Responsible Dog Ownership

Responsible Dog Ownership

Dogs can bring great joy into our lives. However, we need to be responsible owners. Find out how with our Top Tips.

Before you commit, remember owning a dog can be ruff!

Before committing to becoming a dog owner, think about if you, your family, and lifestyle is ready for a new (and very demanding!) family member. Dog ownership can be hard work, costly and is a lot of responsibility. Consider the following:

  • Do I have the time to walk a dog everyday (even when it is raining and cold outside)?
  • Am I able to pay for a dog licence, and microchipping (both are required by law), as well as regular vet visits to keep a dog healthy?
  • Do I have space for a dog in my home, including outdoor space?
  • Do I go on holiday or regular weekends away? Would it be fair to be away from a dog for these periods of time?

Adopt, Don’t Shop

If you have what it takes to be a great dog owner, then adopt, don’t shop! Unregistered breeders may treat pups and mothers cruelly for profit. Check that a breeder is registered. Better yet, visit Rehome a Dog to adopt.

Dog Licence

All dogs over four months old and away from their mothers must have a dog licence. The dog owner must be over 16 years of age to hold a dog licence. Licences cost €20 per year and can be bought from your local post office or from Alternatively, a lifetime dog licence can be bought from Longford County Council for €140. Owners of kennels are required to have a general dog licence which covers a period of 12 months and can be purchased from Longford County Council for €400.

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, amended in 1992, all dog owners are required to have a dog licence. You can be requested by a dog warden to produce your dog licence and failure to do so can result in an on-the-spot €100 fine.

Part of your dog licence covers the collection of stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs. Dogs are cared for in Longford Dog Pound until returned, re-homed or moved to an animal rescue centre, if suitable. 


All dogs must be microchipped This helps to locate missing dogs. Failure to microchip your dog can result in a fine of up to €5,000.

Dog Control

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, dogs must be kept under effectual control at all times. 

The following dogs must be on a leash, muzzled and controlled by a person over 16 years old and who is capable of controlling the dog in public:

  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Bull Terrier
  • Bulldog 
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Akita
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • German Shepherd (Alsatian)
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Bull Mastif
  • Rottweiler
  • American Pitbull Terrier
  • Bandog
  • Any strain or cross of the above

An on the spot fine of €100 can be imposed for not complying with this.

No more than four greyhounds may be walked by one owner at a time.

Sheep Worrying

Dog attacks on sheep can cause serious injury and death. Such attacks result in emotional and financial difficulties for farmers and their families. Attacks can also lead to dogs being enthanised and fines for the owner. To prevent this, make sure your dog is under control when outside and ensure all dogs are securely housed at night.

Dog Fouling

Dogs fouling is a health hazard. The bacteria present within dog faeces is capable of being passed onto people, with children particularly at risk of illness. It also spoils our natural environment and public amenities. This is why dog owners need to bag it and bin it or risk a €150 fine. Failure to pay this fine can result in prosecution with a fine up to €3,000.

Dog Barking

Persistent dog barking can result in a complaint being made by your neighbours to the local district court. If you have a problem with your dog barking then it is important to try and resolve the issue. You should be notified by the complainant before the complaint is made. A copy of the notice of intention to make a complaint to the district court can be obtained from Longford County Council.

Dog Neutering (or Spaying)

Dog neutering (also called spaying) reduces the number of puppies and dogs that are euthanised every year. It can also reduce your dog contracting life-threatening diseases. Your vet can perform the procedure and you can expect your dog to be fully-healed within two weeks.

There are reduced rate neutering schemes for certain social welfare recipients. Please contact your local dog warden for more details.

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