In China simply claiming a dog is yours isn’t enough. Your pooch needs to be legally registered with the local authorities to avoid any legal and potentially life threatening problems you and your pet.
While specific rules and regulations vary between cities and districts, the general information is standard.
1. Dog licenses are only issued at certain times of the year. Beijing, for example, will only issue licenses to new dogs between May 1st and June 30th. If you miss that window you’ll need to wait until the following year and hope that, in the meantime, your pooch avoids any stray animal round-ups and your neighbor doesn’t complain.
2. Although the one-child-per-family law has been abolished in China, the one-dog-per-family law still exists. Only one dog is allowed to be registered to each household address.
3. Before getting a dog, find out if where you live has any limitations. For example, in Beijing, large breeds like German Shepards are limited to only outside the 5th ring road. (Large dogs are classified as any that stand taller than 35cm from ground to shoulder). Another factor that’ll affect whether you’ll be able to register your dog is the breed. Mix-breed dogs are easier to register. Pure breeds that are the authorities have classified as ‘aggressive’ breeds (Collies, Dalmatians, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Huskies, Irish Wolfhounds, Labradors, Labradoodles, Malamutes, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, Mastiffs, etc) will be a bit more difficult. If you do happen to have one of these breeds, we recommend that you bring a photo of your pooch looking as young and lovable as possible the first time you register. Registration extensions will not require the dog to physically be there so if you can get past the first registration, you’re good.
What you’ll need.
1. A copy of your house rental control or property certificate
2. 1 one-inch color photo of the owner (you)
3. Written permission from your neighborhood watch committee (ju wei hui) to state that animals are allowed in your compound
4. 2 three-inch color photos of your dog. Check with your local police station (pai chu sou) before you go. Some cities require the dog to be front facing from the neck up while other require a size photo of the whole body.
5. A copy of your passport
6. A copy of your work permit
7. A copy of your resident permit
8. If your dog has been spayed or neutered, bring the written certification from the vet. This could save you a bit of money during registration. You’ll need the actual written document from the vet. Simply lifting Fido’s bum and showing the police his neutered bottom isn’t going to be sufficient enough.
9. Vaccination records of your dog. If your dog is still too young for vaccination they will understand. If your dog has reached the age were he/she can start receiving his puppy vaccinations and rabies vaccinations, you’ll need to bring these records with you.
1. It’s also worth noting that if your dog is coming from another country such as US, Canada, or the EU where dogs can receive the 2-3 year rabies vaccination, you should check with your vet before applying for a license. China only recognizes annual rabies vaccinations.
10. Cash. The amount will vary depending on which city and which district you’re in. It ranges between RMB500 - RMB3000.
11. For the initial registration you’ll need to bring dog with you but for future extensions you’ll only need to bring the forms.
When your application has been accepted you’ll received a receipt (a fapiao) first and your dog’s picture ID license within the month. Until you actually receive your picture license, always keep the fapiao with you when you're out with your pup. This will act as proof that your dog has already been registered.
What if I own a cat? If you’re a cat owner, lucky you. There’s no registration needed for cats in China.