Importing dogs to Canada: Government introduces new import rules for commercial dogs less than 8 months old

News release

May 4, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Following a review of existing import requirements, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is implementing changes for commercial dogs under 8 months of age that are imported for breeding and resale end uses (which includes adoption) to improve compliance with humane transport and animal health requirements.

This review was initiated after the inspection of an air shipment of dogs in June 2020, in which a number of dead and sick dogs were found and other non-compliance issues were identified. The on-going investigation into that incident has led CFIA to take certain enforcement actions.

Effective May 15, 2021, these changes include:

  • Multiple entry permits will be replaced with single entry permits, and importers will have to specify the number of dogs to be imported.
  • Dogs will require rabies vaccination at least 28 days before export to Canada (with an exception for recognized breeders) and will need to be treated for internal and external parasites prior to export.
  • Importers will be required to provide information about the travel route from the country of origin to the final destination in Canada, including the airport or land border crossing that will be used to enter Canada. They will also be required to schedule a CFIA inspection at the airport or land border crossing where the animals will enter Canada before the shipment leaves the country of origin.
  • Importers transporting dogs by air must have a post-import quarantine facility that has been pre-approved by the CFIA available in case arriving animals require further inspection and/or quarantine.

The CFIA is also clarifying the requirement related to the certification for kennels of origin. The requirement for a United States Department of Agriculture Kennel License will continue to apply for dogs imported for resale (which includes adoption) from the United States.

While the CFIA prepares to implement these changes, no new import permits for commercial dogs less than 8 months of age for breeding and resale end uses (which includes adoption) will be issued from May 4 to 14, 2021. The CFIA will resume issuing import permits on May 15, 2021 under the new measures.

The CFIA is committed to protecting the health of animals through import controls.


"These changes are designed to crack down on those involved in shipments of puppies that don't meet Canadian animal health and certification requirements. They provide additional tools for the CFIA to take appropriate actions against non-compliance. The new rules raise the bar on preventing potential animal abuses and make it clear that they will not be tolerated."

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"The Canadian Kennel Club appreciates the steps that the CFIA has taken regarding dog imports. We are pleased to work with CFIA to encourage Canadians to make informed choices about responsible dog ownership and to promote the benefits of buying a purebred dog from an accountable Canadian breeder."

Jeff Cornett, Executive Director, Canadian Kennel Club

Quick facts

  • Under the Health of Animals Act and its Regulations, the CFIA administers and enforces import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada, including domestic pets.

  • Importers are encouraged to refer to the Notice to Industry and related documents for detailed information on the new import requirements.

Related products


Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
613 773-6600

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