buying a dog in germany
Expat Hacks,  Expat Life in Germany

Thinking of Buying a Dog in Germany? Read this first!

Are you considering buying a dog in Germany? Owning a dog in Germany comes with some bureaucratic obligations. Not only you have pay a dog tax in Germany. Dog owners also have to pay a mandatory dog liability insurance in Germany. Here is all you should know before you buy a dog in Germany. 


Nearly 60% of Germans share their life with a pet – with cats and dogs in lead as the favourite four-legged mates of the Germans.

As of 2019, 34 million pets live in German households. Country’s number one pet, you guessed right- is and remains – cat. A total of 14.8 million kitties live in 23 per cent of households in Germany.

At 9.4 million dogs are the second most popular pets in Germany, sharing home with 19 per cent of Germans.

But before you head off to the closest adoption centre, you should understand that buying a dog in Germany comes with a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork (No surprises there!). Here is a complete guide to dog tax and dog liability insurance in Germany.

PS: If you want to learn about how to buy a dog (or any pet) in Germany – read this.


Disclaimer: This blog post may include affiliate links. These links do not cost you anything but I might earn a small commission if you decide to order something from one of my recommended partners. Thank you for your support to help keep this platform growing!


buy a dog in Germany


Hundesteuer (Dog Tax in Germany)


The dog tax in Germany has a long history. Since the late Middle Ages, royalties demanded a fee for the maintenance of their hunting pack. Back then it was paid mostly in food or wares. 

In the 19th century, the official name became the dog tax.

The dog tax in Germany is determined by the local municipalities and the amount depends on your place of residence. When you buy a dog in Germany you can expect to pay anything between 50 € and 100 € per year.

Big cities like Munich, Hamburg, Cologne or Frankfurt levy higher taxes. However, in rural areas, the dog tax is generally much lower. 

This table below shows how much dog tax (as of May 2020) in Germany differs from city to city. 



First Dog

Second Dog

Additional Dogs


120 €

180 €

180 €


150 €

150 €

150 €


100 €

135 €

165 €


156 €

204 €

228 €


90 €

180 €

180 €


90 €

90 €

90 €


132 €

240 €

240 €


156 €

156 €

156 €


100 €

100 €

100 €


108 €

216 €

216 €



Hundehaftpflichtversicherung (Dog Liability Insurance in Germany) 


Regardless of the training, temperament or size, any dog can unintentionally injure third parties or damages their property – causing a great deal of grief to its owner.

Without a dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung), the dog owner is liable for damages caused by their dogs with ALL their assets. As you may have read in my private liability insurance posts, such third party claims can sometimes lead to bankruptcy.

Needless to say, dog liability insurance is a must-have for anyone thinking about buying a dog in Germany.


Dog liability insurance in Germany at a glance

The dog liability insurance compensates when an insured dog injures other people or causes financial or material damage.  Instances when a puppy chews or scratches expensive furniture while the dog owner is visiting friends, or if it bites a stranger or a dog sitter.


dog liability insurance germany
Not covered: chewed up greeens


If the injured person is unable to work for a certain time due to the injury, the loss of earnings is also insured by dog liability insurance in Germany. If the doggo really breaks loose and injures his dog friends, the dog liability insurance covers the veterinary costs.

I think now you can start to see how a situation can become tricky for dog owners – even if your four-legged friend has graduated from puppy training with flying colours. 

But here are some additional reasons to take it even more seriously.



Why is dog liability insurance in Germany so important?

Every year, dog owners in Germany report an average of 100,000 claims for damages caused by their dogs – which are compensated by dog liability insurance. Without dog liability insurance, dog owners must bear costs for the damage themselves.

In unfortunate cases when a dog causes bodily harm to people, it can quickly get very expensive for dog owners. These two examples from everyday life illustrate the considerable financial risk that dog owners take without dog liability insurance in Germany.


Case example



Dog Bite

During the walk with the dog, a second dog approaches the first dog. A scuffle between the dogs follows. The second dog jumps up at the first dog's owner and bites his hand.

A court awards the injured party damages of 2,000 euros and a further 1,560 euros for damaged clothing and glasses.

Traffic Accident

A dog suddenly runs across the road, and a car driver prevents the crash by braking hard. However, the car behind couldn't swerve out of the way and smashes into the first car.

The passengers are injured. The dog owner must pay more than 80,000 euros for the damage to the vehicles, damages and compensation for pain and suffering.



Where do you need dog liability insurance in Germany

Dog liability insurance in Germany is either compulsory, dependent on the dog breed or highly recommended. As a rule of thumb, it depends on which German state you live in. The dog liability insurance is required in almost all federal states for doggos who are classified as dangerous.


dog liability insurance in germany
Welp! They’re evolving!


Here is a break down:

States where dog liability insurance is compulsory:

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Niedersachsen
  • Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein

States where you need dog liability insurance depending on the dog’s breed:

  • Baden-Wurttemberg
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hessen
  • Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Rheinland-Pfalz
  • Saarland
  • Sachsen

States where dog liability insurance is highly recommended:

  • Bayern
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern


What is the cost of dog liability insurance in Germany?

The monthly costs of dog liability insurance in Germany depend on the selected services and the amount of coverage. Many insurance providers offer a standard coverage of 5, 20 or even 50 million euros.

The breed of the dog also influences the insurance premium. Owners of large breeds and dangerous classified dogs must pay more for coverage.

If you want to keep the costs for the dog liability insurance as low as possible, you should compare several offers on the market. You can also reduce the costs by opting for a higher personal contribution.

Many insurers also reward an annual payment with a discount.

Since the insurance providers differ considerably in price, it makes sense to compare several tariffs with each other to find a good and inexpensive dog liability insurance in Germany.



Coverage Amount
(in million)

Annual Rate
(Starting from)


ARAG Basis

5,00 Mio €

59,40 €

ARAG Komfort

15,00 Mio €

72,60 €

BavariaDirekt Komfort S

10,00 Mio €

23,60 €

BavariaDirekt Komfort M

30,00 Mio €

24,00 €

CosmosDirekt Basis

5,00 Mio. €

66,60 €


30,00 Mio €

59,99 €

Getsafe Comfort  [ENGLISH]

15,00 Mio €

42,30 €

Getsafe Premium  [ENGLISH]

20,00 Mio €

47,98 €


You can also use this dog liability insurance calculator (Hundehaftpflichtrechner) to compare even more offers for your dog’s breed, your personal requirements and budget.




Dog Health Insurance


This is one is optional but can be quite handy on occasions.

Vaccinations, castrations or sterilisations are not that pricey in Germany. However, vet bills can get quite expensive in Germany for bigger treatments.

Since healthy young dogs may not need any sudden medical treatments, you can also do without dog health insurance altogether. However, it is clever to set aside a reserve for emergencies and save up for unplanned medical treatment for your doggo.

If you really really want to create a safety net, it can be useful to take out pure surgery cost insurance to get at least part of the expensive surgery costs reimbursed. The premiums for such tariffs are lower than the more comprehensive policies.

AGILA is a German provider that specialises in pet health insurance. They provide operation coverage starting at just 5,90 € per month.


AGILA OP-Kostenschutz


I hope all this boring and detailed information does not pipe down your puppy parent instincts. These are just small official things that need your attention about once a year. After all, your puppy is totally worth the effort, isn’t he?  


dog tax in Germany



Did you buy a bog in Germany? How was your experience of dog ownership here? Did you ever had to use your dog liability insurance in Germany? Tell us in the comments below. 

Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.


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