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[How To]: Get a Dog License in Shanghai

If you've got a dog, you gotta get them legal. This is how.
2023-08-21 13:51:21
From the directly and minutely useful to information on living your best self in the world. How To is our regular column on how to accomplish things in the city.

So, you've gone and adopted Bailey, that cute, little beagle puppy with the big, adorable eyes. Firstly, congratulations! Good for you for giving an animal a home and accepting the responsibility for caring for said animal! You're a good person doing a good thing.

Responsibility number one when it comes to dogs in Shanghai: Getting them licensed. This is how.

A quick note to cat owners: You don't need to get a license for your felines, but when it comes time to take them out of the country with you, you'll need to get them chipped and vaccinated for rabies.

Why You Should Get a Dog License

If you don't have a license, you technically can't own a dog in China. Anyone can take your dog from you – including the police – and you'd have no legal recourse for getting them back. Of course, this usually doesn't happen, but it can. If you have a neighbor that hates you or your dog, they can call the police, who are required to respond and remove your dog if they're not registered.

"It's absolutely irresponsible to not have a dog license. If you don't, your dog is in jeopardy," says Ashley, an animal rescuer who works with People4Pets and Best Friends China.

Dogs get lost sometimes, which is another crucial reason to register your canine friend. The microchip in the dog links to a database with your contact information, which vet clinics and pet hospitals can use if your dog ends up there. If your dog lands in the pound, the police are required to help you search for them if you have a license. Without a license, you may not be able to get your dog from the pound, even if you identify them.

Lee-Anne Armstrong, the Executive Director of Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA), told us a story of a couple that attempted to access the pound without a license: "They lost their dog in Pudong. A lot of dogs had been rounded up and they wanted to go in and check [for their dog] but the police wouldn't let them in because they didn't have a license."

Most people don't run into any trouble without having a license, but it's like a seat belt. If you're a responsible parent, you make your kid wear one. If you're a responsible pet owner, you get a license for your dog.

Getting Your Dog Vaccinated and Chipped

Before you can register your dog with the police, you need to get them chipped and vaccinated for rabies. This is step one. This must be done at a government-sanctioned pet hospital. There are 22 of these in Shanghai, but it's probably best to do it at the most recognized one — The Shenpu Pet Hospital, which has three locations around town. You can only license one pet per address or passport/ID number, so if your roommate has a licensed pet, you can't register another at the same address.

When you go to the vet, bring your passport, rental agreement, your dog, and 285rmb for the vaccination and chipping. To receive the rabies vaccination, the dog must be at least three months old. Not all dogs can be licensed, and some are illegal in Shanghai, but it depends on your district and area. Generally, Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Wolfdogs cannot be licensed. Your local police station will have a full list specific to your area.

According to Dr. Grace H. Lin of PAW Veterinarian Clinic, the chipping process involves a massive needle that inserts a microchip between the neck and the shoulder of the dog. Not a fun sesh, so it's best done together with desexing when the dog is under anesthesia. The hospital will then enter your contact information and the chip's code into its database. Now, if anyone brings your lost pet to a pet hospital, the hospital can provide them with your name and phone number.

After the chipping and the vaccination, the hospital will issue you a blue vaccination book and an immunization certificate. Keep those safe.

Registering at the Police Station

Bring the immunization certificate, your rental contract (that states you can have pets), your passport and residence permit, a printed picture of your dog, and – this is crucial – a copy of each to your local police station.

This is step two, which is also the last step.Not all police stations will have a pet registration service, but they can point you to the nearest police station with one.

The registration price in Shanghai is 500rmb if you live in the inner ring. If you also bring your spay or neuter certificate, issued by the clinic that desexed your dog, that price drops to 250rmb. For the outer ring or in Pudong, the price is 300rmb, or 150rmb if your pet is neutered.

Some people claim that you must also get up to four signatures from your neighbors in order to register your dog. The police departments we called did not have this requirement, but it's something to keep in mind. In any case, you should have good relations with your neighbors if you're a dog owner.

After you finish your registration, make sure you get a receipt and copies of all the documents, proving that you registered. The police will take up to a month to issue you a dog license, which is a plastic card with the owner's information and the dog's microchip number. They will contact you through the phone number you've provided and you'll need to go to the station and pick it up. After that, to renew the license, just go to the police station, pay the yearly fee of 250rmb (or 500rmb if your dog isn't spayed), provide your current rental contract and the immunization certificate from Shenpu or another government-licensed pet hospital that shows your dog is up-to-date on shots.

