Luxembourg Insider is a regular column that takes a deep dive into life as an expat in the Grand Duchy.

One of the first things I had to look up after deciding to move to Luxembourg were the requirements for bringing my dog (pictured above) along. Luckily he's the proud (well, I'm not sure if he really cares) owner of a European (pet) passport and not a 'dangerous' breed, which made things quite easy.

Still, there's quite a bit to figure out - from vaccinations, to registering with the municipality (commune), finding a good vet, pet insurance options, dog training, where to buy food and toys, and finding someone to look after him if we need to go away for a day or two.

This part of the guide will cover all of that, as well as requirements for bringing other animals (cats, for instance), and getting a pet here. Non-dog people be warned: this guide is mostly about pooches. That's not because I am letting my obvious bias steer the article, though, but because they are the most complicated to move/buy/adopt/register.

We've got a fair old bit to get through, so I reckon we'd better get straight to it. I'll go grab a coffee first - let's meet back here in a few minutes.

Bringing your pet here - requirements

The requirements you have to meet will depend on (a) the pet you are bringing and (b) your country of origin. To make this as efficient as possible we'll outline how to bring the most common pets over, including region-specific requirements. Unfortunately the article would be far too long if we covered all animals - if you're bringing an animal not listed below you can scroll to the end of this section, where I will provide contact details for the Ministry of Agriculture. They're your first port of call for further information.

Bringing a dog to Luxembourg

Taking your dog along with you to Luxembourg is pretty straightforward, though the steps you have to take will depend, as noted above, on where you're bringing him/her (I don't like calling pets it) from and what breed s/he is. You can find detailed information on Guichet, Luxembourg's online information portal.

Do note that there are additional requirements for 'dangerous' breeds. This will not be covered in this section, so make sure to keep reading if your furry friend may fall in this category.

Bringing a dog from within the EU
As will be detailed in the section below, you are required to register your dog once you get here. So that this step goes smoothly, you must first meet certain conditions when bringing your dog here. You must:

  • Have your dog microchipped by a certified veterinarian (you can visit a veterinary in Luxembourg to have the chip listed in a local database should s/he get lost);
  • Have valid rabies vaccination, and evidence of this;
  • Have a completed European pet passport.

You may find that no one will check the passport as you travel across the border(s), as was the case for us. However, you will need this documentation when you first visit a vet here, and when you get your pooch registered with the municipality (commune). More on that later.

Bringing a dog from a third country
The requirements for bringing a dog from a non-European country are not vastly different to the above. You still need to meet the first two points listed in the checklist, but naturally you will not be able to get a European pet passport.

Instead, you will have to have a health certificate issued by a veterinary in the country from which you are moving. It must be signed by the veterinary, and certify that conditions for entry to the EU have been met.

Another important point of difference is that you may have to provide a rabies titer test, processed by an approved veterinary. Your local (home country) veterinary should be able to provide guidance on whether this is required - but if you are unsure, call the ministry of agriculture in Luxembourg (details further down in this section).

Bringing a cat, ferret, or other carnivore

Bringing other pets, such as cats or ferrets, requires meeting pretty similar conditions to the above. The main difference is that you may not need to chip your pet. If s/he was tattooed before 3 July 2011, this may be sufficient.

Beyond that, you will need to provide evidence of rabies vaccination, which may include a titer test if moving from a third country.

For other pets, or if you need further information

While the European Commission provides links to information about moving your pet to various EU Countries, Luxembourg's website is unfortunately listed as "under construction." That said, there is plenty of information available on EU regulations for moving pets.

If you are bringing a pet that we haven't covered above, or if you need further information, you should contact the ministry of agriculture. You can reach them by calling +352 247 82500.

Getting a pet in Luxembourg

Bringing a pet from abroad is certainly not the only way of obtaining a pet in the Grand Duchy - you can, in fact, get them here as well. Who would have thought!

If you are going to buy a bet, please make sure to go through an approved breeder. Unfortunately Luxembourg isn't spared of breeding profiteers, and pet breeding should not be taken lightly - you are never sure of the conditions under which pets are bred if buying from an unknown seller, and this is a practice best abandoned.

There are also lots of pets out there in need of a home, and it's always (if you ask me) better to adopt than to shop. You have plenty of options if you wish to adopt. A few good places to start:

Asile pour animaux Régional Dudelange
45 rue de la Forêt,
L-3471, Dudelange
+352 288 00 244

Déierenasyl
80 rue Wolfgang-Amadeus Mozart,
L-2166, Luxembourg
+352 48 13 13 1

SOS Animaux
58 rue de l'Avenir,
L-1147, Luxembourg
+352 26 78 00 88

Registering your dog, dog tax, and leashes

One of the first things you will need to do upon arrival is register your dog with your local municipality - or commune, as it's called here. This needs to be done within 4 months of the dog's birth or one month of a move. In other words, you have a month to get your dog registered once you move here or buy/adopt one. Since you will need to register yourself with the municipality as well, it's a good idea to get your pooch registered at the same time.

To register your dog, you will need:

  • A veterinary certificate indicating (1) your dog's breed, (2) whether your dog is potentially dangerous (more on this below), (3) your dog's rabies vaccination status;
  • A document proving that you have taken out civil liability insurance.

Dog tax

Municipalities levy an annual dog tax. The amount varies between municipalities, but the minimum you should expect to pay is €10 per year. You will most likely be able to make this back by making use of the free poo bags you'll find around the city/town/village - we certainly have!

Leashes

While there are 'clear' regulations, this is a slightly difficult area. You are obligated to keep your dog on leash in urban areas (and yes, I do know that there is a technical difference between a lead and a leash - but for the purpose of this legislation they are treated equally). The same goes for public transport, public parking lots, and sports fields.

You are, however, not obligated to keep him/her on leash outside urban areas - though your municipalities may have local regulations for particularly busy areas. This is assuming that you have control over your dog, and you have to be able to put them back on leash if needed.

Potentially dangerous dogs (again, more on this below - we are nearly there) must be kept on leash everywhere unless you have successfully obtained an obedience diploma.

Potentially 'dangerous' dog breeds

Special regulation applies to potential 'dangerous' dog breeds, and you need to get dog and handling training specifically for these breeds. That said, there's no shame (quite the opposite!) in contacting a dog trainer regardless of your dog's breed.

Affected breeds include:

  • Staffordshire bull terriers;
  • English mastiffs;
  • American staffordshire terriers;
  • Tosa;
  • Pitbull*- or boerbel-type breeds.

*Does not apply to the rapper pitbull. He's free to be off leash.

These breeds are subject to special authorisation by the ministry of agriculture (who you will remember from above). In order to buy or bring a dog of these breeds, you will have to hold a diploma from a veterinarian "specialised in canine ethology" and an official document attesting to the legality of owning the breed in question. For the diploma to be approved, the course must be at least 12 hours long and include training on proper dog handling, hygiene, and behaviour.

You must also submit a second declaration (in addition to registering with the municipality) within 18 months of the dog's birth. This must contain:

  • A veterinarian's certificate of spaying/neutering (for some breeds);
  • Your diploma proving that you have passed a dog training course ("Hondsführerschäin");
  • Your municipal registration confirmation;
  • A diploma proving that your dog has passed obedience training (as per above), provided by a dog trainer approved by the ministry of agriculture. Call them for information about this.

The obedience training must be confirmed by a panel of 3 judges, including the course organised, a veterinary, and an expert in dog handling. Two out of three must approve of your handling, and the licence is only valid for three years, after which you'll have to see them again.

If a potentially dangerous dog is lost you have to report it within 12 hours.

Puh, quite a list of requirements..

Buying pet supplies

We're finally done with the part of the guide that deals with getting your pet moved to Luxembourg, and I think we all deserve a solid high-five. Now it's time to feed them, get litter, toys, and other accessories.

So where might you go for that? Naturally, most supermarkets will have a range of pet foods and accessories. I've already written a long article about supermarkets though, so lets not get into that again.

With six shops dotted around the Grand Duchy, the biggest chain of pet shops in Luxembourg is Fressnapf (a quite big German chain). Other alternatives include Josy Welter in Bertrange, Hausdeier (online only, but based in Echternach with free delivery in Luxembourg), or Happy Dog in Hassel. If you have other shops to recommend, feel free to drop a comment and we'll make sure to add them!

Finding a veterinary

The most important thing, when it comes to finding a veterinary, is that they are close. You never known when a medical emergency is going to arise, so it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with local veterinary practices. Google will tell you this, but you may also want to look at Editus.

I personally use Jeanne Wirtz for home visits and  Cabinet Vétérinaire in Mersch for visits to a practice, and they have both been fantastic. There are lots of great vets out there, and you should look at what will work for you - but I've found these two to be great, and that's my subjective experience.

Medical pet insurance

This is something you may want to discuss with your vet. In terms of medical insurance, the options are surprisingly limited in Luxembourg. Indeed, our only option was to go with Gras Savoye - the coverage isn't as good as what we had in the UK, but costs slightly less. Other insurance companies should be able to cover your liability insurance.

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Martin Jonsson moved to Luxembourg in October in 2016, before which he lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, for 10 years. He's a freelance journalist and RTL Today contributor.