Spain Explained

Is your dog on Spain’s dangerous dogs list?

Last updated on February 25th, 2020 at 03:12 pm.

There are different rules in Spain to other European countries when it comes to dangerous dogs. Dogs are not banned in the way they are in the UK but the owners and those walking a dangerous dog in Spain must be licensed.

The law that governs this is the law Real Decreto 287/2002. It includes a list of potentially dangerous dogs or ‘perros potencialmente peligrosas’ (PPP). This includes the pit bull terrier, rottweiler,  Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, dogo argentino, fila brasileiro, Tosa Inu, and Akita Inu. Owners of these dogs must have a licence wherever they are in Spain.

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However, different autonomous communities have added their own breeds to those considered to be potentially dangerous and you should check the local laws that apply to you. For example, the Valencian community has added to the core list of PPP the Doberman, Bullmastiff, dogo de burdeos, perro de presa canario, perro de presa mallorquin and the Mastin Napolitano. The law applies to dogs in Spain that are more than three months old and cross breeds too.

Even if your dog is not officially one of the listed breeds but has the following characteristics, you might require a licence:

  • Muscular, agile, powerful
  • Short hair
  • Strong character
  • Thoracic perimeter between 60 and 80cm and height at the withers between 40 and 70
  • Weighing above 20kg
  • Large head with muscular and pronounced cheeks
  • Strong, large jaws
  • Wide neck, short and muscled
  • Large chest, short, muscular back
  • Muscular hindquarters

The law is based on the assumption that it isn’t the dog that is dangerous in itself but the way that it is handled that can create a danger to others. It is the owner that must prove to the authorities in Spain that he or she is fit to be in charge of a potentially dangerous animal.

If this applies to you

If you do own one of these dogs then they must be muzzled when you are out in a public place. You must also have your dog microchipped, insured, its vaccinations must be up-to-date and you must have a licence. The insurance is perhaps the easiest to acquire and comes in at around €30 a year. The licence is a little more difficult.

If you do need to obtain one of these licences then you should first approach your town hall to find out where the department is that you must apply to. You will be checked to see if you have a criminal record and there will be a health check that includes eye sight and strength. They will also confirm if there have been any complaints made by neighbours against you.

Once the necessary checks have been made then the application for your licence will be sent off. In the case of Torrevieja, for example, the application would be sent to Valencia. It does mean that once you’ve obtained a licence for yourself you are ‘qualified’ to walk any dog on the list. Anyone who walks your dog when you’re not there must have a licence too.

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Of course, if you live in Spain it is very important that you comply with the law or you risk a heavy fine. However, it also applies if you are a non-resident intending to bring your dog with you for a portion of the year. You will need to follow the rules in the same way as a resident or risk being stopped and fined. Alternatively leave your pet back in the UK.

You should make enquiries at the town hall of where you will be staying as soon as you can if you are intending to bring your dog to Spain with you. In the end, it doesn’t matter how docile you know your pet to be. If it is on the list you must take the necessary precautions.

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Sally Realey

31 March, 2016 5:08 pm

How do you ensure that a
How do you ensure that a local Spanish neighbour whose dog has bitten yours already, has the necessary legal documentation etc? The police don’t seem to take it seriously. Is there any way for anyone to check up on this, for example at the Town Hall or somewhere? Are there any steps to take to ensure that this person complies with the Law, as they aren’t at the moment.

Suzanne O'Connell

6 April, 2016 8:10 am

Hi Sally

Hi Sally

It is the police who you should approach. There are two options or you could try both. You can make a denuncia against your neighbour and/ or you might contact the local police. They should be prepared to act on your concern. 


14 April, 2016 12:28 pm

My wife and I are planning to
My wife and I are planning to settle in Spain sometime this year. Either Alicante or Murcia.We own two German Shepherds and a Yorkshire Terrier.
All are licenced chipped and insured in UK.will I have to take out spanish licences for the German shepherds?

Suzanne O'Connell

20 April, 2016 10:46 am

Hi Tim

Hi Tim

At the moment it doesn't look as though these dogs are on either the general list or the list for Valencia. However, I'm not familiar with the list for Murcia which may well be different. To be on the safe side you are best contacting the town hall where you will be living and checking. 

Lee Halliday

21 November, 2016 11:29 am

Hi Tim, if the dogs are not
Hi Tim, if the dogs are not taken to public spaces (we live in the campo), do you still have to follow the above procedures?

Many thanks

Freddy wenzara

19 April, 2017 12:20 am


I’m from Peru and i really want to know if I and bring my pitbull to spain, i got my student visa and the information was very helpfull. The thing is i didn’t get much of this, can i really take mi dog with the right requierment to live with me in spain??

Suzanne O'Connell

25 April, 2017 9:17 am

Hi Freddy

Hi Freddy

Thank you for you query. You can bring a dog with you to live in Spain. However, you must check whether the dog you have is on their list of dangerous dogs. I believe that a pitbull is on the list and you would need to obtain a licence. This article outlines the process. You need to be checked by the local town hall to ensure that they consider you to be fit to hold the licence your dog requires. For the exact details you will need to apply to the town hall in the area where you decide to settle. 

Lorraine Dunlop Dunlop

9 June, 2017 4:52 pm

Pondenco dog is it on
Pondenco dog is it on dangerous list please

David Dawes

12 June, 2017 7:57 pm

Hi, I’m looking to travel
Hi, I’m looking to travel around Spain with my Rottweiler and Doberman and Don’t know where i stand regarding licence’s and insurance or if I’m actually allowed to bring them at all as I’m a UK resident. I’ve read numerous things but they only seem to apply to Spanish residents and not people travelling. Any help would be appreciated.