And there you have it. You're now a legal dog owner.

Again, congratulations!

How to Get a Dog License Over the Phone

[Update for 2023]:

Progress! You can now conveniently register your dogs using your phone. Scroll down for a simple guide on how to do it. Referring to the above, you still have to do the first part in analog, which is getting your dog vaccinated and chipped. The information below is for the police registration bit, for which they are now accepting applications over the app.

Note: We would like to extend a big thank you to "At Home Pet Daycare" for their generous assistance in providing all the screenshots used in this article!

Get That Step One Done and Get Your Immunization Certificate

Make sure to check if the dog you have is allowed in Shanghai. Certain breeds of big dogs, such as Tibetan Mastiff, Rottweiler, Bull Terrier, and Dobbermann, are not permitted. You can find a full list of banned dogs in Shanghai by clicking here. Once you've confirmed that your dog is allowed, take them to a government-sanctioned pet hospital to get them vaccinated. Voila! You'll then receive the certificate for your furry companion.

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Go to "Sui Shen Ban" (随申办) WeChat Mini Program

Open the "Sui Shen Ban" (随申办) WeChat Mini Program. Remember this one? This was your favorite app to deal with during the COVID times.

Search for "wen ming yang quan" (文明养犬) and click on the "wen ming yang quan yi jian shi" (文明养犬一件事) option to proceed to the next step.

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Get a New Dog License

Click on the "jin ru ban li da ting" (进入办理大厅) button at the bottom to proceed to the next page, and then click on "xin ban quan zheng" (新办犬证) to begin the process of registering the dog license.

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Fill in the Dog's Information

To proceed, click on the "wo yi zhi xiao" (我已知晓) button located in the lower middle section, which means that you have acknowledged and understood all the necessary information. On the next page, please provide the following details:

  • 犬只信息 (Breed of your dog/gender/color)
  • 犬主姓名 (Owner's name)
  • 证件类型 (Certificate type: ID card or passport, etc.)
  • 免疫证号 (Immunization certificate number)
  • 电子芯片号 (Chip number)

Both the immunization certificate number and the chip number can be found on the back of the immunization certificate for dogs.

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Fill in Your Own Information

Scroll down to fill in your dets:

  • 居住类型 Residential type: Renting or owning an apartment.
  • 登记地址 Registration address: Please provide the address of your apartment or the one you rent.
  • 所属辖区 District of residence: Type in the district you currently live in.
  • 辖区类型 District type: Inner ring (500rmb a year) or outer ring (300rmb a year). If your dog is spayed or neutered, the fee will be half, depending on your location.
  • 辖区派出所 Local police station: Please provide the name of the police station in your district.
  • 取证方式 Method of obtaining the license: Choose between self pick up or delivery service. If you choose delivery, there is a 15rmb delivery fee, and you will need to pick up the package in person and pay the fee.
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Do You Own a Property in Shanghai?

If you own property in Shanghai, the next step is to upload pictures of your Property Ownership Certificate and your passport/ID card.

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Are You Renting an Apartment in Shanghai?

If you are renting an apartment in Shanghai, after filling in the information above, you will be required to sign a "Dog Ownership Commitment." This commitment includes important guidelines to follow when owning a dog. You need to provide your e-signature for the commitment. The next step is to upload pictures of your tenancy agreement and your passport/ID card.

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Once you reach this page, it means that you have completed the process. They will review all the information you uploaded within five working days, sometimes less. 

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But Don't Forget to Pay the Fee...

You can always access the "sui shen ban" (随申办) WeChat Mini Program to check if they have approved all the information you uploaded. Once your submission passes the review, you will be required to make the payment for the dog license within five days.

Failure to do so will result in having to restart the process from the beginning, involving lots of annoying work once again!

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...And This Is What the License Looks Like

After a few days, whether you choose to pick up the license in person or have it delivered. You will receive this card, and now, your furry friend is legal! 

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This How-To guide is work in progress, we are constantly updating it as we receive new information. We rely on readers like you (yes YOU). If you find this guide useful please help us improve it by adding comments in each step or by clicking the "Verify" link if you find the information provided to be correct.