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Registering your dog in Beijing: everything you need to know

Learn how to register your dog in Beijing with this handy guide

All photos: International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS)

Attention! Your dog's registration expired on April 30. Dogs need to be registered again before before May 31. Your pooch runs the risk of being classified as a ‘stray dog’ and taken away by the PSB if you don't.

Mary Peng over at the International Centre for Veterinary Services (ICVS) has been extremely kind in providing the comprehensive information below for those not familiar with the process. The below info is the result of weeks of painstaking research – calling as many regional PSB offices as possible to get the most accurate, up-to-date information possible. Take it away, Mary!

Every year from May 1 to June 30 in Beijing, the Public Security Bureau (PSB) conducts its annual dog registration and licensing renewal drive. All dogs are required to be registered by law, including service dogs and dogs owned by diplomats. Dog licences are valid from May 1 to April 30 of the following year. The current licences for all 2 million-plus dogs registered in Beijing collectively expired last weekend, on Saturday 30 April 2016.

For the 2016-17 licensing period, all dogs must begin licensing renewal after Sunday 1 May. A comprehensive summary on the Beijing dog registration and licensing regulations is provided by ICVS, below. For step-by-step instructions on how to register your dog and the process at the PSB, visit the ICVS web site.


Photo credit: choco_f45 by choco@Nerima from flickr.com

Dog licensing fees

The dog licensing fees vary by district. Within the eight districts of ‘strict enforcement of dog ownership regulations’ – for example Chaoyang, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan – the fees are 1,000RMB for the initial registration and 500RMB for annual renewal. Licensing fees for other districts are lower, around 600RMB for initial registration and annual renewal fee of 300RMB.

Spay/neuter certificates

Dogs with spay/neuter certificates from legally registered animal hospitals in Beijing may enjoy discounts of 50 percent on the initial registration fee or 40 percent discounts on the licensing renewal fee. Please enquire with your veterinary hospital for an official spay/neuter certificate.

Size restrictions on dogs

The regulations state that dogs registered within the eight strict enforcement districts of Chaoyang, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan must not be taller than 35cm when measured from the ground to the shoulder.

If you have a dog that is taller than 35cm, keep in mind that the PSB will allow a little leeway and the decision to allow a dog to be licensed is up to the individual officer on duty at the time.

If you register a puppy within the eight districts of strict enforcement that then grows to be significantly over 35cm, your dog licence is automatically void.

Dogs that are significantly taller than 35cm may be legally registered at a household address that is outside of the eight districts of strict enforcement (eg Shunyi, Tongzhou, Changping, Pinggu, Huairou, Miyun).


Photo credit: Shelties are smaller than Rough Collies by Chris from flickr.com

Registering multiple dogs

Only one dog may be registered per household address. If you own multiple dogs, you will need a second household address to register the second dog.


Photo credit: from pixabay.com

Microchipping and pet identification

Some sub-districts in Beijing are beginning to experiment with microchipping requirements for dogs, but there is no municipality-wide microchipping requirement yet. ICVS strongly recommends microchipping all dogs and cats as the microchip is valuable in identifying and establishing legal ownership of pets. Lost pets in shelters and PSB animal pounds can be identified by microchip numbers. Lost and found pets caught up in ownership disputes have been returned to their rightful owners based on verification of microchip numbers. If you are planning on taking your pet overseas, microchipping is mandatory due to Quarantine Bureau requirements.

For identification purposes, owners are recommended to attach a pet ID tag to the collar with their mobile phone number engraved on the tag, even if the pet is already microchipped. ICVS can custom-engrave Pet ID tags for pet owners on-site and offers microchipping services for all pets with the European Union ISO 11784/11785 standard microchips. Contact ICVS directly for more information

Strict enforcement of dog registration and licensing in 2016

This year is expected to be a year of strict enforcement for registering dogs. The Government uses the dog licensing programme to control and ensure rabies vaccinations for dogs. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of human rabies deaths in Beijing has been on the rise, increasing from four confirmed deaths in 2014 to eight confirmed deaths as of August 2015. All of these rabies fatalities were caused by exposure to dogs.

