Chained Dogs in Portugal

There is no doubt, our followers of love their pets and all animals greatly. In fact, our article on Pet Laws in Portugal has created a great debate about Animal Welfare in the Algarve! One of the main concerns of animal lovers is about the problem of chained dogs in Portugal. A great number of our followers have asked;

Is it legal to chain dogs permanently in Portugal?

The short and simple answer is, No!

chained dogs in portugal

It is illegal to keep chained dogs in Portugal!

This violates Portuguese laws in force for the protection of companion animals. Relevant decree laws are; Decreto Lei no. 276/2001 art. no. 8, 13 & 27 and its amendment Decreto Lei no. 315/2003. These laws describe the required conditions for care, housing and transportation of companion animals, including cats and dogs. These decree laws are written in Portuguese, but you can easily translate them online.

Accommodation conditions in relation to restraining of pets

The law specifically states that:

1 – Animals must have adequate space for their physiological and ethological needs, and it should allow:

a) The practice of adequate physical exercise;

b) The escape and refuge of the animals subject to aggression by others.

Decreto Lei no. 276/2001 art. no. 8

Definition of external enclosures for companion animals

The law defines ‘external enclosure’ as:

A surface enclosed by a fence, walls, gratings or metal nets, often situated outside a fixed building, to which animals kept in cages or a cage or enclosure are allowed to move freely during certain periods of time, according to their ethological and physiological needs, such as exercising.

Decreto Lei no. 315/2003 art. no. 2

The harsh reality

Unfortunately, you can still see many chained dogs in Portugal. Some dogs are kept restrained by ropes or chains to trees or fences . This is especially so in the rural areas of Portugal. Restraining dogs with chains can never be justified. However, we should refrain from taking action ourselves especially if you feel that trying to help the dog may lead to any confrontation with the owner.

What should you do?

If you encounter any permanently chained dogs in Portugal, try to talk to the owner (if you feel safe). Never put yourself in any danger! If the issue persist you can seek help and report the case to the respective authorities in your area. You should report cases of animal cruelty to the GNR’s environmental unit, SEPNA.

Be an activist, Speak up & Help!

Try to create awareness and lead by example. Talk about the reality of chained dogs in Portugal. Do not turn a blind eye and support organisations that help animal welfare in Portugal. One such organisation that specifically fights the cruelty of  chained dogs in Portugal is Quebr ‘a Corrente (Break the Chain).

This organisation takes a novel approach to the situation. It assumes that the lack of the dog owner’s financial means stops them from sorting out proper shelter and fencing for their dogs. Consequently dogs end up restrained as a means of confinement. Although some people may not fully agree with this approach, it has definitely helped dogs out there. We invite you to have a look at their website to see how you can help free these dogs from their chains!

Do it through us & Spread the word!

If you know of any cases of chained dogs in Portugal especially in the Algarve but are afraid to speak up, then fear none and do it through us. Let us know of any such cases and we will be more than happy to bring it to the attention of Quebr ‘a Corrente. Spread the word and share this around to create awareness. Every little helps.

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Written by:


Hi I'm Maria. I am a mechanical engineer by profession but my love for animals drew me into the life of a pet sitter, which I surely do not regret.

I write weekly blog posts about interesting articles relating to pets and I am also responsible for the Cat Home Visiting Service and Pet House Sitting Service at Pet Sitting Algarve.