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Working dogs in rural NSW

The Companion Animals Act 1998 sets out rules and responsibilities relating to working dogs.


A working dog is:

  • used primarily for droving, tending, working or protecting stock
  • trained as a working dog.

Hunting dogs and guard dogs are not working dogs, and do not have any special status or exemptions. An animal kept for purposes other than as a pet does not automatically mean it is a ‘working dog’.

Exemptions for working dogs

Dogs that meet the definition of a working dog have some exemptions. Working dogs in Eurobodalla are exempt from:

  • wearing a collar and tag while actively working on their owner’s property
  • microchipping
  • registration requirements when they live on land defined and rated as farmland under the Local Government Act 1993.

However, you should consider microchipping and registering your valuable animal for its protection. You will not have to pay to register your working dog.

All other working dogs that do not meet the exemptions under clause 17 of the Companion Animals Regulation 2018, must be microchipped and registered. A registration fee will not apply.

Microchipping and lifetime registration exemptions can be lost if your dog:

  • is seized and impounded. In this instance, the dog must be microchipped and registered before it is returned to you, however, there is no fee payable for registration
  • is declared dangerous or menacing
  • is the subject of a nuisance order
  • ceases to be a working dog.

Prevent your dog attacking livestock

Dog owners must not allow their dogs to roam free in public places, unless in a designated off-leash area and under the control of its owner.

Dog attacks on livestock have a significant impact on rural farmers. To help prevent dog attacks on livestock:

  • Do not allow your dog to roam, especially with other dogs.
  • Make sure your fences are in good order and keep your dog in the yard.
  • Ensure your dog is well cared for and well fed – bored and hungry dogs go looking for fun and food.
  • Make sure your dog is desexed as it will be less likely to roam. Don’t allow your dog to chase other animals such as birds and native animals for fun.
  • Train your dog to be obedient and socialise them with other animals in a controlled environment.

Contact us

For all enquiries relating to working dogs, please contact Council's Rangers: