Is your dog on Spain's dangerous dogs list?

Life in Spain Wed, 23 Mar 2016
Dangerous dogs in Spain

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.


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.

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. 

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?

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. 

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


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??

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. 

Pondenco dog is it on dangerous list please

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.

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. 

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