Suzanne O'Connell

13 June, 2017 8:42 am

Hi David

Hi David

I am not an expert on this but believe that you do not need to obtain a licence if you can prove to the police that you are a tourist and on holiday. You might want to consider taking out insurance anyway for your own benefit. You would be best to check with the town halls of the areas that you intend to travel in. 

Kerry Dixon

26 October, 2019 11:00 am

Hi, my husband and plan are planning to relocate to Spain with our two young Staffordshire bull terriers who are fully KC registered and we have had since 3 months from a reputable breeder. Firstly are they allowed and secondly do they really have to be muzzeled? If this is the case this will be a huge change to our plans.

Oscar Paoli

28 October, 2019 10:47 am

Hi Kerry,
Thank you for your email.
We are no experts in these matters, but unfortunately the Staffordshire bull terrier are listed as potentially dangerous dogs and in public areas the dog must be muzzeled in most case, but this does not mean they are not allowed, just that certain criteria will have to be met. The process for registering a potentially dangerous dog and obtaining a licence will vary a bit for each region of Spain. If you wish to register a potentially dangerous dog, you should first contact the local town hall you wish to move to, or by visiting the town hall’s website. They will be able to assist you in the process.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers


14 February, 2020 3:03 pm

Can anybody tell me what is the cost implications to a dog license in Valencia region. Many thanks

Oscar Paoli

17 February, 2020 3:21 pm

Hi Richard,
Unfortunately we are not experts in this matter, we recommmend to contact the Valencia Town Hall or local agency.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

z w

15 July, 2020 5:38 pm

are dobermanns classed as a dangerous dog in spain?

Oscar Paoli

15 July, 2020 11:06 pm

As of the information we have and not being experts in the matter, we believe that dobermanns are classed as a dangerous dog in Spain but depending in the area you reside, some of these areas are Cataluña, Cantabria, Galicia, Comunidad Valenciana, etc.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Heather McMurray

1 August, 2020 10:23 am

We got attacked no one hurt in our village last night by an English Pitt bull off the lead

Oscar Paoli

4 August, 2020 9:35 pm

So sorry to read, hope you contacted the authorities.


25 August, 2020 10:11 pm

If I purchased a dog before its breed was classified as a dangerous dog, would I still need to obtain a license?

Oscar Paoli

26 August, 2020 8:28 am

Hi Luke,
Yes, you will need to obtain a license unfortunately.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers


1 September, 2020 4:07 pm

Could you please tell me how to unregister ,the procedure i should follow to do this.Thank’s

Oscar Paoli

7 September, 2020 10:23 am

Hi Lee,

We recommend you contact your local Town Hall for information regarding this process or even your veterinarian.

With kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers

D McCulloch

26 October, 2020 9:32 am

Please could you recommend an insurance provider? It says in the article that it costs €30, however we paid €98 for liability insurance bought through a local broker.

Oscar Paoli

26 October, 2020 4:40 pm

Hi Debbie,
We recommend to contact Mapfre insurance company:
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

David Ward

14 August, 2021 9:20 am

Very informative. Thank you. What are the rules on breeding dogs on the “dangerous ” list?

Oscar Paoli

16 August, 2021 8:30 am

Hi David,
We believe each region in Spain has different regulations, we would recommend checking with your Town Hall in regards to your region.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Lesley King

8 September, 2021 12:00 pm

My neighbour is renting her house out but leaving her 2 s.mall elderly dogs for the tenant to look after. The tenants have 2 large PitBulls that are not trained. Ive seen one of the dogs attack a large dog on a lead, after slipping its lead and muzzle. I am worried sick for the small dogs, one a Yorkshire Terror. Do you know who i can contact to stop a blood bath.
Thanks. Lesley

Oscar Paoli

13 September, 2021 2:23 pm

Hi Lesley,
You may contact your local animal shelter, and if they can not assist you may place a denuncia at the Gurdia Civil.
Best of luck.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Charles Bell

23 November, 2021 12:49 pm

Are Podencos considered dangerous dogs in The Canary Islands

S. Childs.

8 January, 2023 2:01 pm

We used to live in Spain and ran a Boarding kennels , we had 10 dogs of our own , and our vet was talking about these laws when we were still there. We left and sold the kennels in 2010. However I seem to remember as an autonomous community that Madrid added GSD’s to their list. Can you confirm this for me…thank you

Oscar Paoli

10 January, 2023 10:17 am

Sorry, unfortunately we are not familiar with the regulations in Madrid as we are located in the Valencia Region, sorry for any possible inconvenience.

Jill Calcott

20 May, 2023 5:24 pm

I have seen a number of pit bull terriers in Requena market today. Not one of them was muzzled. Who is responsible for enforcement of the regulations?

Oscar Paoli

22 May, 2023 3:16 pm

The Local Police or Guardia Civil should be notified.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers


19 January, 2024 12:17 pm

Hi me and my boyfriend are planning on to moving to Los Alcazares next year, we have a staffy she’s 5. I just wanted to see if they actually need to wear a muzzle when they go out even if they are under 20kg, she’s a very small staff

Thank you

Oscar Paoli

19 January, 2024 2:34 pm

Dear Michelle,
Unfortunately we do not have this information on hand, we would recommend you contacting the local authorities in Los Alcazares for more information.
Sorry for the possible inconvenience.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers