Dog Tags and the Law

Dog Tags in the UK

Dog Tags and The UK Law

I have met an increasing number of people recently that appear to choose not to use dog tags, or even collars on their dogs. I have always had both on our 3 dogs, so I was intrigued to know why people were taking this stance. When asked why there was a variety of reasons that people have given, from not wanting to have a collar on the dog, not wanting to spend money on ‘superfluous extras’ for their pet and the main one; “the dog is microchipped”.

I was convinced that it was law to have identification on your dog so I had a hunt around on the Interweb to determine whether I was right or whether the need for identification was some kind of old wives tale that I had picked up without realising!

What the Law Says

According to the Control of Dogs Order 1992, it is a legal requirement for a dogs in a public place to wear a collar displaying the owners name and address. Telephone numbers aren’t mandatory, but are recommended for ease of contact should the dog go missing. This means the collar itself should carry these details, or you can attach a tag engraved with the relevant information instead if preferred.

You can be fined up to £5,000 if your dog does not carry this identification and it is not sufficient for the dog to just be microchipped.

I would never recommend that you include the name of your dog on the tag as this can help a thief pass a dog onto new owners because it appears the dog knows the thief and responds to their name.

Example Tags

If you’re not sure what information your dog tag should contain then we’ve included a couple of examples below.

Mr A Brown
No 1, AB12 3DE
01234 567891


Mr A Brown
No 1 The Street
AB12 3DE
01234 567891

If you are looking to purchase a dog tag we have a variety of different styles, sizes and shapes to suit all dogs and budgets.


There are a few different types of dog that are exempted from this requirement. These include:

  • Any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association;
  • Any dog while being used in emergency rescue work;
  • Any dog while being used on official duties by a member of HM Armed Forces, HM Customs and Excise or the Police;
  • Any dog while being used for driving cattle or sheep;
  • Any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin;
  • Any dog while being used for sporting purposes;

The important thing to remember is that if a dog is used for one of the above activities, they are permitted to not wear a dog collar and tag whilst working, but otherwise should have the collar and tags if out in public spaces.

A microchip alongside a collar and ID tag is the optimum way of increasing your chances of finding your dog if it is lost or stolen.  From this point of view they are invaluable.