Everything You Need To Know About Adopting A Pet From Another EU-Country

Are you planning to adopt a dog or a cat from a dog or cat shelter? This pet blog has all information on getting your rescue kitten or rescue puppy an EU passport. It also includes banned breeds such as the pitbull terrier.

If you've ever considered adopting a pet from abroad, you have probably also thought about the struggles that might come with it. I get it - adopting from another country seems a little off-putting to some people. How do I find trustworthy animal protection organizations? What about diseases? And most importantly - is it even allowed? Let's dive into this topic together and find out all the answers to your questions. Here's everything you need to know about adopting a pet from another EU country.

Entry requirements

European pet passport

First things first, we need to clarify what the requirements are for your pet to enter Germany. Now, whether you fell in love with a little kitten during your Italy vacation and have decided to bring it back to Germany with you or use an adoption website from home - the most important document for your pet is the European pet passport (EU-Heimtierausweis). Any authorized veterinarian within the EU can issue a passport for a pet. However, to receive the passport, your pet must have a current rabies vaccination. The animal is not allowed to travel without a pet passport and all the necessary information documented in it. Additionally, your puppy or kitten can only enter Germany if it is more than 15 weeks old.

On top of that you, as the owner, have to confirm in writing that your pet will not be given to third parties after its' arrival in Germany. Anyone bringing pets here for mediation should first receive permission from the responsible veterinary office (Veterinäramt), as required by the Animal Welfare Act (Tierschutzgesetz).

Vaccinations and health requirements

According to EU regulations, the movement of cats, dogs, and ferrets between EU countries is only allowed if they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before the trip. The vaccination cannot be more than twelve months old and must be documented in the pet passport. Furthermore, the pet passport must contain the identification number of the microchip or tattoo of the animal. Lastly, you should make sure that your pet is free of and vaccinated against any Mediterranean diseases such as:

  • Worms and other parasites
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine distemper
  • Scabies
  • Dog tick fever (ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis)
  • Canine malaria (babesiosis)

Banned breeds

When it comes to puppies, you have to keep in mind that customs maintains a list of dog breeds (and their crossbreed) classified as dangerous. That doesn't mean that it's impossible to adopt these breeds. However, it is way more complicated and comes with a lot more legal requirements that make the process even more difficult. These breeds include:

Pitbull Terrier

American Staffordshire-Terrier

American Staffordshire-Terrier

American Staffordshire-Terrier

Depending on which federal state you live in, additional dog breeds may be excluded if dangerous behavior is suspected. If you have any doubts about whether the dog you want to adopt is considered a dangerous breed in your federal state, you can ask at the public order office (Ordnungsamt) or the central information of customs (Zollauskunft) for more details.

Fortunately, this doesn't apply to cats so feel free to adopt any cat (or all of them)... :)


Animal protection organizations such as TASSO will usually ensure that their animals are vaccinated, chipped, and free from any diseases before they release them for mediation. It is always desirable if the future owner and animal get to know each other in person beforehand. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, which is why it's important to clarify in advance whether or not animals and humans are compatible. Some animals have experienced abuse and trauma in the past, which leads to trust issues towards humans along with dangerous defense mechanisms and behaviors. So be prepared for a lot of consultation and even pre-inspection by an employee of your home and living situation to prevent a return of the animal to the shelter. If you want to take a look at some potential pets, you can visit TASSO's online shelter.

In conclusion, adopting a pet from another EU country does come with some effort, so be 100 % certain of the responsibilities that you will face. BUT it also comes with its' rewards. Not only is it a wonderful thing to do - adopt, don't shop - you are also offering a home and safe environment to a once stray animal, and in return, you will receive all the unconditional love you can get. Win-Win! If you haven't already, check out our blog post on how to get your dog registered once they have arrived in Germany (yes, more laws and regulations but, trust me, it's less complicated than it sounds). Until next time, stay happy and healthy!

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