fur colour, age, name and sex. A vet also registers dogs that have chips implanted by veterinarians with the appropriate offices in the canton of residence.
If you are from outside the EU, the vet will issue a Pet Passport, a booklet that provides all of the essential information on your pet, including the dog’s chip-number and proof of all relevant vaccinations. The pet passport serves as the certificate of health and can only be issued by a licensed vet.
Take your pup with you
Generally, dogs of any size are allowed on Swiss trains. They must always pay second-class half fare or the stipulated minimum fare (1-day travelpass for dogs, GA travelcard for dogs) if there is one.
Exception: Small dogs up to 30 cm height at the top of their shoulder blades can travel with you free of charge as carriage hand luggage, provided they are in a carrier, basket or other suitable container.
Smaller shops are dog friendly, with the conspicuous exception of food stores. Sometimes there are tie-ups outside and you may find a water bowl for dogs outside a shop.
In public places you must keep your dog on a leash. You are also required to clean up after your dog. Therefore carry poop bags with you, and use the disposal facilities in many public areas.
All communes charge a dog license fee, the amounts vary. In most cantons, reductions or exemptions are made in certain cases, e.g. the canton of Zurich may grant a one-time discount, for every dog training course, that you visited voluntarily with a dog trainer approved by VETA ZH.
Please follow this link for further information.
Abstract of laws, rules and regulations
Schweizer Tierschutzgestz (TschG) – Swiss Animal protection law
Goal is to protect the animal.
- You must not intimidate your dog, neither physically nor psychologically.
- You must keep and feed your dog, so he is in physical and mental health.
- You must not do testing with your dog.
Schweizer Tierschutzverordnung (TSchV) – Swiss Animal protection regulation
Goal is to protect the animal.
- You must feed your dog regularly and sufficiently and you must provide water at all times.
- You must avoid sickness and accidents. You must regularly and appropriately cut your dogs nails.
- You must offer appropriate shelter that is neither too cold nor too warm.
- Your dog must not be able to escape your property and to hurt himself.
- You must not torture your dog to death.
- You must not punch your dog.
- You must not join dogfights.
- You must not abandon your dog.
- You must not use dope on your dog.
- You must not have sex with your dog.
- You must not use electricity on your dog.
- You must not cut his ears and tail.
- You must not import, show, and sale or donate dogs whose ears and tail are cut.
- You must not import puppies younger than 56 days without their mother being present.
- You must not destroy your dog’s vocal chords.
Kantonales Hundegesetz (HuG) AG – cantonal dog law AG
- You have to keep your dog in a way to not put humans and other animals to danger, to supervise your dog at all times, and to pick-up after your dog.
- You need a license to keep a dog that belongs to the breed of dangerous dogs, either if it is pure bred or a mixed breed.
- Above-mentioned dogs are to be lead separately and on short leash in public areas.
Hundeverordnung (HuV) AG – cantonal dog regulations AG
- If your dog is older than 3 months you have to pay dog taxes of CHF 150 per year.
- From April 1 till July 31 you have to leash your dog in & close by to forests.
- From April 1 till October 31 your dog must not trespass agricultural land.
- You have to supervise your dog at all times, and to interfere by hook or by crook if your dog attacks another animal or human being.
- You have to pick-up after your dog.
- Your dog must not make any disturbing noise.
- Vicious dogs have to wear a muzzle and have to be on leash at all times in public.
- You need a permit to keep a pure bred dog or mixed breed of the following breeds:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Bull Terrier and American Bull Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and American Bully
- If you receive a permit, you have to visit a “Erziehungskurs” within six months after getting the dog, and to pass a test before the dog turns 30 months. The course includes a 3-hours theory part, and ten practical lessons.
- If you have a dog listed above, you have to keep it on-leash whenever in public.
There is no cantonal law or regulation in regards to keeping dogs, but half of the municipalities of Zug have regulations in place. You are advised to ask your municipality. In general:
- You should keep and rear your dog appropriately and humanely, your dog should not put humans or other animals to danger, you should supervise your dog at all times, you should pick-up after your dog, you should have liability insurance with at least CHF 3’000’000.
- Your dog has to be on leash where signposted (e.g. on play grounds, sporting fields, cemeteries, schools, public transport and their stops, conservation areas), when the bitch is in heat, when the dog is contagiously sick, and authorities ordered you to do so. On forest paths and along forests your dog has to be on leash from April 1 till July 31, and must not trespass agricultural areas from April 1 till October 31.
- You should not walk more than four dogs at once, and you must only walk a maximum of two dogs off-leash.
Hundegesetz (HuG) ZH – cantonal dog law ZH
- 6 You have to prove liability insurance of minimum CHF 1’000’000 before getting a dog.
- 7 You have to provide a specific dog training certificate before getting a dog of the breed type I.
- 8 You must not get and breed a dog of the breed type II.
- 10 You must not bring your dog to cemeteries, bathing establishments, school yards, play grounds, sports fields, and any place where it is signalized as forbidden.
- 11 You have to keep you dog on leash at all times, unless you are in an off-leash area.
- 12 Your dog has to wear a muzzle if public authority ordered to do so, and if your dog is vicious.
- 14 Your dog must not make any noise.
Kantonale Hundeverordnung (HuV) ZH – cantonal dog regulations ZH
- Breed type I: All dogs that don’t belong to breed type II or small breeds.
- Breed type II: All descendants pure bred or mixed breeds of American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier und American Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, Bandog und Basicdog
- Keeping and breeding of breed type II dogs is forbidden, except you are licensed to do so.
- You and your dog have to do practical education: Welpenspielgruppe, Junghundekurs, Erziehungskurs.