Does my dog need to wear a collar in public?

With a few exceptions, you must have a collar on your dog at all times in public spaces. It’s a legal requirement, and you could be fined.
dog with collar in his mouth
Wearing a collar in a public space

I have always had collars on my dogs, however, if you live in an open space or your dog is so well behaved you think you don’t need one. Think again.

In a public place “UK.”

Yes, its the law “Control of Dogs Order 1992” States you must have a collar on your dog at all times in public spaces. It’s a legal requirement, and if caught, its an offence and you will be guilty of the Animal Health Act 1981, and you will be fine £2,000 if caught.

What happens if you get caught

If caught you could get a fine of £2,000, or the dog can be deemed as a stay dog and get taken away under section 3 of the Dogs Act 1906 or section 149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

When is it ok for dogs not to wear a collar

  • Sporting dogs
  • Professional vermin catchers
  • Sheepdogs
  • Official duties
  • Emergency rescue work
  • A registered guide dog

Does my dog still need a collar if microchipped?

Yes, by law you need both for your dog, a microchip and a collar with a tag. If your dog is not microchipped, you can be fined, and this will set you back £500.

What about at home and in the garden?

A dog in the garden
Dog in the back garden could possibly escape

No, your dog doesn’t need to wear a collar when at home or in the back garden. However, if your dog is sometimes known for escaping, its best for your dog’s safety to keep the collar on, just in case he or she gets out. With having a telephone number on a tag, this will help you get reunited quicker with your dog. Relying solely on a microchip, it takes a little longer as someone would need to take them to the vets or the local dog warden needs to collect. This process can be slow and takes even longer, especially over a weekend. It will save you a lot of worrying as there is nothing worse than losing your beloved dog. 

Here are our top picks for the best personalised dog tags 

Here are our top picks for the best dog collars


I hope this has answered your question and if you don’t have a collar on your dog outside, it’s probably time you start. £2,000 is a lot of money to most of us. It just shows the importance of wearing a collar.

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. Qualified Dog Groomer and currently studying Canine Behaviour. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016