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Laws and rules (Germany)

This site is just about the laws/rules about service dogs and persons with disabilities in Germany.

For informations about the regulations in your country please inform yourself. If you have any troubles to find sth. feel free to contact me.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. Ratification in Germany was on 26.03.2009 and it says:​

  • Article 1: term “persons with disabilities” =  those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others

The Picture shows the logo of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Article 3: non-discrimination, participation and inclusion in society, human dignity and equal opportunities

  • Article 6: women with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and in this regard it has to be ensured their full development, advancement and empowerment 

  • Article 9: provide animal and human assistance

  • Article 19: people with disabilities have the right to get the support that counteracts isolation and enables life in community

  • Article 20: ensure the mobility of disabled people with the greatest possible independence and ease access to high-quality mobility aids, devices, supporting technologies, human and animal aid and to intermediaries

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe and entered into force on 3 September 1953. 

  • Article 14: the prohibition of discrimination ensures that everyone is allowed to exercise the human rights and fundamental freedoms laid down in the convention and any discrimination, for whatever reason, is prohibited

German logo of the European Convention on Human Rights
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

The Charter (CFR) was proclaimed on 7 December 2000 and applies to the Institutions of the European Union and its member states when implementing European Union law.

  • Article 20: everyone is equal before the law

  • Article 21: any discrimination based on any ground (even on disability) shall be prohibited

  • Article 26: "The Union recognises and respects the right of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community."

On 2 July 2008 submitted the Commission of the European Communities a draft: "Proposal for a council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation". In the compromise amendment from 2 April 2009 it says:

  • "Effective non-discriminatory access can be provided by a variety of means, including through ‘design for all’ and through facilitating the use of assistive devices by persons with disabilities, including aids to mobility and access, such as recognised guide dogs and other assistance dogs."

German Disability Discrimination Act (german: Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz, short BGG)

The BGG came into force in Germany in May 2002. It applies to all federal authorities, corporations and institutions, including the Federal Employment Agency or the German Federal Pension Insurance. The prohibition of disadvantage also applies to other authorities insofar as they carry out federal law (office for social affairs or social security offices).

  • Article 1: "The aim of this law is to eliminate and prevent the disadvantage of people with disabilities, to ensure their equal participation in life in society and to enable them to lead a self-determined life. Their special needs are taken into account."

  • Article 7: prohibition of discrimination = public authorities must not disadvantage people with disabilities (treating them differently for no compelling reason)

Law for the further development of BGG
campaign picture for further development of the BGG. Slogan says: "More accessibility, less hindering"

The BGG has been developed over time. The improvements came into effect on July 27, 2016.

  • Article 4 about accessibility was extended by: "The use of aids that are necessary due to disabilities is permitted."

The Drucksache 18/8428 contains the recommended resolution:

  • "With the amendments, the definition of accessibility (§ 4 BGG-E) is expanded by the approval of aids that are necessary due to disabilities (for example guide dogs or service dogs)."

  • "There was also a need for clarification in the regulations for example taking along aids that are necessary due to disabilities. In the future the assistance needs will include e. g. guide dogs and service dogs."

General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) & German Social Code (SGB) First Book (I)

The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) is a German federal law that “prevents and eliminates disadvantages based on race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity should". To achieve this goal, the persons protected by law receive legal claims against employers and private individuals if they violate the legal prohibition of discrimination against them.​

The AGG exists since 2006. It is used, among other things, in the field of private education sector, health services (private medical practices) and access to and supply of goods and services that are available to the public; however, it only works if there is discrimination in the context of private legal relationships (e.g. private schools/kindergartens, purchasing food, purchasing electricity from a private provider, etc.).

  • Article 3: disadvantages for people with disabilities

    • Immediate (direct / open) disadvantage: when a public institution e. g. such as a restaurant prohibits people with intellectual disabilities (or people with a service dog) on the pretext that they disturb the rest of the clientele

    • Indirect disadvantage: a regulation typically results in disadvantage for people with disabilities (e.g. a general dog ban without exception for service dogs)

    • Harassment: undesirable acts that have the aim / result in the dignity of a protected person (e.g. disabled person) being violated; can be verbal or non-verbal

    • Instruction for disadvantage: the potential victim does not have to wait for the disadvantage first, but can already act against the instruction

  • The prohibition of discrimination is not violated if there is a factual reason for unequal treatment: avoidance of dangers (e.g. flight travel restrictions for pregnant women), protection of privacy, granting special benefits (e.g. discounts), religious connection (preference for Christian children in a Christian daycare center); the factual reason must be of some weight and must be weighed against the interest in equal treatment and must not prove inappropriate in comparison

The German Social Code (german: Sozialgesetzbuch, short: SGB) is the codification of social law in the formal sense. (Social law encompasses all legal norms of public law that serve to protect social risks such as illness, long-term care, unemployment and income, old age or death. The term is comparatively new and has only been used in Germany since the 1960s to 1980s.) It serves to achieve social justice and security, and should help to ensure a decent existence and to avert or compensate for particular burdens on life. 

  • Article 17 of SGB I: social benefits must be provided without barriers

  • In connection with the AGG this means: service dogs can also be taken to doctor's surgeries (unless there is a factual reason justifying the refusal)

Domiciliary right in Germany

The domiciliary right is based on property ownership (§§ 858 ff., § 903, § 1004 BGB). The terms "peace of mind" and "inviolability of the home" are based on Article 13 of the Basic Law. It also applies to commercial properties. The landlord is authorized to pronounce a house ban; if it is violated, there is trespassing (§ 123 StGB) and can have consequences under civil law.


In the AGG, only objective reasons to avert discrimination are provided, e.g. dangerous behavior of a dog (which is not the case with assistance dogs).


=> The domiciliary right ends where discrimination begins.

State equality laws and state dog laws

Every federal state in Germany has its own equality law for people with disabilities and its own state dog law.


Since I live in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, I am only going into extracts from the applicable laws there.


Disability Equality Act North Rhine-Westphalia (BGG NRW):

  • Article 2: Prohibition of discrimination: "People with disabilities or people who are at risk of disability are treated differently because of their disability or their threatened disability compared to people without disabilities, without there being a compelling reason for this"

  • Article 4: a more detailed definition of accessibility

Dog law for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (LHundG NRW):


  • Article 2: Leasehold obligation in pedestrian zones, parks, public buildings and at public events

  • Article 11: Keeping a large dog (fully grown at a height at the withers of at least 40 cm or a weight of at least 20 kg) must be reported to the competent authority by the owner; must be marked with a microchip; Liability insurance must be taken out for the dog

Ein angeleinter Hund wartet aufs Herrchen beim Farrad
  • Article 17: "With the exception of Section 2 (1), this law does not apply to official dogs, dogs from the rescue service or disaster control and guide dogs for the blind ."

  • In other words: If the assistance dog cannot fulfill its duties when on a leash, it is exempt from the leash obligation


The dog tax, on the other hand, is a matter for the respective municipality. As an assistance dog owner, you can apply for an exemption from this tax.

Service dogs are equated with aids and guide dogs for the blind

As already mentioned above, it was made clear with printed matter 18/8428 that "the use of aids that are necessary due to disabilities is permissible. Aids in the sense of this law include, in particular, guide dogs and service dogs".

The fifth book of the Social Security Code (SGB V) goes into more detail on aids:

Article 33 (1): "Insured persons are entitled to the supply of hearing aids, body replacements, orthopedic and other aids that are required in individual cases to ensure the success of the patient's treatment, to prevent an impending disability or to compensate for a disability, provided that the aids are not considered to be general everyday objects to be viewed or excluded according to Section 34 (4). "

Article 139: List of Aids


Judgment of the Federal Social Court (BSG) of November 15, 2007 - B 3 A 1/07 R .:

The list of resources is not legally binding. Even today, for medical reasons, an aid can be prescribed that is not listed in the list of aids, but meets the requirements described in § 33 in conjunction with § 139 SGB V and not only compensates for the loss of physical functions to a small extent.


​BSG judgment of August 3, 2006 Az. B 3 KR 25/05 R:

According to this, the central associations of the health insurance funds have not received any legal authorization to finally define their service obligation towards the insured in the sense of a "positive list" through the list of aids. The medical aids guidelines of the Federal Committee of Doctors and Health Insurance Funds of June 17, 1992 (BAnz Supplement No. 183b) in the version of the announcement of October 19, 2004 (BAnz 2005 No. 2 S 89), which under no forbid prescribing aids at the expense of the health insurers, unless they are listed in the list of aids of the central associations of the health insurance funds, contradict the legal situation, as the BSG has repeatedly pointed out.

The health insurance companies usually refuse to pay anything other than a pure guide dog.

Participation Strengthening Act of June 9th, 2021

The law to strengthen the participation of people with disabilities as well as the state law determination of the providers of benefits for education and participation in social welfare, or the Participation Strengthening Act for short, was promulgated on June 9th, 2021.


What it says, among other things (with regard to service dogs):

  • Article 9 Amendment of the Disability Equality Act

    • §12e: Even if dogs are otherwise forbidden, assistance dogs should have access to facilities and facilities. Entry must not be denied. In addition, the assistance dog is defined as a "specially trained dog", "which, based on its abilities and the assistance it has learned, is intended to enable this person to participate in social life in a self-determined manner, to make it easier or to compensate for handicap-related disadvantages."

    • §12f, §12g, §12i, §12j: these deal with the approval and testing of an assistance dog. In-house and third-party training are taken into account.

    • §12k: There will be a study that will examine the implementation and effects of the passed paragraphs

  • There is no longer any difference between the recognition of individual types of service dogs. The PTSD service dog is also recognized and thus equated with a guide dog.

What is the landlord allowed to do?

As already stated above, domiciliary rights end where discrimination begins.

In addition, since 2013 landlords are no longer allowed to generally prohibit the keeping of dogs in apartments, as the tenant's interest in keeping animals far outweighs the landlord's interest in prohibiting animals, which will regularly be the case with "therapeutically indicated" animals (cf. LG Hamburg , Judgment of January 13, 2005, 307 S 155/04, p. 4).

"The Bavarian Higher Regional Court ruled that it was grossly inequitable to enforce an existing, generally permissible ban on keeping dogs against a disabled apartment owner if the animal serves the purpose of compensating for special needs and conditions that arise from the physical handicap (BayObLG October 25, 2001 - 2 Z BR 81/01) In this case, the tenant acquired the dog during the existing tenancy, but it is also conceivable to oblige a landlord to amend an existing contract that includes a dog ban in order to accommodate a disabled prospective tenant to enable the dog to move in. " Source: Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, manual "legal protection against discrimination", page 123)

Can the service dog go to work?

Employers are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to ensure equal treatment, as long as no disproportionate effort is required (Art. 5 Directive 2000/78 / EC).


§ 106 (3) GewO obliges the employer to consider the interests of disabled employees.

Ein Hund hat ene Brille auf und sitzt vor einer aufgeschlagenen Zeitung
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Any small donation means a lot to me and brings me closer to my desire of being able to do so much more again and to feel more joie de vivre, thanks to a service dog. ♥

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