Dogs can bring so much joy to people’s lives, but they do come with certain obligations. As a responsible dog owner, you need to be aware of a few key requirements before bringing your pet pooch home…

Do I need a dog licence in Ireland?

Yes. Anyone owning a dog in Ireland is legally required to have a dog licence. However, there are some exceptions, like guide dogs and puppies under four months old that are still with their mother.

How much is a dog licence?

There are three kinds of dog licence in Ireland, each with varying costs:

  • An individual dog licence costs 20 per year.
  • A ‘lifetime of dog’ licence is a one-off payment of €140. This lasts the whole of a dog’s lifetime.
  • A general dog licence costs €400 per year. This covers an unspecified number of dogs at one address.

How do I get a dog licence?

You can buy and renew your dog licence online or at your local post office. However, you need to be over the age of 16 to get a dog licence.

Do I need to have my dog microchipped?

Yes. Ever since the government regulation was passed in 2015, all dogs in Ireland must be microchipped and registered with an approved Dog Identification Database. But don’t worry – microchipping is a simple and painless procedure. It means that if a dog gets lost, they can easily be identified by scanning their chip. Any authorised person can do this, like a vet or animal welfare centre. Just remember to always keep your contact details up-to-date, so you can be reunited with your pooch more easily.

Does my dog have to wear a collar?

Yes. Dogs must always wear a collar showing their owner’s name and address on it. If your dog doesn’t have this identification, you could get a fine (see ‘Penalties’ below).

Does my dog need to wear a muzzle?

This depends on the breed of your dog. These breeds, and their strains/cross-breeds, are required by law to wear a muzzle whenever they’re out in public and must be kept on a short dog lead:

  • American pit bull terrier
  • English bull terrier
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Bull mastiff
  • Dobermann pinscher
  • German shepherd (Alsatian)
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Japanese akita
  • Japanese tosa
  • Bandog


So what could happen if you don’t follow these regulations? Well, you may get quite a hefty fine. For instance, if a dog warden asks to see your dog licence and you can’t show this, they can give you an on-the-spot fine. They can also request the name and address of a person suspected of an offence and have the power to seize and detain any dog. What’s more, if you try to stop a dog warden from carrying out their duties, you risk being arrested.

Specific regulations and how much a fine can be depend on the laws of the local authorities in your area. However, as a general guide, the following penalties may apply:

  • No dog licence: on-the-spot fine of €100.
  • No dog identification: on-the-spot fine of €100.

These fines are paid to your local authority. If you do get a fine, make sure to pay it within the time period specified, otherwise this may result in prosecution.

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