Microchipping and registration for dogs

Did you know that, by law, all dogs must be registered with the local Regional Council?

Puppies should first be registered by the time they are three months old; any newly acquired dog over three months of age needs to be registered immediately. Every animal must be re-registered annually, and late registration will incur penalty fees. Desexed and working dogs are generally less expensive to register than entire dogs.

A microchip is a small transponder that, when scanned, emits a unique identification code.  Microchipping dogs enables them to be identified should they be lost, stolen or injured, or if they are not wearing a registration tag.  Microchips also allow the Council to identify the owners of dogs that have attacked people, animals or other dogs.  Working dogs are exempt from mandatory microchipping.

Microchips are required for all dogs that are:

  • Born after 1 July 2006
  • Dogs classified as dangerous or menacing i.e. "pose a threat to any person, stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife" or dogs with aggressive behaviour
  • Unregistered dogs that are impounded
  • Registered dogs that are impounded twice

Once your dog is microchipped, you have a legal responsibility, as the dog owner, to ensure that the microchip details are given to your local Regional Council.  The information will then be logged on the National Dog Database (NDD).  This database can be accessed at any time by your local Regional Council; if your dog has been microchipped at our clinic, these details are also recorded on their internal computer system.

For an extra fee, there is also the option of adding your dog’s microchip details to the New Zealand Companion Animal Register.  This is a company that is independent of the Regional Councils and holds microchip information for companion animals nationwide.  It is ideal as an ‘extra back-up’ for the storage of microchip details.  It also enables your dog to be identified anywhere in New Zealand, should it be lost or stolen.

For all New Zealand Regional Councils, microchipping must be done within two months of registration (i.e. for puppies, by 5 months of age).  If there is a medical or veterinary reason to delay it longer than this, the Council requires you to obtain a certificate from your vet stating the reason for the delay.

If you do not microchip or register your dog, the Council will send you a letter requesting you to comply with this law.  If you still do not comply, you may receive an infringement notice. 

For further information regarding microchipping and registration of dogs, or to download a registration form, visit your local district council website.


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