Bringing and having a dog in Germany/Bavaria

I'll be moving to Bavaria soon with a dog and have a few questions:
   1. Is there a similar license/training required for dog owners as in Switzerland?
   2. How hard is it to rent a house with a dog? Barking rules? Not alone during the day rules? (as in Switzerland)
   3. Any odd dog ownership etiquette beyond common sense and personal responsibility?
   4. General attitude towards approaching another dog for socialising, off -leash areas etc
   5. travelling with a dog on public transport
   6. dog in public spaces such as restaurants, beer gardens and shops
   7. Any other experiences?

Any comments / suggestions are much appreciated

Renting with dog obviously depends on the landlord and the size/noise of your dog, but it is generally uch more difficult than without pet.
If your dog barks (and neighbours complain) between 12noon and 3pm or at night (Sundays whole day), you can be kicked out by your landlord.
I am not aware of any rules other than registering the dog (and paying the associated tax) and keeping him on a leash at all times (not always endorced, but if anyone complains you'd be in troible).
In many places (shops, restaurants, etc.) dogs must wait outside.  If it's a big breed, it is common sense to keep it away from kids, playgrounds (public parks in general) and everybody who might be afraid.

I am posting 2 links (in German). Maybe you can translate them with a program if you can't understand. German law gives people a right to have normal house pets like cats and dogs. A landlord cannot legally make a general rule that no dogs or cats are allowed. But they can make problems if there are actual problems like too much noise, aggressive behavior, leaving excrement around etc. The burden of proof is then on the landlord to show there is specific cause an animal is not acceptable. I am not sure if this applies when the landlord (or someone else) in the same house might be allergic and thus have a health reason to limit pets.

One could later go and buy a pet and they have nothing legal to say about it unless like mentioned they can give proof that it makes specific problems. Many problems can arise as most landlords probably don't know the law. They might often argue that a pet can cause damages but a renter is liable for any damages when they move out anyway who or what ever causes them. Thus the courts can reject this possibility as grounds for not accepting pets.

On the other hand, before renting something out, a landlord can ask almost anything and if they don't want animals they can simply not give you the place to begin with. The reality though is that if a landlord really doesn't want pets then it is difficult to be in a constant relationship of conflict. … -hund.html … etwohnung/

In general one sees a lot of dogs in Germany, not just in parks but in cafes and on public transportation etc. Generally one is expected to leave them outside of commercial establishments. They need to be kept on a leash and there is now a law that all dogs on the list of potentially aggressive races need to have a muzzle. Exceptions are made for service dogs. One can also get an exemption by having a dog take a special behavior test.

From my experience, the police are pretty picky about leash laws but I see plenty of big pit bulls for example without a muzzle. So it seems muzzle laws are not properly enforced until now or possibly they have been certified to be no risk without a muzzle . But if someone gets bitten then the owner will be seen as having been criminally negligent for not having muzzled their dog. Here is a post about muzzle laws.

Tom's comments about renting and pets are not entirely correct: what he wrote applies to small pets that usually stay indoors and cause no disturbance, like hamsters, rabbits, cats, etc. Dogs fall under this if they are small, quiet breeds. For all others, you need the landlord's permission (which he can withdraw at any time if there are problems).
There have been many conflicts and courts do not agree with each other which breeds are "small and unproblematic" and which ones are not.
I think you should be honest upfront (and have a smaller pool of potential apartments) rather than risk a bad relationship with your landlord (and a possible lawsuit).

Well, I specifically mentioned "NORMAL house pets like cats and dogs" exotic or wild rather than domesticated animals are another thing. But the original question was about dogs. One of the articles I posted specifically states that the courts have decided that the size of a dog, rather than it's behavior is NOT an acceptable grounds to disallow it. And the burden of proof to disallow an animal is clearly on the landlord’s responsibility to prove it actually causes problems rather than on his good will to "allow" it.

I have to wonder if Beppi actually read the articles I posted because he seems to be repeating what is a widely spread misconception in Germany. Yes, many landlords will attempt to disallow pets in their rental agreements but the courts have found such blanket prohibitions to be invalid.

Yet, the reality in Germany is that the legal system is not efficient. Foreigners often cry about how regulated society is in Germany but are in for a rude awakening to find out that the trains don’t always run on time and your rights under the laws are not always protected due to long waits for court dates and inefficient judges.  Such laws are often ignored and one risks taking years of time at quite an expense to fight it out in court. And then the judges in the lower courts seem to ignore both laws and facts and one has to appeal to a higher court. And like I mentioned, it is a dubious situation to try to fight to have an animal when the landlord is really against it despite the laws.

