Does My Dog Need to Wear an Identity Tag, Even if He is Micro-Chipped?


This is a common query among dog owners. As micro-chipping dogs is now law, many owners believe an I.D. tag is not necessary. Are dog identity tags are required by law and what is the best information to include? Does a dog need an identity tag and a microchip as well? Holidays4Dogs finds out.

Does my dog need an identity tag AND a microchip?

Yes. Although it is now a legal requirement for dogs to be micro-chipped, dogs must also wear an identity tag. Many people believe that they are abiding by the law if their dog is micro-chipped.

However, dogs must still wear traditional identification – like a dog tag. Therefore, microchips have not replaced the requirement for dogs to wear identification.

What does UK legislation state about dog identification? 

The Control of Dogs Order is quite clear that, “every dog while in a highway or place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it”.

There are exemptions. However, these would not apply to most pet dogs.  They are;

  • a) any pack of hounds.

  • b) any dog while being used for sporting purposes.

  • c) any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin.

  • d) any dog while being used for the driving, or tending of, cattle or sheep.

  • e) any dog while being used on the official duties by a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise, or the police force in any area.

  • f) any dog while being used in emergency rescue work.

  • g) any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Does my dog have to wear a collar? Can’t I put the I.D. tag on a harness?

In order to abide strictly by the law then, yes, dogs must technically wear a collar. A dog’s collar must have an identity tag attached to it. Even if the dog is wearing a dog sitting, pet sittingharness, they must also wear a collar with identification.

At Holidays4Dogs all our guest dogs must wear a Holidays4Dogs identity tag, in addition to their own.

There have been media reports of dog owners receiving fines because their dog was not wearing a collar.

Others may argue that it would be unfair to prosecute someone who has fitted the dog’s I.D. to a harness. However, the law clearly states that the dog must be wearing a collar, specifically.

What information must I legally include on a dog tag? 

The law requires that a dog identity tag must include the name and address of the owner. However, this need not be in full. It could be, for instance, the house number followed by the postcode. Owners do not need to provide a telephone number. However, adding a contact number may reunite dog and owner more quickly.

Do I need to include my dog’s name on the tag? 

There is no need to include the dog’s name on the identity tag. Indeed, many owners leave this information off the dog’s identity tag. This is in case someone attempts to steal the dog. By knowing the dog’s name, strangers can potentially call the dog to them.

What happens if I don’t put a collar and I.D tag on my dog? 

Owners will be committing an offence under the Animal Health Act of 1981, if their dog is not wearing a collar with an I.D. tag attached. As such, offenders could face fines of up to £5,000. Dogs must all now be microchipped under U.K. law.