Trading in pet animals

Trading in pet animals is a service provision activity carried out in pet shops. In the Standard Classification of Economic Activities (TEÁOR'08) it falls under sector 47, the Retail sector, including sub-sector 47.7, Other retail trading of goods not classified elsewhere, and sub-categories 47.76, Ornamental plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet food retail trading, and 47.78, Other retail of new goods not classified elsewhere.

A pet shop may be operated if the pet shop

  1. has contracted a private veterinary practitioner for the provision of veterinary services for its stock of pet animals,
  2. has got an approved rules of operation and is capable of providing suitable conditions for keeping the pet animals.

The premises of the shop shall be fitted with side walls and flooring, doors, windows, furniture and equipment easy to clean, wash and disinfect. Adequate airing of the premises, water supply and plumbing for washing hands in cold and warm running water, as well as suitably sized waste storage containers shall be provided.

Such an activity may only be set up and pursued by a person holding pet animal breeder and distributor qualifications according to the National Qualifications Register (OKJ), or professional qualifications equivalent or higher than that.

A pet trader shall possess certificates authenticating the origin of the goods they sell (pets and pet food). Upon request of the control authorities, the trader shall present original certificates and documentation within five days.

The trader shall allow the customer - depending on the nature of the product intended to be bought - to check the size, weight and fitness for use of the product in the shop or - in the case of other types of retail - when the product is made available and both the trader or their representative and the customer are present.

A book of complaints with continuously numbered pages, validated by the trading authorities shall be visibly displayed in the shop, easy to access. Customers may note in the book of complaints their complaints and suggestions concerning the operation of the shop and the trading activity pursued there. Preventing from or influencing the customer in the exercise of such rights is prohibited.

The book of complaints shall be validated by the trading authorities prior to use, noting the date of opening the book of complaints.

In the case that pet trading is conducted in a pet shop, the trader shall

  • notify the trading authorities of the opening hours of the shop in the application for operation licence, and inform the trading authorities of any changes therein within eight days prior to the change;
  • inform customers on the opening hours and changes therein.

On 24th December pet shops may be open until 2 p.m.

For the purpose of advertising or calling attention to selling pets equipment creating sound effects causing a dangerous amount of environmental noise specified in a separate provision of law may not be used.

Only healthy pet animals or pet animals declared fit for selling in the inspection report recorded on the spot by the veterinarian catering for the pets may be traded. The trader shall inform the customer on the veterinary findings and opinion contained in the inspection report recorded on the spot.

Pet animals may not be traded through mail-order catalogues.

Even under the above conditions, animals whose keeping would endanger the survival of the species, animals posing an ecological threat to the autocthonouos flora or fauna of the country, primates or pet animals subject to a veterinary restriction measure, animals incapable of staying alive without parental care or animals capable of staying alive only when parents and offspring are sold together - except for the undeveloped specimens of animals kept exclusively for feeding other animals - may not be traded as pets, not even in pet shops.

Dogs may only be traded in pet shops upon the injection of an electronic microchip ID transponder under the skin of the animal. If the ID transponder does not comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A of ISO Standard 11785, the holder of the animal shall provide a transponder reader tool for the purposes of official inspection.

If mandatory immunisation of a pet animal species is stipulated by legislation, animals belonging to that species may only be traded if the animal has a certificate of immunisation according to its age.

Dangerous animals may only be sold to persons who can present to the trader or deliverer a copy of the licence issued to their name and authorising them for keeping such animals. Within 15 days upon delivery, the trader or deliverer of dangerous animals shall forward to the issuing authority a copy of the licence issued to the name of the new owner of the animal authorising the keeping of such animals, and keep another copy for 5 years.

Concerning an animal intended for trading,

  1. the Hungarian and scientific name of its species, and the designation of the variety,
  2. - if known - the sex and age of the individual animal,
  3. its selling price, furthermore
  4. in the case of dangerous animals, or an individual animal falling within the scope of the EC regulation, information on licenses, certificates and other documents required for keeping or buying the animal

shall be visibly displayed in the pet shop or at animal fairs, and made available to the new owner when the animal is sold.

When selling an animal intended for trading, the new owner shall also receive:

  1. Data and documentation on mandatory immunisation.
  2. In the case of an animal marked with a special durable identification, data and documentation on the identification of the animal.

The minimum conditions for keeping the animal species - in the case of invertebrates and fish, the taxonomic family -, its risks to humans or a written guide on adverse effects on health that should contain all the information required to ensure the health and welfare of the animal and maintain the health of its keeper, including at least the followings:

  • the species and scientific name of the animal,
  • the sex of the animal, if it is possible to ascertain on the basis of external characteristics or by simple examination,
  • the country of origin and natural habitats of the species,
  • the typical adult size specific to the species,
  • life expectancy specific to the species,
  • the typical activities and social organisation specific to the species in nature,
  • how to meet the feeding needs of the animal,
  • how to meet the needs of the animal concerning space, climate, light, etc.,
  • how to meet the behavioural and social needs of the animal,
  • how to place the animal in order to prevent it from escaping,
  • any diseases the species concerned is susceptible to, and how to prevent them,
  • minimum requirements for keeping the animal,
  • what kind of threat and health risks the animal poses to the health of its keeper, and how to prevent them.

The keeper of the animal shall possess all the data and documentation on the mandatory immunisation of the animal at any time, and in the case of an animal marked with a special durable identification data and documentation on the identification of the animal, and the pet trader shall make all that information available to the new owner.