All dogs must be rabies vaccinated annually in China. China does not recognise the three-year rabies vaccines from other countries. Registered dogs must show proof of a legal rabies vaccination within the past 12 months to renew registration. Even though the official dog registration period is from Sun 1 May to Thu 30 June, the crackdowns have begun earlier each year. ICVS strongly recommends owners to register and renew dog licences by Tue 31 May. Any dog that is not licensed is classified as a stray dog. Once the official crackdown begins, after Tue 31 May, unlicensed dogs may be taken away on the spot by the PSB. Owners will have to pay the dog licensing fee and also a potential fine of up to 5,000RMB.

To renew dog licences, owners must prove that their dogs received a rabies vaccination from an officially designated animal rabies vaccination hospital within the past 12 months. The PSB will not renew your dog licence without proof of rabies vaccination for your dog. Your official vaccination certificate known as the Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate (eg vaccination red book), should be brought to the PSB to verify your dog’s legal rabies vaccination. Some local hospitals are also issuing paper A4 rabies vaccination certificates, which may also be used as proof of rabies vaccination at the PSB. Legally rabies-vaccinated dogs are also required to wear the new rabies ID tag on their collars.


Officially designated animal rabies vaccination hospitals

Please ensure your pet is vaccinated at a legally registered and officially designated animal rabies vaccination hospital. Only officially licensed and designated animal vaccination hospitals are allowed to purchase and administer animal vaccines that are legally imported, registered with the State Food & Drug Administration (SFDA) and safe for pets. Designated animal vaccination hospitals must display a gold plaque issued by the Agricultural Bureau featuring the hospital’s ‘Vaccine Licence Number’ (see photo, below). Unauthorised facilities such as pet shops, pet product retailers, boarding kennels, grooming salons, dog training schools, non-designated animal clinics and pet hospitals are not permitted to procure and administer legally registered vaccines. Please take caution as you may risk having your pets injected with products that may have been sourced through unsecured, illegal channels. These products may be expired, counterfeit or improperly stored and ineffective (like non-refrigerated vaccines). Pets that are vaccinated at non-designated rabies vaccination hospitals are not protected from rabies.


Official 'Animal Rabies Vaccination Clinic' plaque at ICVS

ICVS is a legally registered and officially designated animal vaccination and full service pet hospital in Chaoyang district and can provide rabies, distemper and all other vaccinations for pets. ICVS can issue the official Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate (eg vaccination red book) and the new rabies ID tags. The new rabies ID tags must be worn by all dogs and are issued together with the vaccination red books.

The vaccination red book is an important legal document and is still required for dog registration and by the Quarantine Bureau to approve pets for overseas export or to take them to other cities. You no longer need to carry your vaccination red book with you when walking your dog as all dogs can now wear the rabies ID tag to prove legal rabies vaccinations.

If you have a legally registered dog from any district in Beijing, you can take your dog licence ID card and your fa piao to get 50 percent discounts on rabies and canine distemper vaccinations at ICVS. Dogs with valid dog licences and fa piaos issued in Chaoyang District can get a free annual rabies vaccination at ICVS and 50 percent discount on the canine distemper vaccination.

Carrying your dog licences

Owners should carry their dog licences with them when walking dogs or at least a photocopy of the dog licence. If your dog licence ID card has not been issued yet or if you are awaiting a replacement ID card, carry a copy of your fapiao that you received at the time of payment for the registration and licensing fee. The fapiao serves as proof that your dog is legally registered. During the dog registration drive and ensuing crackdown period, all persons walking dogs should carry a valid dog licence or the fapiao. In the past the PSB have taken dogs away if the owners could not produce a valid dog licence or fapiao on the spot.


Initial registration of your dog

If you are registering your dog for the very first time, you do not need to show proof of rabies vaccination to the PSB. Explain to the police that you are registering your dog for the first time. The PSB’s assumption is that newly adopted dogs or puppies have not yet been rabies vaccinated by the new owner. Once you pay the registration fee and receive your licence and fapiao, you are eligible to go to an officially designated animal rabies vaccination hospital for a free or significantly discounted rabies vaccination.

Questions and concerns about registering dogs

If you're unsure, contact the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) with any questions or concerns about registering dogs, dog ID tags, microchipping, rabies vaccinations, pet import/export and all other animal healthcare and pet care concerns.

International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) 13-16 Rongkegan Lancheng Shang Jie, Futong Xi Dajie, Wangjing, Chaoyang district (8456 1939/1940; icvsasia.com).

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User comments

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Dog move

Thu 09 Jan
What about traveling to China for initial move. I have not registered the dog yet as I do not yet have an address. How do we handle moving to China with a dog and safely walking the dog before registering?Gr8manage@gmail.com