Keeping dogs out of vets since 2011

Do you have a license for your dog?!

Dog chewed up their license

Do you have a license for your dog?!

I was approached yesterday with the question – how many dogs are there in Ireland? However, in trying to research the answer I came across a more interesting question, how many of you actually have a dog license?! Here’s what we found…

How Many Dogs Actually Are There in Ireland?!

Do you know how many dogs there are in Ireland? The Irish Independent cites a study conducted by the Pawsitive Living campaign (Pedigree and Whiskas, a.k.a. Mars) that found 30% of Irish households have a dog. Sounds a bit high. FEDIAF (European Pet Food Industry Federation) reckon 20% of Irish households own a dog (compared to 24% in the UK). A very scientific paper by Martin Downes from UCD states “there were an estimated 640,620 pet dog households” on the island of Ireland (so, including the North of Ireland), though this figure is pre-2008 when the bust hits and we slaughtered 30,000 dogs a year for the next few years.

Let’s take the average figure that 1 in 4 Irish households have a dog (I don’t know about you but as I look out the window here I absolutely know the ownership of dogs in my estate is not 1 in 4, but anyway). As the most recent census survey tells us that in 2015 there are more than 1.6 million households in the country, that would equate to around 400,000 dogs.

So, Maybe 400,000 Dogs…but Only 190,000 Licenses Were Issued?!

But then I made a few calls and last year and found out they only issued 190,000 dog licenses.

While there is a large discrepancy between these figures, some of it could be explained by our puppy farms which are producing, at the very minimum, 30,000 pups a year. They do not have individual licenses as they only require a “group” license. So lets take that low figure of 30,000 a year with a hefty pinch of salt (the more pups you say you had, the more tax you pay, it’s a cash industry, let’s face it). And, of course, they’re just figures from the ones we know about. Some of the illegal farms that have been raided in Ireland contain more than 500 breeding bitches.

And, of course, they’re just figures from the ones we know about. Some of the illegal farms that have been raided in Ireland contain more than 500 breeding bitches. Add to that every other breeder out there, many whom are very reputable. Some less so. Then there’s our good old greyhound folk, an industry that history proves is rife with it’s share of…less honourable dog owners. Some licenses can be bought for life as opposed to every year, not to mention a lot of people that just don’t give a damn, knowing that control is less than adequate and they’re unlikely to be caught.

The Dog License Poll

Anyway, it’s got me thinking – what percentage of Dogs Firsters actually have a license?!

Please note: Multi-dog owners that do not have an individual license for each of their dogs should answer no.

[poll id=”2″]


You can pay for your dog licenses online through An Post. It costs €20.

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