Control of Dogs Order 1992

The legal requirements of a dog collar

A dog collar is more than just a decoration. When it comes to taking your dog out in public, it’s a legal requirement.

The vast majority of the legislation is outlined in the Control of Dogs Order 1992 but the information presented here should break this down into the important relevant sections.

You should also be aware that these laws apply when the dog is out in public, such as along a highway or public property.


A dog collar needs identification. In accordance with the Control of Dogs Order 1992, this needs to include the name and address of the dog’s owner. This should be on the collar somewhere, preferably either an inscription or on an attached plate.

The reason for this is simple. If your dog gets lost, a collar helps identify the owner when it is found. This helps when you consider the vast amount of dogs in the country and also saves police and animal services time when it comes to returning the dog to its home.

Your telephone number is not required by law but is nonetheless recommended. This is an easier way for the police to contact you and return your dog in such a situation.

Of course, this law also means that, should you move, the collar will need updating. An outdated address is of no use to anyone and does not fulfil the requirements of the 1992 Order.

Be aware of this as dog wardens have the power to enforce this law – if your dog is found without a collar you can receive a fine up to £5,000 for the offence.


While not directly stated in the Control of Dogs Order 1992, there are other laws and regulations that require owners to keep control of their dogs.

Dog Control Orders (DCO) for example, can be used by local authorities to require you to have your dog on a lead – which typically requires a collar.

Similarly, if your dog is uncontrolled it may scare or terrorise other people. In extreme cases this could warrant investigation into the potential dangerous nature of the dog.

In short, having a collar (with a lead) also helps comply with other laws and regulations. As with the 1992 order, you can face a fine for breaking a DCO.

In this case, there is a £50 fine on the spot with further costs of up to £1,000 if it reaches court.

This overview should hopefully highlight the important areas when it comes to dog collars and the law, but the simple explanation is the easiest: it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re out in public ensure your dog has a collar with the correct identification to protect yourself, the dog and those around you.