On holiday to France with your dog

On holiday to France with your dog

Do you have a dog? Then there is a good chance that you want to take your four-legged friend with you when you go on holiday. How cozy! Most dogs are welcome in France, but it is always wise to research and prepare some important things in advance.

Identification for your pet and vaccinations

Pets must be identifiable and must have:

  • An electronic chip or tattoo
  • A European pet passport
  • A valid vaccination against rabies

Pets younger than 3 months and pets that do not have a valid vaccination against rabies are not allowed to enter France. Pets that have had a rabies vaccination for the very first time are not allowed to enter France until 21 days after the vaccination.

Rules for fighting dogs and guard dogs in France

There are separate rules and conditions for fighting dogs. It is not always possible to take these dogs to France. These dogs, which are considered potentially dangerous, are divided into two categories:

Category 1

Dogs that fall under category 1 are not allowed on French territory. These are certain crosses that are not registered in a stud book recognized by the French Ministry of Agriculture and that resemble in appearance:

  • Pit bulls and crosses with the American Staffordshire Terrier;
  • Boer bulls and Mastiff crosses;
  • Crosses with the Tosa.
  • Dogue de Bordeaux without a pedigree

Category 2

Dogs that fall under category 2 are only allowed to go to France under strict conditions. The following dogs with a pedigree fall under category 2:

  • American Staffordshire Terrier;
  • Tosa;
  • Rottweiler and crosses with the Rottweiler.

To be allowed to take these category 2 dogs into France or in transit through France, strict conditions must be met that are not realistic for a short stay. For example, you need a French keeper permit and a positive result of a bite test that your dog has to take in France. In addition to the various conditions, the pedigree must be internationally recognized and must be recognized by the French Ministry of Agriculture. The recognized pedigrees are listed on the website of the FCI (External link) and the SCC Asso (External link)

Learn more about fighting dog categories and terms:

Rules for dogs that resemble fighting dogs

The French Veterinary Service (part of the French Ministry of Agriculture) indicates that some dog breeds that are registered, and do not fall under the above two categories of fighting and guard dogs, may still show a resemblance to these dogs. There is also a significant risk for dog breeds that are not registered in registers and show similarities with these fighting and guard dogs. The assessment differs per dog, after a thorough, comprehensive diagnosis by a veterinarian.

It is important that such type of dogs that want to be taken to France (even for a short stay) are subject to an examination and diagnosis by a veterinarian. If this examination shows that the dog in question does not show much resemblance to the dogs in categories 1 and 2, the veterinarian can draw up a certificate (in English or French), with a signature.

This certificate must state that the identified dog (name, breed, etc.) does not belong to one of the two categories of fighting and guard dogs as defined in article L.211-12 Code Rural Fran├žais. The dog owner in France must be able to show this certificate with every claim by French law enforcement officers.

However, it is important to know that this certificate, in the event of an inspection in France and in case of doubt on the part of the French law enforcement officers, may lead to a counter-investigation. If this last examination contradicts the certificate and confirms that the animal does belong to one of the two categories because of a close resemblance, the owner of the dog may receive a punishment and/or fine and this counter-examination may even lead to the confiscation of the dog in question.