When offering for sale animals of species falling under the scope of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein, the buyer shall receive a certificate of parentage, a breeder’s certificate, a certificate of origin, and a certificate according to the EC regulation.

The animals shall be housed in the pet shop so as to prevent them from escaping, while ensuring them a quiet and resting environment even in the sales area of the pet shop.

Animals shall be kept in the pet shop so as to allow their natural behaviour without durably and unnecessarily upsetting the established life and habits of people residing in the vicinity.

The space where the animal is kept in the pet shop shall be such as to satisfy the exercising needs of the animal specific to its species. In the case of equines and dogs the animals’ need to exercise may also be met by moving the animals, however, even in that case their keeping shall allow them to exercise at will as much as possible.

Animals shall be kept in such a way as to prevent them from endangering other animals - except for specimens destined for the feeding of predators - or humans.

Animals of different species may only be kept together if they do not pose a threat to each other’s physical integrity, co-habitation will not harm the nervous system of any specimen of any species, furthermore, if each animal has got a habitat where they can feed and rest undisturbed. Animals of aggressive behaviour may not be kept together with other animals.

Animals shall be fed, furthermore, rabbits and rodents shall be given chewing stuff required for wearing their teeth, in quality and quantity adopted to the age of the specimen concerned and to its physiological condition, at intervals best suited to the natural behavioural habits of the species concerned, as much as possible. Feed and water supplies, as well as clean bedding and litter shall be stored in the pet shop so as to protect them from infections and contamination.

Pet animals and the place where they are housed shall be checked at least once a day. The animal keeper shall ensure that the environmental conditions of the place where the animals are kept satisfy the needs of the animals. Animals may not be kept in permanent light, permanent darkness or permanent noise.

Pet animals shall be treated with care and they may not be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or fear.

When establishing the living conditions for the animal and while keeping it, the person holding pets for sale shall

  • also take into consideration the behavioural and social needs of the species concerned,
  • provide the animal with feed suited to its species (variety), age, physiological condition and the purpose of its keeping (use) and serving its welfare.

A person holding pets for sale shall also prevent the reproduction of animals with faulty appearance or behaviour that would cause their offspring to suffer or have a detrimental effect on their health.

Specific requirements for keeping particular animals can be read at: here and here

Procedures related to establishing and pursuing service provision activities

Regarding the holding of pet animals for sale, the proceeding authority is the district animal health and food control office having independent competence and responsibilities and acting as an organisational unit of the food chain safety and animal health directorates of the Budapest or county government office (hereinafter referred to as the district animal health and food control office).

The establishment and operation of pet shops requires a license to be issued by the district animal health and food control office.

The application for the establishment of a pet shop may be submitted in person, orally or in writing, or by post, in writing, to the regionally competent district animal health and food control office according to the location of the shop. For the time being, such an administrative procedure may not be initiated electronically due to technical reasons. In attachment to it, the application shall comprise

  1. a copy of the contract concluded with a veterinary practitioner to cater to the animals,
  2. the rules of operation of the shop, including provisions for feeding and taking care of the animals, their veterinary health supervision, separation, the storage of dung, droppings and waste, the storage and disposal of carcasses, cleaning, disinfection, compliance with public health, veterinary and animal welfare provisions and provisions for informing customers.

The district animal health and food control office shall process the application within the general 30-day administrative deadline which may be once renewed by the head of the authority for another 30 days.

If the application, the applicant, the shop and its rules of operation satisfy statutory conditions, the authority shall issue the license for the activity. The district animal health and food control office also decides on the approval of the rules of operation of the pet shop within the scope of the application, so there is no need for seeking further approval.

The fee payable for the procedure corresponds to the general amount of administrative duty, i.e. HUF 2,200. The fee is payable at the time of submission, by sticking stamp duty on the application.

By granting a license, the district animal health and food control office shall ex officio register the service provider.

Pursuing the activity within the scope of cross-border service provision

Trading in pet animals as a cross-border service provision activity - i.e. within the scope of occasional or temporary service provision without establishment - may be pursued in Hungary without special authorisation or registration, by any person legally engaging in such activities in their (EU or EEA) member state of establishment. However, it shall be noted that, mutatis mutandis, to the extent applicable, traders providing such cross-border services shall also meet the substantive legal requirements for pursuing such activities.


Cross-border service provision

If you wish to launch this service in the form of cross-border service provision, please click here to read the general conditions of cross-border service provision in Hungary.


Legislation applicable to the service provision activity and related procedures

  1. Act XXVIII of 1998 on animal protection and welfare,
  2. Government decree 41/2010 (26 February) on keeping and trading in pet animals,
  3. Act CLXIV of 2005 on trade,
  4. Government decree 210/2009 (29 September) on the conditions for pursuing trade activities,
  5. Government decree 328/2010 (27 December) on the designation of the agricultural administrative bodies of the Budapest and county government offices,
  6. Decree 41/1997 (28 May) of the Minister of Agriculture on issuing the Animal Health Rules,
  7. Decree 21/2010 (14 May) of the Minister of Economy and National Development on qualifications required for exercising particular industrial and trading activities,
  8. Act LXXVI of 2009 on the general rules of starting and pursuing service provision activities,
  9. Act CXL of 2004 on the general rules of public administration procedures and service provision,
  10. Act XCIII of 1990 on duties.