last updated on November 5, 2019
At this stage in your research, you may have learned that bringing dogs into Saudi Arabia is fraught with obstacles. Not only does Saudi Arabia have some of the most complicated pet import processes in the world, but the country’s list of banned dog breeds is immense. The authorities in Saudi follow the strictest interpretation of Islamic sharia regarding dogs, in that they should only be used for hunting, protection, aiding in physical disabilities (like seeing-eye dogs) and general working roles. Even with all this in mind, the following breeds are not permitted to enter Saudi Arabia:
- Brussels griffon
- Bulldog/English bulldog
- Bull terrier
- Great Dane/Deutscher
- Japanese spitz
- Japanese akita / Akita inu
- Lancashire heeler
- Mastiff / Old English mastiff
- Staffordshire bull terrier/Pitbull
- Swedish vallhund /Swedish cattle-dog
- All terrier and toy breeds
Understandably, we receive a lot of inquiries about the implications of these rules. Here is a list of some frequently asked questions that you may find helpful:
I’m concerned that my dog is categorized as a banned breed. What do I do?
This is a very tough situation. As a general rule, we comply with all international pet import rules exactly. We recommend speaking with one of our consultants about your specific situation to determine what is and is not possible.
I have a mixed breed dog. How do I know if my dog will be allowed?
Most people call their dogs one primary breed—aka “Labrador Retriever mix”—using her dominant features even if she has characteristics from one of Saudi’s banned breeds. If your dog qualifies as a mix of one of the allowed breeds, this may be a viable way to bring her into the country.
I have a toy breed who acts as an alarm system against intruders. Can we categorize my dog as a guard dog?
Perhaps! Some of our past clients have brought their small dogs into Saudi Arabia using a working dog letter. Essentially, this is an official statement from your veterinarian explaining that you have a guard dog. As we’ve mentioned before, we recommend speaking with one of our consultants about your specific situation to discuss some possible options.
What happens during customs clearance? Can the authorities change their minds about my dog entering Saudi Arabia?
Although it’s almost impossible to predict how customs will go, we’ve never had a circumstance where a pet was turned away upon arrival into Saudi Arabia. After spending weeks preparing your dog’s paperwork, obtaining U.S. State Department/Saudi Consulate Endorsements, and obtaining the import permit from The Ministry, you can rest assure we have permission to bring your dog into the country.
This situation can be tricky, but we are here to help. If you are unsure if your pet will be allowed into Saudi Arabia, please allow us to help! To ensure your pet’s move is on track to be safe and smooth, please reach out to us here for more specific information.