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What do I need to know?

If you have:

  • a new puppy (except if it is to be a working dog); or
  • a dog that has never been registered in New Zealand; or
  • a dog that has been classified dangerous or menacing on or after 1 December 2003

5 white shepherd puppies

Then you must do the following:

  • Puppy or dog registered for the first time:
    Microchip within two months of registration (first registration occurs when new puppies are three months old, or straight away if your new dog is older than three months and unregistered).
  • Menacing or dangerous dog: 

    Microchip within two months of being classified, (or by 1 September 2006, if classified between 1 December 2003 and 30 June 2006). 
    This means that current registered dogs will not need a microchip unless they are classified as menacing or dangerous, or are impounded twice.
Dogs required to be microchipped 
  1. Dogs classified as dangerous and/or menacing after 1 December 2003. Find out more about dangerous and menacing dogs
  2. Dogs registered for the first time after 1 July 2006.
  3. Registered dogs impounded for the second time after 1 July 2006.
  4. Unregistered and impounded dogs after 1 July 2006.

Once your dog is microchipped, Council must be sure that the microchip meets the regulations and has been inserted correctly. This will involve taking a certificate from your vet, back to Council for verification.

What is in a microchip? 

A microchip is a Radio Frequency Identification System and functions very similar to a supermarket barcode. A microchip responds to a scanner but it is not a transmitter and has no power source.

Microchipping is a very common form of identification used in animals in many other countries. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and will be inserted just below the skin above the dog's shoulders. It contains a number that belongs only to your dog, providing a secure and reliable way of identifying it for the rest of its life. As with other injections, microchipping is a simple procedure.

Do I still have to register my dog as well as have it microchipped?

Yes. Dog registration and microchipping are two separate processes. You must register your dog every year, but you only need to microchip your dog once.

What classifies a working dog?

Working dogs are those kept solely or principally for herding or driving stock. Council staff are available to visit you and your dog where your dog will be required to carry out a dog trial which assesses if it can herd stock. If this can be demonstrated, Council will exempt the concerned dog from the microchipping requirements.

Good Reasons to Microchip your Dog
  1. Finding lost or stolen dogs -  if a beloved dog is lost or stolen, it can be matched to its owner instantly and reunited. Every year thousands of dogs are euthanized. The main reason is that an owner can not be located.
  2. Proving ownership - even when your lost or stolen dog is found there is no way to prove that it is your dog unless it is microchipped as even some ear brands are not identifiable 
  3. Proving identity - offenders try to claim that the dog in their possession is a different dog (to avoid the consequences of a previous history). 
  4. Cost - it is a one-off cost and is a relatively inexpensive mechanism for identifying your dog. Many dog owners have already voluntarily micro-chipped their dogs. 
  5. Tracking your dogs birthday - microchipping will enable you to keep track of your dogs birthday. 
  6. Notification of transfers - Dogs can now be more easily tracked.
  7. The National Dog Database is continuously up-dated through local Council records. Other databases rely on the dog owners to update any changes. 
  8. Improved dog control - effective dog control means improved community safety as microchipping and the National Dog Database will help dog control officers identify dog owners who don't properly care for their dogs or allow their dogs to roam. It will also be much easier for dog control officers to keep track of dangerous and menacing dogs as they move around the country.