Is it possible to bring a dog from a foreign country?

During your travels, you may want to pick up the dog of a loved one residing in a foreign country.

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Bringing a dog or puppy into France is possible, but on condition of respecting the rules imposed by the legislation. Depending on the dog's breed and country of origin, the rules and conditions for entering France may be different, particularly with regard to he alth and safety rules.

The necessary reflection before deciding

You may want to bring a dog or puppy from a foreign country. However, this should not prevent you from taking the time to reflect, because adopting a dog is never to be taken lightly, especially if you have to bring it back from a foreign country.

You must therefore ask yourself if your choice is well thought out and if you have the means and the time to properly take care of the animal in France.

If you plan to adopt a dog from abroad, in addition to ensuring your ability to take care of the dog, take a few precautions. In particular, be sure to inform yourself sufficiently about the dog, its breed, its state of he alth, its vaccination status and its socialization. Also find out comprehensive information about the terms of adoption and any costs that may be at your expense.

Restrictions affecting certain breeds of dogs

To bring a dog from a foreign country into France, you must comply with the legislation in force. This imposes certain restrictions, rules and formalities.

Dog breeds are prohibited from entering French territory for security reasons.These are dogs belonging to a category 1 breed or, in other words, attack dogs or dogs considered to be dangerous. Consequently, Tosas, Mastiffs or boerbulls and American Staffordshire terriers, also called pitbulls, are prohibited from entering French territory.

Category 2 guard and defense dogs can enter France provided they comply with the administrative rules. These breeds are Tosa dogs, Rottweilers, American Staffordshire terriers and dogs not registered in the French stud book (LOF) and whose morphology allows them to be assimilated to the Rottweiler breed.

The rules according to the country of origin of the dog

You can bring back up to five dogs from abroad, provided you comply with the regulations. In addition, depending on the origin of the country, whether it is located in the European Union or outside it, the rules to be respected are different.

For a dog from a European Union country

If you bring your dog from a country of the European Union or a country where European regulations are applied, i.e. Iceland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican and Liechtenstein, the dog must:

  • Have received the rabies vaccine (against rabies);
  • Be chipped or tattooed before July 3, 2011, provided the tattoo is legible;
  • Have a valid European pet passport;
  • Have received all infection and disease prevention measures in addition to rabies vaccine such as treatment for echinococcosis.

The preventive measures to which the dog must be subjected can be detailed to you by a French veterinarian or a veterinarian practicing in the country of origin of the dog. You can also inquire at the French Embassy in the country in question.

For a dog whose origin is outside the European Union

For a dog from outside the European Union, the conditions for entering French soil are stricter. The dog must, in addition to the conditions applied to dogs from the European Union:

  • Have had a rabies antibody titration by a laboratory approved by the European Union. The analysis must be done on a blood sample taken at least 30 days after vaccination against rabies. This titration aims to verify that the vaccine is effective;
  • Have a he alth certificate issued by a veterinarian practicing in the country of origin of the dog. The certificate must be issued within ten days of the dog's entry into France or the European Union.

After the dog's arrival in France

If you meet all the conditions to bring your dog into France, upon arrival, you will still have a few steps to take.

In particular, it must be registered in the identification file for domestic carnivores or ICAD.

The registration of your dog in this register must be made within 8 days of entering France. To do this, you must take your dog to a veterinarian so that the latter establishes a “provisional certificate of identification during import or intra-Community trade”. This form can be completed by your veterinarian online by attaching the supporting documents that you must provide. These vary depending on your dog's country of origin.

If he is from a European Union country, you must provide copies of certain parts of the dog's original passport. These are the description of the animal, its identification or marking, its rabies vaccination certificate and the date of issue of the document.

If the dog comes from a country outside the European Union, you must provide, in addition to the documents already mentioned, the documents justifying the titration of anti-rabies antibodies.

If the he alth documents from your dog's country of origin are not in your possession, you can still complete this process by providing a written certificate in which you mention that you do not have any document in your possession. he alth, as well as proof of vaccination against rabies carried out in France.

If the dog is not vaccinated against rabies

If the dog you are bringing from a foreign country is not vaccinated against rabies or if it is but the anti-rabies antibody titration shows that the vaccine is not effective, the veterinarian notifies the departmental population protection directorate. The latter can then take a prefectural order to put your dog under surveillance for a fixed period.

It is only at the end of this monitoring period and after the vaccination against rabies has been validated that the definitive identification card is issued.

Precautions to take before taking a dog on a trip

Before having your dog travel to France, you must take certain precautions. One of the most important is to ban breeders or organizations that sell puppies and offer to falsify their date of birth so that they can enter France. It is, in fact, forbidden to bring a puppy into France if it is less than three months old. This ban is due to the fact that a puppy can only be vaccinated against rabies from the age of 12 weeks. The vaccine is then only effective 4 weeks later, hence the minimum age of three months.

The other precautions concern the travel conditions of the dog or puppy. Whatever means of transport you use, plane, train or car, make sure that the animal is as calm and comfortable as possible. If you are traveling by car, consider making the journey with two, a driver and a second person who takes care of the puppy throughout the journey.

During the journey, consider taking breaks to let the dog stretch its legs and get some fresh air, especially if it's a very long journey. Do not hesitate to stop in quiet places, preferably away from the highway.

For a pleasant journey for both you and your dog, bring enough food and water for him and don't forget a few toys to distract him.

Finally, don't forget that the dog or puppy you brought home doesn't know you yet and it will take time to get used to its new masters and its new environment. You can help by making this first contact pleasant and calm.

Once at home, the dog may need calm and rest. Do not rush him by wanting to show him too much affection from the first moments or by wanting to play or walk him for a long time from the first hours. Know that a dog generally needs a few days or even a few weeks to get used to a new home and start to feel at home there.

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