Adopting a dog is a life-altering 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 that are suitable for adoption with the most suitable family.

Often shelter dogs have had a lot of 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.

NOTE: Not all dogs at the Council animal shelter are available for adoption.

What you should know before adopting a dog

A dog is not a toy. It is a living animal and you need to decide if you can care for this dog for the rest of its life, not just for a few weeks or even a few months. 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. The dog depends 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. It's not just food you need to buy, but there are other on-going costs of owning a dog such as regular health treatment, vaccinations, desexing and dog registration. 

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 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. 

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 'Two or More Dog Licence' in accordance with the Christchurch City Council Dog Control Bylaw 2008.

Lost your dog

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 dog shelter at 10 Metro Place, Bromley to check if your dog is with the Council Monday to Friday 1pm to 5:30pm and Saturdays 11am to 1pm closed Sundays and public holidays.

If you have lost your dog, you can also try

  • Pets on the Net which is the SPCA's authorised 'lost and found' website or phone (03) 349 7057, open hours: 10am–4pm, Monday to Saturday
  • Dogwatch