I agree to what you wrote about the German court system -as in most countries it is vastly preferable to have nothing to do with it, even if that means being more flexible on your "rights" than the letters of the law suggest.
I did read the links. It states (a bit hidden, but other articles on the Internet are clearer) that you do need to ask your landlord for permission before acquiring a dog (except if its a small, undisturbing dog). If your landlord does not give permission without having the right reasons (and the law and prior court decisions are as vague about what right or wrong reasons are as they are about which dog are or aren't allowed without permission), then you can force him by court decision to give that permission. But I can guarantee that you won't have a good relationship with him/her after that - in most cases it would be better to just move to a more dog-friendly place.

Here is a rough translation of the first of my posts:

Immonet: Following the decision of the BGH (upper courts) owners may prohibit pets only on an individual case by case basis and only when the disturbing factors predominate. Must the landlord list or prove the disturbing factors?

Ricarda Breiholdt: It is true that the landlord must make relative, objective arguments to prohibit the desires by the tenant to own a cat or dog. Here, the Supreme Court expressly emphasizes that a pre-formulated in the lease ban on cat and dog ownership and animal husbandry in total - also taking into account small animals - is not allowed. Rather, a comprehensive consideration of the interests of the landlord and the tenant and the tenants and neighbors is required. Past considerations and life experience are not sufficient to justify a ban; the landlord must explain and justify the specific negative grounds against a cat or dog.

If the pets are not detrimental to other tenants, must the landlord then consent? Or are there other ways to ban pets?

Breiholdt: Legitimate interests of roommates and neighbors are just one aspect of the assessment. Size, condition and location of the apartment or house where the apartment is located, a comprehensive balance of interests also play a role. Also including the type, size, behavior and number of animals, the personal circumstances, the number and type of other animals in the house, previous handling by the owner as well as the special needs of the tenant. So may be reasons to ban animal husbandry, for example the threat of pollution and excessive wear of the rented property. However, here is not enough, the general experience that dogs and cats can cause dirt or that floors and walls wear out faster in general. Rather, the landlord must demonstrate concretely how the apartment, or optionally the stairwell, (and this is important) will suffer excessive wear by the specific animal.

Tip: The Supreme Court has ruled that the landlord may NOT refuse to rent solely on the basis of the size of a dog.

What happens if the landlord and tenant cannot agree on what are disruptive behavior or disagree how much the animal would disturb neighbors?

Breiholdt: Such a case usually ends up in court. Depending on the configuration of a lawsuit the tenant can appeal for his right of approval of having a pet is required or else the landlord makes an injunction against his tenants. The decision rests with the judge who must in individual cases weigh all put forward criteria.

How do I go about it if I want to ask my landlord to make an individual decision?

Breiholdt: It is important first to look at the lease. So the decision of the Supreme Court applies only to form contractual arrangements, however, not for an individually agreed cat or dog ban. As a rule, however, the tenant should approach the owner or the manager in charge and ask for the consent and possibly even explain his motives.

Are there cases where it is not even worth to ask the owner permission? For example, if I have a dog that barks a lot or I am the owner of a Bulldog?

Breiholdt: The practice shows that it is in the more "problematic" animals rule to considerable conflicts not only in landlord-tenant relationship, but also between the residents. Although the pets may temporarily go well, this can, however, change quickly when added other residents who feel disturbed by the barking or aggressive behavior of the animal and are scared. In this case, the size of the animal can play a significant role. In the case decided by the BGH case it was a small, only about 20 cm high shoulder Maltese crossbreed. But the possession of a Great Dane in an apartment though is not excluded in principle. Here it is decided in each individual case, which may include the question of animal welfare or a hazard or annoyance to neighbors through jumping, allergies or constant barking.

Thanks beppi and TominStuttgart for great information and discussion. That's great help. I think you have covered the legal side well.

I'm also interested in the experience of people with dogs in semi rural areas such as little towns in Bavaria for example, where one would expect local nuances and possibly less strict adherence to the written law. In particular with regards to off leash areas, say forests, swim spots, etiquette of approaching another dogs for socialising, travelling with a dog, common pests (no paralysis ticks or snakes I would guess) etc

I think you are right that rural areas will be less likely to have or enforce any leash laws. Ticks and some of the diseases they carry are definitely a concern so immunizations and strategies to avoid such things are usually necessary. I have never even seen a snake in Germany myself as all 6 types are endangered. There are 2 poisonous species that live in the southern Black Forest but 1 should only be mildly poisonous and the other rarely fatal. Rabies is still a problem in many regions of Germany and all dogs should be immunized. Yet the danger of tick carried diseases is the highest risk factor - also one for humans if you get out in the country.

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