Majority of dogs in Finland are yet to be registered

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Majority of dogs in Finland are yet to be registered

Although all dogs in Finland should have been entered in the official registry by the end of 2023, still, only slightly more than one third of Finnish dogs have been registered, said the City of Helsinki in a press release on Thursday.

Having as many dogs as possible registered is important, as it helps prevent puppy mills.

The Finnish Dog Registry was introduced in May 2023. It is an official national registry to which all dogs permanently living in Finland should have been entered by the end of 2023.

However, in June 2024, only 300,000 of Finland’s estimated 800,000 dogs had been entered in the registry.

“Our animal welfare inspectors have found that only a small share of dogs can be found in the registry. This is unfortunate, as larger coverage increases the registry’s effectiveness and the benefits gained from it,” said Päivi Lahti, Head veterinarian of the City of Helsinki.

The purpose of the national Dog Registry is to improve the wellbeing of dogs and to prevent illegal puppy trade and other shady dog business, such as the uncontrolled breeding of fighting dog breeds and dogs ending up living under inappropriate conditions.

Illegal pet trade is estimated to be the third most profitable form of illegal trade, right after drug and weapons trade.

When registering dogs becomes a common practice, those who sell or import a suspicious number of puppies can be found.

When people learn to only buy registered puppies, the sellers must enter the puppies in the registry, which enables detecting those selling high quantities of puppies. However, this is currently not the case, as unregistered puppies are also bought and sold.

“All dogs over three months must be entered in the Finnish Food Authority’s Dog Registry. A puppy must be entered in the registry no later than three months after its birth, or when it is handed over to a new owner. If a seller has not reported a dog in the registry, they are not a legitimate seller or broker of dogs,” said Lahti.

This means that the Dog Registry increases the risk of getting caught and therefore prevents criminal activity.

However, the preventative effect requires that as many dogs are registered as possible.

“Once all dogs in Finland are registered, a dog not being registered serves as an alarm signal for both those considering buying a dog and for the authorities. This makes registering your dog a good thing for all dogs,” said Lahti.

In addition to combatting illegal pet trade, the plan is to use the registry to address the health issues of dogs resulting from breeding practices focusing on the appearance of breeds to an unhealthy extent.

In future, the register will also benefit dog owners, as animal shelters and rescue organisations can use the registry to find the information of a lost dog’s owner, which means that escaped dogs will find their way home faster.


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