Adopting a dog is a life changing decision for you as the new owner and for the dog. This decision should not be taken lightly. The Council wants to successfully match shelter dogs suitable for adoption with the most suitable family.

Often some shelter dogs have had some disruption in their lives, so the Council wants to make the best decision for the dog's future.

It is a good idea to carefully consider your personal circumstances both now and into the future before taking on the responsibility of owning a dog.

Please note that not all dogs at the Council animal shelter are available for adoption. 

Owning more than one dog

If you are already a dog owner and are increasing the number of dogs on your property, you will require a 'more than two dog licence' in accordance with the Christchurch City Council Dog Control Bylaw 2016.

Before adopting a dog

  • To adopt a dog from the Council's animal shelter, you must be over 16 years of age.
  • The average lifespan of a dog is about 12 years so you need to be confident you can care for a dog for its entire life. 
  • Dogs must be considered part of your family.
  • Dogs depend on you for food, water, shelter, vet care, training, exercise, affection and compliance with regulations.

Consider if you can afford a dog

Owning a dog is expensive. There is an adoption fee for adopting a dog from the Animal Shelter and then there is food to buy, possibly the cost of desexing, and other ongoing costs of dog ownership such as regular health treatment, vaccinations and dog registration. 

Council fees and charges

Council fees and charges for Animal Management for 2018/2019

Caring for your dog is a high priority

As a dog owner, you are responsible for the care for your dog. The Council and vets can provide you with good advice, but it is important that you do some research and know a bit about the breed of dog you would like to adopt before you make a decision to take the dog home. 

A dog needs your time and attention 

Exercise, grooming, obedience training and regular play are important to keep your dog fit and healthy. You need to make sure you have time to commit to these things.

Puppies, in particular, need lots of time as they are just learning how to behave well. You will need to ensure that the dog can live happily and comfortably in your house.

Make sure you have a suitable place for it to sleep, food/water bowls and toys.

Preparing your home and lifestyle for a dog

The size of your property should determine the type of dog you would want to adopt. 

Some landlords will not allow dogs on their property. If you rent your home, you must check with your landlord before adopting a dog. The Council may require written consent from the landlord to confirm you are allowed to have a dog on the property. 

All properties must be appropriately fenced to contain the dog at all times.

Fitting a dog into your lifestyle

Working hours, a busy social life and taking regular trips away from home are all factors you need to consider before adopting a dog. It is a good idea to make sure someone will be available to look after the dog if you have to go away from home overnight or for longer periods.

There may be boarding kennels where you can leave the dog to be looked after while you are away. Some boarding kennels even offer doggy daycare services which is great for your dog if you work long hours. 

Lost dogs

If your dog is lost, you should immediately call the Council on (03) 941 8999 to have your lost dog loaded onto the Council's lost dog database.

You can then visit the animal shelter to check if your dog is with the Council.

If you have lost your dog, you can also try: