New rules for dog ​​owners in Germany starting January 2022: Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance (new “Gassi Law”)


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The German federal government is ensuring that dogs are treated better with changes to the animal welfare dog ordinance from January 2022 (including “Gassi Law”)

New rules for dog ​​owners: From January 2022, new rules (including “Gassi Law”) will apply with regard to dog ownership, animal care, socialization of puppies and breeding. Basically, it is a matter of ensuring that every dog ​​has enough exercise in the open air and that the owners engage sufficiently with the animals several times a day.

New rules for dog ​​owners

New rules for dog ​​(including “Gassi law”)owners will apply from January 2022

The following new rules for dog owners in Germany have been adopted to guarantee that dogs are kept and breed more appropriately:

  • Dogs are generally not allowed to live tethered
  • Dogs with agony breeding traits are subject to the ban on exhibiting at all events at which an assessment, test or comparison of dogs takes place. Thus, incentives for such breeding should be removed
  • The use of spiked collars and any painful means is prohibited in education, upbringing and training
  • A breeder or a supervisor in professional dog breeding may not look after more than three litters at the same time
  • The breeder must spend at least four hours a day with the puppies

What does “Gassi “mean in Germany?

The word “Gassi” means going for a walk which in 99 out of 100 cases is taking your dog for a walk. That is why the ordinance is sometimes referred to as the “Gassi law”

If you are learning German, you’ll often hear people say: “Ich gehe mit meinem Hund Gassi” … which simply means I’m going for a walk with my dog

Where does the term “Gassi” in Germany come from?

The origin is controversial. The most obvious thing would be to derive the term “Gassi” from the southern German term (Bavarian) for small street, “Gasse”. In the past, you simply stepped on them with your dog to let them do their business.

A somewhat more extensive attempt at explanation says that it is the short form of the Latin expression “gassatine” and that the students used to describe their nightly drinking tours . Gassatine is said to be derived from the Latin “grassari” – to hang around.

Are dogs still allowed in kennels?

Even after January 1, 2022, it will remain permissible to keep a dog in rooms or room facilities that, according to their intended purpose, do not serve the stay of people. A few rules apply here:

  • The usable floor surface must be of the minimum size. This is still 6 m² for dogs up to a height at the withers of up to 50 cm, 8 m² between 50 and 65 cm and 10 m² over 65 cm.
  • The kennel must be equipped with a shelter or a dry place to lie down that is soft or elastically deformable and provides adequate protection from drafts and cold.
  • The refuge must ensure that the dog can lie down in it, stretched out.
  • If a shelter is available, you must also offer your dog a place to lie outside the hut on which he can lie stretched out on his side. It must be weatherproof, shady, thermally insulated and soft or elastically deformable.
  • The dog must have a clear view of the building or the room unit. Unless the dog has permanent access to the open air during the day.
  • If the dog stands up, it must not be able to reach any current-carrying devices with its front paws. The same applies to devices that send out electrical impulses.
New rules for dog ​​owners

How is dog transport regulated in Germany?

Puppies younger than eight weeks may only be transported more than 100 kilometers if they are accompanied by their mother. Dog transports within Germany must generally be completed within four and a half hours if the outside temperature is more than 30ºC. 

Is it allowed to tie a dog in the yard?

According to the amended Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance, tethering of dogs will be prohibited from January 1, 2023. From this point on, it is no longer allowed to keep the farm dog outside on the chain. Exceptions are only made under certain conditions for working dogs if:

  • … a supervisor is on site,
  • … the connection is at least three meters long and cannot untwist,
  • … the tethering material is light and made in such a way that the dog cannot injure himself
  • … and wide chest harnesses or collars are used for tying, which do not cut into, do not tighten and cannot lead to injuries.

Are spiked collars for dogs allowed in Germany?

Scientific studies classify criminal stimuli as contrary to animal welfare, which is why the new animal welfare dog ordinance prohibits spiked collars or other means that are painful for the dog from January 2022.

Can I leave my dog alone for extended period of time?

In principle, it is still allowed to keep dogs alone. In this case, however, the animal welfare dog ordinance stipulates that you must enable your dog to have regular contact with other dogs. In individual cases, dog owners are exempt from this obligation:

  • If the dog’s state of health rules out contact with conspecifics, for example in the case of an infectious disease.
  • If there is a general intolerance to other dogs.
New rules for dog ​​owners

What are the rules for dog breeding?

Since dogs are not there to meet the sometimes questionable aesthetic wishes of their owners, animals with tortured breeding characteristics such as short noses, bulging eyes or skin folds may no longer be shown at sporting events, trade fairs or exhibitions in the future. In doing so, politicians want to take away incentives for such varieties. 

▶ In addition, the caregiver must spend at least four hours a day with the animal until the puppy is 20 weeks old. Breeders or caregivers in commercial breeding are not allowed to look after more than three litters at the same time.

Summary: Animal Welfare Dog Ordinance effective 2022

First of all: there are changes in almost every paragraph. The most famous change is the introduction of the so-called “dog walker obligation”. We take a look at the most important innovations. 

1. Exercise: A dog must be allowed to exercise outside of a kennel at least twice a day for a total of at least one hour .

2. Keeping in rooms (rooms are primarily barns or other areas that are not permanently inhabited): A dog must be able to look outside (so-called look outside ).

3. Keeping outdoors: An explicit refuge (e.g. for herd guard dogs to defend against the wolf) is no longer mandatory, but the dog must be provided with protection from the weather .

4. Tethering: Dogs may no longer be tied up in the future . Keeping in chains was also previously forbidden.

5. Exhibitions: Dog shows with overbred animals (i.e. those that have tortured breeding traits) are prohibited .

6. Breeding: Dog breeders are only allowed to look after 5 dogs instead of 10 . In addition: Breeders are only allowed to look after three bitches with puppies at the same time.

Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany


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