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Dog control and animal welfare

Dog licences

  • Licensing your dog

    All dogs must have a valid licence and wear identification with the name and address of their keeper, either on a tag or engraved on a collar plate. Owners must supply the identification themselves. A dog licence is valid for one year. 

    We only license dogs that are kept in the Belfast City Council area.

    To license your dog, you will need:

    • the microchip number for the dog(s)
    • the name of the organisation that inserted the microchip
    • the breed of your dog (we can't register dogs as 'mongrels', so check the nearest breed by visiting the Kennel Club (link opens in new window).

    You do not need to license your dog if it is:

    • a puppy under six months old and kept by the person who is also the keeper of the puppy's mother
    • an assistance dog used by a disabled person
    • a police dog
  • Cost of a dog licence

    Type of licence Price
    Single dog licence £12.50
    Block dog licence
    (three or more dogs)
    Concessionary rate dog licence £5
  • How to apply

    If you are licensing your dog for the first time and do not qualify for a concessionary licence, you can apply online. If you do qualify for concessionary rate licence, and are applying for the first time or you need to change to a concessionary rate licence, you can email or call us on 028 9027 0431.

    Apply for a new dog licence online

    You can also apply by:

    • email
    • calling 028 9027 0431 to request an application form; or
    • in person at Cecil Ward Building, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BP. The opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5pm, and Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

    Any information you provide in this application is open to public scrutiny, and if requested we have a legal obligation to provide it.

  • How to renew

    Each year, around two weeks before your dog licence is due to expire, we will send you a renewal reminder. 

    You can only renew your licence online from 30 days before it is due to expire and for 30 days after its renewal date.

    Your dog licence and microchip number will be on your reminder, and you should use these numbers when renewing your licence. If you are renewing your licence online, make sure to enter the licence and microchip number exactly as they appear on your reminder.

    You can renew a single dog licence online. 

    Renew your dog licence online 

    You can also renew your dog licence in person at Cecil Ward Building, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BP. The opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5pm, and Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

  • Concessionary rate licences

    You can apply for a concessionary rate licence by post.

    You can apply for a concessionary rate for your dog licence if you:

    • are over 65
    • receive income related benefit or a member of a couple that receives an income-related benefit or
    • have had your dog neutered or spayed.

    However, you may need to provide us with proof that you are eligible for this discount.

    We will carry out random validation checks on your eligibility for a concessionary rate dog licence and you must provide proof on request.

    Details  Cost  Proof
     Over 65 First dog licence is free, and then £5 for each additional dog. Photographic ID
    Proof of address
    Proof of your date of birth
    Universal Credit
    State pension credit
    Income support
    Housing benefit
    Income-based jobseeker's allowance
    Income-related employment and support allowance
    Working tax credit
    £5 per dog Photographic ID
    Proof of address
    Proof of the benefit
    Dog neutered or spayed  £5 per dog Confirmation letter or email from vet

    Documents needed

    If you are applying for a discount because you receive any of the benefits above you may need to show us proof you qualify for the reduced price.

    • a printed letter from a local Social Security Agency or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
    • the letter must show your name and address
    • the letter must be stamped and dated (the date should not be more than six months old).

    Once we have registered your proof of age and if the dog has been spayed or neutered we will hold these on file and you will not have to produce them when renewing your licence.

    If you are in receipt of any of these benefits, you may need to provide proof of this each time you license your dog as circumstances may have changed.

  • Apply for a block dog licence

    A block licence is available to an owner of three or more dogs kept on the same premises as long as at least three are unsterilised bitches, which between them breed less than three litters in a 12 month period, or the premises are registered guard dog kennels, or where at least three dogs are registered with one of these bodies:

    • the Kennel Club
    • the Irish Coursing Club
    • the Masters of Foxhounds Association
    • the Masters of Harriers and Beagles Association
    • the Northern Ireland Masters of Hounds Association
    • the International Sheep Dog Society

    To apply for a block dog licence, request an application form from

    If you wish to buy a block dog licence, you must supply certificates of registration with any of those bodies along with their application. We accept copies of registration documents and will return these once we issue the licence.

    Block licences are valid for one year. No concessions are available for block licences.

  • Refunds and transfers

    If your dog dies, you can apply for a refund of your licence. You must apply within 30 days of your dog's death.

    You can also transfer your licence to another dog but you must do this within 30 days of your dog's death.

  • Fines for not licensing your dog

    The fixed penalty notices for dog licensing offences are:

    • not having a licence for your dog - £80 (£50 if paid within 14 days)
    • not displaying an ID on your dog - £80 (£50 if paid within 14 days)

    If you do not pay a fixed penalty notice, you could be taken to court, where you could be fined up to £1,000.

    Pay a fine

  • Prohibited dog breeds

    Prohibited dog breeds cannot be registered unless they have an exemption. The prohibited breeds are:

    • Pit Bull Terrier
    • Dogo Argentino
    • Fila Braziliero
    • Japanese Tosa

    If you would like to discuss, email or call us on 028 9027 0431.

  • XL Bully type dogs

    From 5 July 2024, XL Bully type dogs have been added to the list of restricted breeds in Northern Ireland.

    This means that owners must make sure that their dog is muzzled and on a lead in a public place. It also means it is illegal to sell, gift, exchange or breed from an XL Bully type dog.

    There is more information for XL Bully type owners on the nidirect website (link opens in new window)

Contact us

For more information and advice, get in touch.

028 9027 0431

Dog control, Ground Floor, Cecil Ward Building, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BP

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