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MaggieDog

Germany and dogs?

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I know that there are several people from Germany on the board, so I thought I'd post a question.

 

My fiance found out that he might be able to get a job in Germany once he graduates. Since by the time we get married I'll have two dogs, it is very important that I learn as much as possible about what it's like to have dogs in Germany.

 

I heard a while back that there are breed restrictions and some muzzling requirements in cities, but I've also heard that dogs are allowed pretty much everywhere, even on public transportation. What is it really like?

 

Are there opportunities for agility and herding training? How available are they?

 

How available/costly is vet care?

 

What's the general attitude toward dogs? Do people leash their dogs or do they all run loose (or a mix thereof)? If one has a reactive dog, will that cause problems (Maggie has 'space' issues w/ other dogs)?

 

Thanks! I look forward to learning more!

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It really depends on where you want to go. Germany is divided into different parts like the US is divided into states, and each of those parts has different laws. Cities and communities also have their own laws on subjects like dogs.

 

Here in southern Bavaria (and in the northern part too, as far as I can tell) people have a very relaxed attitude. You can let your dog run free almost everywhere. It's entirely normal to let dogs meet off leash and sniff each other. With an aggressive dog, you'd tell the other owner "be careful, he's not friendly", etc.

You can take dogs along on public transport in Munich, as well as into some shops and almost all restaurants.

 

I don't really know much about the rest of Germany. Austria (the Alps!!!) is just around the corner, so I seldom see any reason to go to the flat North.

 

In Nordrhein-Westfalen (one of the "states") they have a leash law. I believe they have dog parks, like in the USA. Some big cities also do. The dog parks are not necessarily fenced in.

 

When we were in the Eifel area, there wasn't a leash law, but people often kept their dogs leashed, and some reacted in a grumpy to hostile way when I allowed Kessie to approach their dogs. I'm not going back there again.

 

In the Black Forest it was just like here, no problem at all. Don't know if you saw the pictures of the BCs meeting I posted in the gallery ? that was in the Black Forest. All those dogs running loose, "in public".

 

In Frankfurt it was no problem either. She ran loose in the park and chased city rabbits.

 

There are special laws for dogs that are considered "Kampfhunde" (like pit bulls etc) under the law. I don't know exactly which breeds are concerned, but BCs, Aussies etc aren't.

 

Agility and obedience training are available in most places. Finding herding opportunities is a pain in the a... down here, but it seems to be better in the north.

 

Vet care can get expensive just like it does in the USA, but the normal little things like vaccinations are affordable enough (I think I paid about 20 Euros for a rabies shot last time.

 

the space issues shouldn't be a problem. If she just tells the other dog to leave her alone, the other dog's owner shouldn't hold it against her (or you). Again, I don't know if that would be the same in other parts of Germany.

 

That's all I can think of right now. If I think of anything else, I'll let you know.

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Germany is very dog-friendly. Well-behaved dogs are welcome in almost all restaurants and hotels, and there is an amazing amount of public green space (forests, meadows and farmland) where the dogs can be off-leash. Most German dogs are quite well-trained.

 

Make sure your recall is really good if you let your dogs off-leash in the forests--a dog that chases game can be shot--most of the Forstmeisters/Jagdmeisters (forest/hunting "masters") are not so hardline, but it is always better--and more responsible--to be safe.

 

Agility is pretty common over here--look for a club in the area you will live in.

 

Herding opportunities tend to be concentrated in Northern Germany and in the far south--down in Bavaria--I haven't found anyone close to me (I live near Heidelberg) that offers training/lessons.

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As many of you know, pit bulls are my other heart breed, so I have a sour take on Germany's breed specific laws. (And Toronto's. And Denver's. Ignorance, hysteria and urban legend are bad grounds for legislation in any country. [Good news from Ohio, though!])

 

From Der Spiegel:

HUNDE : "Kollektive Zwangsneurose"

Die neuen Verordnungen gegen gef?hrliche Hunde sorgen f?r Chaos: Jedes Bundesland hat eigene Regeln, Tierheime sind ?berf?llt, Tier?rzte verweigern ihre Mitarbeit. Inzwischen drohen die ersten Verfassungsklagen. Es brodelt zwischen Hundehassern und Hundeliebhabern.

Link.

