Dog Registration in New Zealand

So you’ve just adopted a dog? Here is everything you need to know about getting your new friend registered.

When adopting a new dog there can be many different things to get organized – microchipping, pet insurance, registration, and of course, setting up your home.

This is before you even consider the day-to-day care for your new dog. For a guide on that, check out ‘Caring for your puppy‘ page on the Sabella Farms website.

Dog registration is mandatory thanks to the Dog Control Act 1996 which states all dogs in New Zealand must be registered once they reach three months of age.

Thankfully, registering a dog in NZ is a simple process that can be done on your local council’s website.

What do I need to register my dog?

In most cases, the dog owner will need to provide their:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Contact phone number
  • Date of birth

In addition to providing their own details, the owner will need to provide the following dog details:

  • Name
  • Dog colour
  • Dog sex
  • Breed
  • Age
  • Microchip details (if it has already been microchipped)
  • Address where the dog will be kept

Does my dog need to be microchipped?

All dogs over three months old need to be microchipped. If you’re registering a dog in New Zealand you’ll be asked for either the microchip number or to upload an image of the microchip certificate.

You can register your dog before it has been microchipped, but you will be required to update the registration with the microchip details as soon as the chip has been inserted.

Inserting a microchip is painless for the dog and it helps to permanently identify the dog (and its owner) on the National Dog Database. You can learn more about microchipping on the website.

How can I save on dog registration fees?

Many councils offer discounts on the annual registration fee if you have proven yourself to be a responsible dog owner.

For example, South Taranaki District Council offers the ‘Selected Owner’ benefit which nearly halves the annual fee, and Auckland Council has the Responsible Dog Owner Licence (RDOL) that also nearly cuts the annual fee in half.

To get benefits such as these you need to ensure you have always registered your dog on time and don’t receive any complaints about the treatment of your dog or the behaviour of your dog.

Another way to avoid high dog registration fees is to choose a dog that is not classified as ‘dangerous’ or ‘menacing’. Dogs breeds on this list can cost nearly double the amount to register, which can add up to thousands of the lifespan of the dog.

The Dog Control Act classifies dogs that are wholly or predominantly of the following breeds as menacing:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Brazilian Fila
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Perro de Presa Canario.

Dog Registration Fees & Process

The process and cost to register a dog in New Zealand depends on which council you fall under, but it generally ranges from $50 to $150 per dog.

Most councils will waive the registration fee for special category dogs. This typically includes seeing, hearing, and disability assist dogs. It can also include public service dogs such as dogs trained for the New Zealand Police, Customs, or Department of Conservation.

Dog Registration in Auckland

Dog registration is mandatory in Auckland, and you need to do it annually. The good news is that you can register your dog online and it only takes about 15 minutes total.

Here is the process for dog registration in Auckland:

  1. Visit the Auckland Council dog registration website
  2. Use the dog registration fee calculator to find out how much it costs to register your dog in Auckland.
  3. Take note of your dog’s microchip number as you’ll need it during the registration process
  4. Once registered, get a dog insurance quote from Cove.

Dog Registration in Christchurch

Dog owners in Christchurch need to renew their dog registration before the 30th of June each year to receive a reduced registration fee. If you haven’t been able to renew by the 30th of June, then you need to renew by 31st July – any renewals after this date incur a penalty fee

Here is the process for dog registration in Christchurch:

  1. Submit the online registration form.
  2. Christchurch City Council will contact you with a unique ID number and advise the registration fees due.
  3. Payment can then be made online, by calling 03 941 8999, by mail or at a Council service desk.
  4. Once payment is received they will send you your registration disc.

Dog Registration in Wellington

If you have a new dog and live in Wellington, or have recently moved to Wellington with a dog in tow, then you’ll need to register it with Wellington City Council. Unfortunately, when registering a dog in Wellington you’ll have to download a PDF form, and email it back to them, rather than using a simple online form such as that found on other council websites.

Before registering your dog in Wellington check that you have all the documentation that you may need:

  • Desexing certificate – if your dog has been desexed
  • Microchip number – if your dog has been microchipped
  • Your company name and GST number – if you have a working dog
  • Adoption certificate – if you have adopted a dog from the SPCA or HUHA
  • Customs clearance certificate – if you have imported a dog
  • Certification from an authorised organisation – if you have a disability assist dog

If you’ve got all that you need, here is the process for dog registration in Wellington:

  1. Download the dog registration application form
  2. Email the form back to WCC, or delivered it to one of the addresses provided here.
  3. Pay your registration fees

Once you’ve submitted the dog registration form, and made the payment, you’ll receive your dog tags within three weeks.

Dog Registration in Hamilton

When registering a dog in Hamilton via the City Council website, you’ll be asked whether your dog is already microchipped. If you answer ‘Yes’ you’ll be requested to upload an image showing the certificate, so it’s a good idea to prepare this before beginning to fill out the form.

Here is the process for dog registration in Hamilton:

  1. Visit the Hamilton City Council website and navigate to the Dogs Online section.
  2. Choose the New Dog Registration link
  3. Upload your dog’s microchip certificate
  4. Submit the declaration
  5. Pay online with a debit or credit card, or internet banking vi POLi
  6. Once that is sorted, get a dog insurance quote from Cove.

Other areas:

Each council has sections on their own website about dog registration. If you aren’t in one of the large urban areas listed above, find your local council’s dog registration page below:

Do I need to renew my dog registration annually?

Yes, you will need to renew your dog restoration annually.

What else do I need to do?

We might be a little biased since we are an insurance brand striving to offer the best pet insurance experience in New Zealand, but we’d also strongly suggest looking into dog insurance.

Dog insurance doesn’t cost as much as you might think it does, and it can save you thousands should your dog need medical attention. Here at Cove, we offer three types of pet insurance policies to suit the level of cover you need, and also your budget. Getting an online quote takes as little as two minutes, and that can be done online here at any time.

Get a pet insurance quote online