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South Africans in Germany

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Bringing your fur babies to a new country can be a daunting and emotional experience.
The first thing you need to acquaint yourself with is the rules for bringing pets from South Africa to Germany.
These rules are updated regularly and we therefore only add links to the relevant pages. 
We added some links to Pet immigration services that were recommended by fellow South Africans, and if you would rather do it yourself, we have a page where people shared their do-it-yourself experiences.

Dangerous (Banned) Dogs

Some dog breeds are banned in Germany. There are additional rules for individual states. 
Up-to-date information can be found on the Zoll (Customs) website.
Some dangerous dog breeds are allowed, depending on the Federal state, and must be registered at the Ordnungsamt.

Qualzuchten (Torture Breeds)

Section 11b of the German Animal Welfare Act [1] prohibits breeding animals with characteristics that cause them to suffer – but so far there are no guidelines on how these should be defined. For this reason, torture breeding is still widespread.  Examples are English Bulldogs, “Teacup dogs”, Sphinx cats

A list of breeds can be found on the PETA website


Cats have a different status in Germany than dogs, and there are fewer regulations regarding cats once you are in Germany. Here are some examples relevant to cats:

  • You do not need to confine your cat to your property and they can roam freely,
  • You also do not need to attach your cat to a leash. 
  • Although you do not need to microchip your cat if you buy it in Germany, it is still advisable to do so.
  • There are no taxes payable on cats
  • Neutering – Most Federal states are now requiring your to have your cat neutered. Find out more from your local municipality 

Resources on the web

Customs Info

  • Zoll – German Customs, provisions on the import of pet animals
  • Zoll –  Dangerous dogs
  • BMEL – Rules on entering the European Union (EU) with dogs, cats and ferrets

Pet Immigration or transport services

The following companies are suggestions from fellow South Africans 

Shared experiences and doing it yourself

Pets – Personal stories

Here are some shared experiences by our Facebook members.  If you would like to add your experience to our website, please submit it via our contact formDecember

Registration, taxes and permits

  • In most states, dogs must be added to the dog registry (Hunderegister) in your area. Search for example “Hunderegister Hamburg”. Please note, not all States (Bundesländer) require you to regsiter your animal. In order to register the dog, the animal needs to be chipped and covered by liability insurance.
  • Dogs must be registered for dog tax /Hundesteuer.  You can register for the taxes at the Bürgeamt.  See for example the information from Stuttgart or Berlin.  Depending on where you live the registration can be done online.
  • Dangerous breeds – If your dog falls in the dangerous breed, you must register it at the Ordnungsamt

Identification badge, chip and handler licence

As mentioned before, the rules and regulations can differ per federal state. Most states require dogs to have an identification badge and a chip.  When you take your dog for a walk, the dog’s name, your address and the dog tax disc must be on the dog’s collar.  
You might also be required to get a licence to prove you can handle your dog (Hundeführerschein)
Information about the Hunderegister can be found on the Hundeinfoportal

Rules and regulation for owning a pet

Rules and regulations can be found on the Gezetze im Internet Dog regulations.
Not all federal states have a rule that you need to pick up your dog’s poo, but this is just basic decency, especially if you take your dog walking. You can buy special poop bags for that, and most parks have special bins to dispose of the bags.

Pet Insurance

Agila and Allianz offer pet insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung).
Dog insurance is mandatory in some federal states. It is not medical insurance for your pet, but it covers you if your dog harms another dog, person or property. 

Adopting a pet at a "Tierheim"

Pet sitting and kennels

For pet sitting look at the Pawshake app, or on the Hundelieb website
You can also find other possibilities on our Minijob page
For cats, search for Katzenpension in your area, or consider a house sitter, another option is to search for a catsitter on Catinaflat

Below are some South African pet sitters who lives in Germany and would love to spend some time with your fur babies.


Pet sitting by Carmen

Area: Carmen lives in Berlin and has a house with a very large garden.  They have a 10-year-old, female Puggle/Jack Russel mix, a 10-year-old cat

Pet sitting by Pamela

Area: Pamela lives in Düsseldorf and is willing to have pets stay over by her at home and also stay out at the pet owner’s

Pet Sitting by Natalie

Area: Natalie lives in Senden, close to Neu-Ulm, and can do pet sitting in the surrounding areas Types of Pets Cats, Dogs, birds and fish

Pet Sitting by Desdemona

Area: Desdemona lives in Ulm, and can do pet sitting in the surrounding areas Types of Pets Cats, Dogs, birds and fish Fees For the

Raw food for pets

Try the following websites:

Death of a pet

There are some restrictions on burying or cremating a pet in Germany. Things you need to keep in mind:

  • The TierKBG (Tierkörperbeseitigungsgesetz Gesetz über die Beseitigung von Tierkörpern, Tierkörperteilen und tierischen Erzeugnissen) governs the rules and regulations for disposing of animals
  • Some Federal states have stricter rules and regulations. Always make sure what is allowed for where you live. Below are some general rules, but could be different for the state you live in.
  • If you would like to bury a small animal in your garden, you can only do so if you are the owner of the property, or get permission from the owner. The animal must be buried at least 50cm deep and not close to public roads ( at least two meters away).
  •  Burial in a garden is not allowed if it is in a water conservation area, and also not if the animal died from a notifiable disease.
  •  You may not bury an animal on public grounds or in a park or forest.
  • You can bury your pet in a Tierfriedhof, or have them cremated.
  • If the animal died at the Vet, they can assist with cremation or disposal.

Animal welfare

You can report any issues regarding animal cruelty at the Tierschutsbund under Tierquälerei

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