Translation of sorts (not mine):The new [August 2000] laws against dangerous dogs bring chaos: every State has its own rules, the animal homes overflow, vets refuse to cooperate. In the meantime the first law suits against the Constitution threaten. It is dog haters against dog lovers.

 

Another take on the situation in Germany:

Each of the country's 16 provinces (or states) has created their own list of targeted breeds. For example, in Northrhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen), the most populated province in Germany (17.6 million), seven breeds have the most stringent restrictions placed on them. The condemned seven (American Staffordshire terrier, pit bull, Staffordshire bull terrier, Mastin de Espanol (Spanish mastiff), Dogue de Bordeaux (French mastiff) and Dogo Argentino (Argentinian mastiff), and (Neopolitan mastiff) are designated as highly dangerous dogs (referred to as Appendix One dogs). "The ultimate goal is clearly to annihilate these breeds," Steffen says.

 

In addition, 26 dog breeds - including the Doberman, Rottweiler and Briard - are listed in appendix two - requiring special government approval before they can be owned. Appendix three includes any dog (mixed breed or purebred) that happens to weigh over 44 lbs, and these dogs also have restrictions placed upon them.

 

The breed restrictions are confusing. What's more, the revered German shepherd dog is pretty much immune to any breed-specific mandate. According to the most recently available statistics from the Northrhine-Westphalia Office of the Minister of the Interior, 73 people in the province have been injured in dog attacks (where the breed has been identified) - and there has been one fatality - from 1989 through1997. German shepherds were involved in 41.9 per cent of the incidents (including the sole fatality). (The Appendix One-listed American Staffordshire terrier was targeted in only 4 percent of these incidents and pit bull-looking dogs in 16 percent. There were no reports whatsoever involving any of the other condemned seven.)

 

"The veterinary community knows breed restrictions won't work in the long run," says Dr. Thomas Goerbrich, via the Internet, a veterinarian in Munich. "But (political) authorities felt they needed to do something."

Meanwhile, in Italy...

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Luisa, just to make sure you are clear...the breed ban is not only in Toronto, but the entire province of Ontario. :mad: We are very hopeful that a recent court ruling in Sarnia where the judge stated the law was too vague and the upcoming court challenge through our Charter of Rights will toss the law completely. Send me a PM if you want more detail.

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Yes, but in Italy nobody follows the law. All joking aside, I get home to Italy three or more times a year and I think responsible pet ownership is actually increasing. I'm seeing a lot more people out with their dogs, lots of mutts leashed and dressed. Vets are popping up left and right, which means people are taking their pets in for routine care, as are better diets. Vet bills are tax deductible (I wish they were here as well).

 

But if I had to pick, I'd rather live with a dog in Germany. Germany is very dog friendly and there are A LOT of really well behaved pooches with responsible owners that don't ruin it for everyone else.

 

Maria

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Originally posted by Sabreur:

--down in Bavaria--

Do you know where exactly? That would be REALLY great!

The closest things we've found so far are one farm in the Schwarzwald (near Bad Wildbad) and one near Salzburg.

 

I agree, the dangerous breeds laws are complete rubbish. Sadly they probably won't get any better under the current government (puke!).

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My wife & I lived in Hamburg (in the Schleswig-Holstein "state"/region) for a while...and there are countless restaurants that allow you to take your (well-behaved) dog inside.

 

I think this may be as much to do with the weather as anything - if you left your dog outside while you were having a meal, it'd freeze to death in Winter.

 

There are also loads of parks - all of which had dogs in them - many off-leash. Germany is actually a very green and beautiful place...which doesn't get the tourist kudos that it should (Italy, France, Spain etc. are the tourist meccas).

 

One point to note is that most accomodation in Germany's cities is apartment living...and they are generally small (to make heating bills cheaper). As such, you will need to take your dog(s) outside - regardless of the driving rain/snow and near/sub-zero temperatures.....for daily exercise/toilet breaks.

Just something to keep in mind.

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Originally posted by Kyrasmom:

But if I had to pick, I'd rather live with a dog in Germany. Germany is very dog friendly and there are A LOT of really well behaved pooches with responsible owners that don't ruin it for everyone else.

 

Maria

Me too!! Thats why next year when I get my laurea, I'll move to GB(not in Germany, but out of Italy)!

:rolleyes: :D (well I hope so!!)

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