Pets in Spain: Laws about Potentially Dangerous Dogs


Pets in Spain: There are restrictions on owning certain breeds of dog and potentially dangerous animals in Spain.

If you are thinking of buying a house in Spain and want to bring your pet with you we hope  this guide helps you to get a better understanding of how is the procedure and which steps you must follow.

Laws are regulated by the Autonomous Communities (Comunidades Autónomas), which impose a wide variety of rules and regulations within the country.

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.

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.

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.

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
    • American Staffordshire Terrier
    • Rottweiler
    • Dogo Argentino
    • Fila Brasileiro
    • Tosa Inu
    • Akita Inu

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

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.

Required documentation for licence renewal:

  • 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.

If you want to keep reading more regarding pet passports or diseases and danger for pets in Spain, check the links!

Further information on dog licences and regulations is available on the official government website here.

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  1. Reply Brigida

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before ending I am reading this great piece of writing to improve my know-how.

    • Ainhoa

      Thank you for your comment

  2. Reply Paul Hunter

    Hi . Is a German Shepherd classed as a dangerous dog ?

    • Ainhoa

      Hello Paul,
      No, the German Shepherd is not classed as a dangerous dog in Spain.
      Best regards

    • Caroline

      What if the german shepherd weighs more than 20 kg?

    • Ainhoa

      Hello Caroline,

      In Spain, the German Shepherd is not classified as a potentially dangerous dog (regardless of weight).
      But anyway, the best thing would be to consult the city council, they will know how to advise you better.

      I hope that this information has been useful to you.
      Have a nice day, greetings.

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  4. Reply Tiffany

    can i fix license from my homecountry sweden? And the american Bully counts as a dangerous breed ha?

  5. Reply Tony Kelly

    We are held hostage by a American pit bull and there owners for the last 3 months. I could not get the police up because of Covid 19. Now blocked by a false denoucia. I have had to dive onto this dog 7 times in total (As nobody else can control it) to save two of my dogs but it was the last attack that led me to have 3 nevus breakdowns. Living on a hill of 6 houses 4 are holiday homes. My brother as the only witness. What should I do?

    • Ainhoa

      Hi, you should contact a lawyer or the police, I’m afraid we can’t help you.

  6. Reply Tony Kelly

    Thank You. Have you fixed the link?

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