This page has information for dog owners or those thinking about getting a dog. Find out about dog registration and microchipping and find resources about dogs.

Dogs are a member of the canidae family of animals which includes foxes, wolves and jackals. Many experts today believe that the dog evolved from the grey wolf, which was at least partially domesticated roughly 15,000 years ago. Dogs are carnivores and hunters and are well adapted to hunting prey, having good sight and hearing and exceptional sense of smell.

Dogs as pets

Our relationship with dogs has a long and complex history. A favoured theory is that wolves hung around human settlements from where they scavenged food gradually developing into a partnership as they began hunting with us, acting as watchdogs and benefitting from access to fire. It is also possible that young animals were deliberately captured for pets.

Evidence suggests that this domestication occurred about 15,000 years ago and since then dogs have become highly oriented towards human society. Today there are more than 330 recognised breeds of domestic dog (as opposed to wild canines such as wolves) and the dog is the most varied animal species in terms of size, shape and behaviour.

Dog safety

We all want our dogs to be safe and to be safe around people. As a dog owner you have a responsibility to ensure that your dog has exercise and sufficient food, water and shelter. You're also required to ensure that your dog isn't a nuisance or danger to other people and animals. Before you get a dog you should consider:

  • Preparing your home for your dog:
    • Is your property adequately fenced to keep your dog in?
    • Where will your dog sleep and eat? Dogs need their own space where they can rest and eat without being disturbed.
    • Where will your dog be if you're all out? Your dog needs a secure area with food, water and shelter to spend time in while you're out.
  • Preparing your self and your family. By adopting a dog you are adding a new member to your family, and one which has particular physical and emotional needs

Dog care and training links

Extra doggy fun

Cover: Dog agilityMany dog owners enjoy the social and competitive aspects of having a dog. Search CINCH for dog clubs & training and related organisations.

Search our Catalogue for resources

More information

Dog control: registration and microchipping

The Dog Control Act 1996 requires all dogs over 3 months old to be registered with their local council every year by 1 July. Dog-owners have their details recorded on a National Dog Database and some dog-owners may have to microchip their dogs. Microchipping was introduced in July 2006 and provides a simple way of identifying dogs and linking them to their owner, making dog control easier and more effective. Microchipping of dogs in supported by laws that deal with owners of dogs found attacking people, stock, domestic animals and protected wildlife.

All dogs registered in New Zealand for the first time (except working farm dogs, which are exempt) are required to be microchipped using an approved microchip, correctly inserted. Microchipping is required for:

  • Dogs first registered since July 2006, except farm dogs used for working stock,
  • Dogs classified as dangerous or menacing, including dogs classified since 1 December 2003,
  • Unregistered dogs that are impounded,
  • Registered dogs that are impounded twice.

Dog control links

Department of Internal Affairs

Christchurch City Council

Other Councils’ dog information

Animal pages

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