Pet Law in Portugal Explained – Download Portuguese Pet Law

In this article we discuss Pet Law in Portugal. We also provide you with links to download the Portuguese Pet Law in PDF form.

pet laws in portugal

Every serious pet owner who lives (or plans to live) in Portugal should get to know what local Portuguese pet law says about pet animals. Pet law in Portugal provides a framework for the welfare of cats, dogs and small domestic pets.

It is always a good idea to know the basic law requirements, such as; identification, registration, accommodation and vaccination.

We have compiled this article packed with essential information that will safeguard you and your pet especially if you ever lose your pet in Portugal!

Pet Law in Portugal – All you Need to Know!

For added convenience, we have divided this article into short and easy to follow sections. Just follow the links below to the appropriate section of interest.

As a pet owner living in Portugal you should really know what pet law in Portugal is all about. In addition, this list is also very important if you are considering to relocate with your cat or dog to Portugal.

Keep in mind that, pet law can differ greatly between continents and even European countries. So, make sure to check the Portuguese pet law before you relocate to Portugal.

This article will help you avoid any surprises, disappointment or involuntary fines later on!

Jump to Section:

  1. Registration and Identification
  2. Walking your dog or cat
  3. Vaccines
  4. Pets living in apartments
  5. Pet abandonment
  6. Reporting: death, change of ownership, loss or theft
  7. Responsibility for dog actions
  8. Dangerous and potentially dangerous animals
  9. List of potentially dangerous dog breeds

Registration and Identification

Every pet owner is responsible to clearly identify with a microchip and register his pets in the Portuguese national pet database. The owner has to do this when his pet is between three and six months old.

Portuguese pet law clearly states that all dogs born after the 1st of July 2008 must have an identification chip (microchip) regardless of breed or purpose. In the case of cats this obligation will take place from a date which is yet to be defined and declared by the Ministry of Agriculture. (Download – Decreto nº 313/2003 of the 17th of December artº 3º & 6º)

Note: Of course, there is no doubt that micro-chipping and registering your cat will ultimately benefit both you and your cat should he get lost.

According to Portuguese pet law, only veterinarians can implant the electronic identification i.e. microchip. This microchip is a very small capsule that is applied under the skin in the left lateral side of your pet’s neck. (Download – Decreto nº 313/2003 of the 17th of December artº 3º)

After the microchip is implanted, you have 30 days to register and license the pet in your residence area, at the local office of the “Junta de Freguesia”.

You will need to present your pet’s sanitary bulletin and registration form, both obtained and duly filled by a veterinarian. (Download – Portaria nº 421/2004 of the 24th April art nº 2º and 3º)

The license of the animal must be renewed annually at the office of the “Junta de Freguesia” where the animal was first registered. (Download – Portaria nº 421/2004 of the 24th of April art nº 4º)

Walking your Dog or Cat

Every cat or dog that is walked in public places must be in line with pet law in Portugal. The law states that pets must wear a collar or harness with inscription of the name and address or telephone number of the owner. (Download – Decreto nº 314/2003 of the 17th December art 7º)


Owners of all dogs are obliged by law to ensure that any dog over the age of three months is vaccinated against rabies. (Download – Portaria nº 81/2002 of the 24th January art nº 2)

Pets Living in Apartments

Those residing in an apartment may only have up to 3 dogs or 4 adult cats per apartment.

However, the total number of pets in any apartment can never exceed 4 in total.

In addition, please bear in mind that condominium agreements of apartment buildings may allow further restrictions on the quantity of pets you can keep per apartment. (Download – Decreto nº 314/2003 of the 17th December art nº 3º)

Pet Abandonment

Under Portuguese pet law, the following scenarios are considered as pet abandonment:

  1. Taking no effort to provide the necessary care and accommodation.
  2. Freeing the animal from its usual accommodation without holding anyone responsible for its care and accommodation, such as another person, the local authority, or animal shelter.

These acts are considered an offence that is punishable by fines ranging from 25€ to 3740€. (Download – Decreto nº 315/2003 of the 17th of December art nº 6ºA and 68º)

Reporting: Death, Change of Ownership, Loss or Theft

Portuguese pet law states that you are responsible to report: death, transfer of ownership or loss of your pet to the local “Junta de Freguesia”. If you fail to do so and your pet is found by the authorities, you can be accused of abandonment. (Download – Portaria nº 421/2004 of the 24th of April art nº 3º)

Similarly, you must report: death, theft or loss of the pet within 5 days. You must report any change to, or loss of your pet’s sanitary card within 30 days. (Download – Decreto nº 313/2003 of the 17th December art nº 12º)

Responsibility for Dog Actions

Under Portuguese pet law, you (or any other person in control of your pet at the time of incident) are responsible for any injuries or damages that the pet may cause to third parties or their property.

You are also liable for any medical expenses incurred by third parties. In addition you can also be charged with a crime or civil responsibilities based on your pet’s actions. (Download – Portaria nº 81/2002 of the 24th January art nº 29º)

Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Pets

Pet law in Portugal defines dangerous pets as pets that in any way have revealed aggressive behaviours in the past.

Under Portuguese pet law, potentially dangerous pets are those that according to species and breed may cause injury or death to people or other animals. (Download – Decreto Lei nº 312/2003, de 17 de Dezembro)

List of Potentially Dangerous Dog Breeds

The Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture considers the following dog breeds as potentially dangerous.

  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tosa Inu

(Download – Portaria Lei nº 422/2004 of 24th April)

Portuguese pet law does not prohibit you from owning a dog of the above breeds. However, there are stringent rules you must consider before deciding to own (or relocate with) any such dogs in Portugal.

Always check with the local Junta de Freguesia before getting or relocating with a potentially dangerous dog breed to Portugal. Make sure you and your dog meet the requirements and register accordingly.

All dangerous and potentially dangerous dog breeds referred above must have electronic identification (microchip). In addition, these breeds also need a special licence issued by the “Junta de Freguesia” and the owner must purchase liability insurance.

The law requires that the owner is over 18 and undergoes a psychological aptitude evaluation. In addition, the owner must sign a responsibility term, and must not have a criminal record. (Download – Decreto Lei nº 312/2003, de 17 de Dezembro atr nº 3º)

Disclaimer: This article about pet laws in Portugal should not substitute the reading of the law itself. In case of doubt, you can talk to your local veterinary or Junta de Freguesia.

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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.