Prague: The Dog Lovers Capital of Europe

Last summer, Prague was named the 4th most Dog-Friendly city in the World. For locals, this comes as no surprise: in 2019 it was reported that over 40% of households in the Czech Republic included a dog.

Czechs simply  love dogs, and this translates into the culture.

Dogs are allowed almost anywhere in Prague, including the Prague Zoo, and where they are not welcome (mostly Supermarkets and mini Markets), it is clearly indicated and a space is arranged for the dogs to wait for their owners. At bars and restaurants, it is common for patrons to have a furry friend under their table and for waiters to bring out water bowls for them unprompted (and often even before the customer’s order makes it to the table).

Dogs are also allowed on almost all means of transport with a muzzle, leash and a special ticket, however on some occasions it can even be for free. Visit the public transport in Prague website to learn more about the restrictions. 

Dogs are allowed to run free in most parks, making Prague a true paradise for dog lovers.Note that the parks have special signs showing where the dog must be walked with leash (mostly on the asphalt path where people are cycling) and where it can run free. As dogs are welcome in parks, and with so much nature around the city and within the city, there are no parks dedicated to dogs only in the Czech Republic. 

This is great news for expats, who often live alone or far from their families. After all, having a four legged friend in the city is not just great company, it’s also the perfect way to break the ice with neighbours and get to know the community. 

I just got a dog…now what?

If you get a dog in the Czech Republic, you will need to register it at the municipality closest to your address. You will then be required to pay a yearly fee that will contribute to the city expenses for dog-friendly services such as free dog waste bags and cleaning. You will find the bags in parks or in gardens in the neighborhoods, however they can also be placed on special marked columns on the streets. 

The only dogs not subjected to the dog registration fee are approved guide dogs assisting people with special needs, trained rescue dogs, and police dogs. 

How much is the annual dog registration fee?

  • 1500 CZK for the first dog
  • 600 CZK or the first dog if kept in an independent family house
  • 200 CZK if the first dog is registered by a pensioner whose only income is their pension

For any additional dog registered by the same owner, the fee will be one and half times the price of the basic dog registration fee.

On a special note, dogs coming from shelters in Prague are exempt from paying the fee for a two year period if living in Prague. 

All dogs must have a chip by law, and you may be subject to a fine if you have not arranged it. If you have adopted a dog from a shelter or adult dog from another family, the dog most probably will already be chipped, but you have the obligation to update your new ownership at the registry. If you adopted a puppy, you have to arrange the chip yourself. Your vet may be able to guide you or simply contact ReloCare for chip and registry support.

Adopting a Dog in Prague

As a foreigner, however, adopting a dog in Prague might be challenging as most of the shelters and organizations do not speak English. The dogs are often hosted in foster homes and you will require to travel to the specific location to meet with the dog. Normally there will be few “enquiries” for the adoption, and the most fitted match will be chosen by the shelter/organization. They will do their best to fit the specific dog needs to reduce the risk of the dog returning to the foster home.  Non EU individuals with a valid permit and EU members with a resident permit can adopt, but must provide a proof of the permit.  Fortunately, there are many private shelters you can contact if you do not have a valid permit. The adoption normally costs a symbolic fee to help the non-profit organization to continue their important animal saving activities.

ReloCare can recommend Cool Critters, a safe-haven for unwanted, abandoned and neglected dogs and cats. It is based in a countryside farmhouse about one hour from Prague and is run by a fellow expat from the UK, Jaq, together with a group of dedicated volunteers. 

For adoption, they require the completion of an adoption application to best match you with potential new furry friends. They also require that you agree that in the case you end up leaving Czech Republic you will take your adopted pet with you.

To contact or support Cool Critters you can visit their website www.coolcritters.org or you can email hello@coolcritters.org

Ellie

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