It is a legal requirement in England & Wales for dogs to be microchipped by the age of 8 weeks.

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It’s a criminal offence to transfer a dog that isn’t microchipped and so breeders are required to have a puppy chipped and registered in their name prior to sale. Failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £500.

To be regarded as ‘microchipped’ for the purposes of the Regulations the dog must not only have a microchip inserted but also:-

  • The microchip itself must comply with set standards
  • The registration must be on a database that is compliant with set standards
  • It must be registered in the name of the keeper (the person who the dog normally lives with) and have an up to date address and phone number
  • A dog’s first keeper is the owner of the bitch that gave birth to the puppy

If a keeper has a dog that is not microchipped (as set out above) that is a breach of the Regulations and an enforcer can serve a 21 day Notice to require compliance. Failure to comply with that Notice is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £500.

It is very important that keepers make sure that they keep their details up to date on the database.

There are restrictions on who can lawfully implant a microchip in a dog

There is a duty to report an adverse event (such as the microchip not working or if it has migrated from the point of implantation)

Just because a dog’s microchip is registered in a particular person’s name on the database doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be regarded in law as the owner of the dog. A microchip is evidence of ownership but it isn’t absolute proof of ownership.

At Cooper & Co Solicitors, we urge all keepers of dogs to regularly:

  • get your dog’s microchip checked regularly to make sure that it’s working, and
  • keep in touch with the database to make sure they have your up to date name, address and contact phone number. If you fail to keep the details up to date not only are you in breach of the Regulations but it also makes it more difficult for you to be reunited with your dog if it should be lost or stolen.

Please make sure that the microchip is registered on a DEFRA compliant database. The current list of these databases can be found here.

Please note that the above summary only relates to the law in England and Wales.

You must not rely on it as constituting legal advice and so for specific guidance on your particular doglaw issues please contact us – see our “How we can help” section for details.