How to Adopt a Dog in Switzerland

by | Bern | 0 comments

The Swiss love animals. According to the results of a survey recently conducted by, 41% of those who live in Switzerland own a pet. The majority have cats (65%), dogs (31%) and rodents (13%). However, still there are dozens of homeless cats and dogs living in different shelters of country.

Today, in Switzerland there are about 100 different animal protection organizations, foundations, charities and shelters. Most of them are located in the cantons of Zurich, Bern and Thurgau. Once you decided to adopt an animal, remember you will save a life of a creature, your money and get a true friend!

There are no special restrictions on animal adoption in Switzerland. However, the procedure will take you a bit of time. We had a talk with Rommy Los from Zürcher Tierschutz and he shared some tips how to adopt a dog in Switzerland.

Photo: Maria Talanova / suissepic

Seven steps on dog adoption in Switzerland

  1. You should contact a local shelter and have a talk with its staff to make an appointment.
  2. Normally the shelters will give you a pre-adoption questionnaire. Be prepared to give a summary of your living conditions, experience, skills, and reasons for wanting to take a dog.
  3. The staff can also ask for a visit to your home. Because they care about the conditions where their pet will be placed. A home check is an opportunity to assess if you are right for the dog as well as if the dog is right for you. If you rent an accommodation, you should bring proof that you are allowed to have dogs in your house.
  4. You can start communicating with your future friend before the start of the adoption process.
  5. There is a training course that the Swiss shelters strongly recommend to pass – the SKN training course for new dog owners. It is not an obligation but anyway the trainers may propose you to do.
  6. Before you take a dog, some shelters can ask you to sign a contract. This is a safeguard for the dog. If you are unable to care for it more, you would be required to return it to the shelter. Also, the shelter retains the right to reclaim the dog if you are in breach of the adoption conditions. Adoption fees can vary rather widely and can depend on a dog size or breed.
  7. After adoption your new four-legged friend, you must not only register it with the local municipal council but you also must pay an annual ownership tax which can vary among municipalities.

Kristina Pominova for SUISSEPIC