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.
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.
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.