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Import / Export numbers of dogs

The following is information has been kindly gathered by the Animal Health Division in Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) [gov.ie website]. The data for 2023 is valid up to approximately 5/8/2023. This data was obtained under FOI-23.230 (info).

There are often questions about the import / export number of dogs in Ireland. The media has reported numbers higher (60x) than this. This could be due to the the fact that imports / exports are not always done through official channels. Even a 2022 report, Understanding the dog population in the Republic of Ireland: insight from existing data sources?, commissioned by the Department of Agriculture by Professor Simon J. More, et al. from UCD sets this number higher [source]. We did ask for a clarification about the numbers with respect to More 2022, but the Department is sure that these are their official numbers.

Note: BCP refers to Border Control Posts. OMS refers to Organisation Management Service, a system for storing EU wide data.

A note from the Department, “There was no BCP approved for ‘O’ animals in IE prior to Brexit (January 1st 2021) – so all dogs destined for IE were imported through other BCPs in OMS.”

Number of imported dogs into Ireland

No. of dogs
through ANY EU
BCP with a
destination of
No. of dogs
imported into
Ireland through
0 (no BCPs
approved for
No. of dogs
imported into the
EU through an IE
0 (no BCPs
approved for
Source DAFM 2023

The table rows can be interpreted in the following manner:

  • † The number of dogs that have landed first in another EU country, cleared customs to come into Europe and then transited onwards to Ireland.
  • ‡ The number of dogs that landed in Ireland and stayed in Ireland.
  • § The number of dogs that landed in Ireland and then transited to another EU country.
  • * Data for 2023 was taken around 05/08/2023
little dog in the airline cargo pet carrier, at the airport after a long journey

Rules on importing dogs into Ireland

We recommend you read “importing your dog to Ireland” article if you plan to to bring a dog into Ireland. There are a number of things like vaccinations, EU Pet Passport, etc. that you need to organise in advance before attempting to bring your dog into Ireland. Since September 2023 there are also additional rules if you are importing a dog with cropped ears into Ireland.

Official numbers of exported dogs out of Ireland

Number of dogs exported from Ireland107822302529162*
Source DAFM 2023

These numbers could also count for dogs taken on holidays to Europe and were subsequently returned to Ireland. In 2016 the DSPCA estimated the number of dogs being exported was between 70,000 and 80,000 dogs annually [source].

Note: The “Understanding the dog population in the Republic of Ireland: insight from existing data sources?” report suggest that exports were closer to 8,084 [source] in 2020. The Department nonetheless stands behind their numbers of 1,078.

Rules on exporting dogs out of Ireland

The Department offers guidelines for exporting of dogs (or travel outside of Ireland with a dog), and they can be seen here https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/21d40-pet-travel/ in all cases you do need to make sure about the laws of the country you are importing your do to.

Updated on September 5, 2023

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