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Ireland Dog Licence Registers

Dog Licence stamp

Each record contains a transcript and an image of the original licence register entry. The information given varies but in general you should find out the following about your ancestor:

  • Name
  • Address
  • County
  • Year and date of dog licence

With these records it’s essential to look at the images so that you don’t miss finding out about your ancestor’s dog. The image will tell you:

  • Colour of dog
  • Sex of dog
  • Breed or type of dog
  • Dog licences were introduced into Irish law in 1865 and the first licences were issued the following year. It cost 2 shillings per dog with an extra 6 pence in administration costs. The licences were issued in the same courts as held the Petty Sessions.

    In the first year 353, 798 dog licences were issued generating over £35,000 in revenue. Subsequent years saw an average of 250,000 licences purchased. In the following decades, millions of licences were issued. There are 2,810,246 records available to search on findmypast.

    Working dogs were widely and variously used. Collies were often sheep dogs. Mastiffs had first been bred by gamekeepers and were popular guard dogs due to their powerful build and otherwise quiet and loyal temperament. In coastal areas water dogs were in demand including the powerful Newfoundland. Terriers were often hunters as were spaniels.

    The dog licences were introduced to make it easier to identify the owners of trouble making dogs, the ones which either worried sheep or damaged property. Once the owners were identified to accept liability no one paid much attention to what the dog was called but dog names do find their way into the records occasionally.

    According to the records for Mountrath, in County Offaly (known at the time as Queens County) Prince was a popular name in 1866, as was Captain, Jess and Watch. Names like Flora and Floss were popular for bitches and many dogs had names that seemed more aspirational (Tiger, Hawk, Wolf or Buffalo) or descriptive (Snap, Spot or Coal). There is Curate the yellow greyhound and Brandy the grey and brown terrier. Smaller dogs were known as Gip or Fly and of course, there is Rover.

    Pet owning had grown in popularity throughout the 19th century so lapdogs and toy dogs make an appearance. There are Pomeranians and poodles and of course there are those mongrels of uncertain lineage, the faithful mutt, known at the time as a loveable cur. But it’s worth noting that during the 19th century the selection of breeds generally kept as a family pet was far narrower than we are familiar with today, and usually restricted to spaniels, hounds, setters, pointers, terriers, mastiffs and bulldogs.

    Even the most pampered lapdog would have had a far more Spartan existence than a modern family pet. Pet toys did not become popular until the 1920s. Dogs would have been fed mainly on biscuits or bread soaked in a meat broth, milk or water and would generally get meat only rarely and in the form of biscuits made from wheat meal flavoured with meat. It was not the 1920s that tinned dog food was introduced.

What's on site now?

County of CourtCourtYear Coverage 
CARLOWBAGENALSTOWN1866-1914New
CARLOWFENAGH1867-75New
CARLOWMYSHALL1866-1914New
CAVANBELTURBET1866-1914New
CAVANKILLESHANDRA1895-1914New
CAVANVIRGINIA1866New
CLAREBALLYVAUGHAN1866-1908New
CLARECOROFIN1864-1914New
CLARECRUSHEEN1866-1914New
CLAREENNIS1866-80New
CLAREKILKEE1877-1912 
CLAREKILLALOE1889-1914New
CLAREKILRUSH1866-1913 
CLAREMILTOWN MALBAY1866-1914New
CORKAHADALLANE1866-1913New
CORKBANDON1910-14New
CORKCARRIGALINE1913-14New
CORKCARRIGBOY (CARRICKBUE)1893, 1905-14New
CORKCASTLETOWNROCHE1876-1914New
CORKDONERAILE1866-1914New
CORKFERMOY1902-14New
CORKKILDORRERY1866-1905New
CORKMICHELSTOWN1867-1910New
CORKPASSAGE WEST1901-14New
CORKRATHCORMACK1866-1913 
CORKTIMOLEAGUE1899-1908New
CORKTRACTON1905-14New
DONEGALARDARA1866-1910New
DONEGALBALLINTRA1894-1914New
DONEGALBALLYSHANNON1891-1914New
DONEGALMILFORD1866-67 
DONEGALMOVILLE1866-1914New
DONEGALRAMELTON1887-1914New
DONEGALRATHMULLEN1866-1913 
DUBLINBALBRIGGAN1866-84, 1887, 1898-99New
DUBLINBLANCHARDSTOWN1894-1914New
DUBLINCABINTEELY1868-1912New
DUBLINDRUMCONDRA1866-93, 1903-14New
DUBLINLUCAN1867-90, 1895-1913 
GALWAYAHASCRAGH1864-1914New
GALWAYARDRAHAN1867-1914New
GALWAYATHENRY1889-1914New
GALWAYBALLINAMORE1912-14New
GALWAYBALLINASLOE1866-1914New
GALWAYBALLYGAR1872-1914New
GALWAYCARNA1898-1914New
GALWAYCLEGGAN1902-13 
GALWAYCLIFDEN1866-74 
GALWAYEYRECOURT1899-1914New
GALWAYGORT1866-88New
GALWAYGURTEEN1866-1914New
GALWAYKILLIMORE1871, 1876, 1881New
GALWAYLAWRENCETOWN1860-61, 1866-1914New
GALWAYMOUNTBELLEW1892-1914New
GALWAYRECESS1909-14New
KERRYCAHERCIVEEN1901-14New
KERRYKILLORGLIN1874-86New
KERRYPORTMAGEE1910-14New
KERRYTARBERT1901-12 
KILDAREBALLYLINAN1866-1914New
KILDAREKILDARE1884-85, 1905-14New
KILDAREKILMEAGUE1866-1906New
KILDAREMONASTEREVAN1903-14New
KILDARENAAS1866-1910New
KILKENNYBALLYRAGGET1866-1913New
KILKENNYCASTLECOMER1865-1914New
KILKENNYFRESHFORD1913-14New
KILKENNYGORESBRIDGE1904-14New
KILKENNYGOWRAN1867-1914New
KILKENNYGRACES OLDCASTLE1866-1913 
KILKENNYKILKENNY1886-1906 
KILKENNYKILMANAGH1867-1913New
KILKENNYKILMOGANNY1866-1906New
KILKENNYSTONEYFORD1899-1905 
KING'SFAHY1902-14New
KING'SPARSONSTOWN1888-1911New
LEITRIMCARRICK-ON-SHANNON1891-1914New
LEITRIMKESHCARRIGAN1910-14New
LIMERICKASKEATON1909-13 
LIMERICKBALLINGARRY1866-1913 
LIMERICKBRUFF1866-89, 1907-14New
LIMERICKBRUREE1912-13New
LIMERICKCROOM1866-1913 
LIMERICKLIMERICK1867-1914New
LIMERICKPALLASKENRY1866-1913 
LIMERICKRATHKEALE1902-13 
LONGFORDARDAGH1866-1914New
LONGFORDBALLINAMUCK1914New
LOUTHARDEE1866-1914New
MAYOBALLINA1866-1914New
MAYOBALLINROBE1911-14New
MAYOBALLYCASTLE1895-1914New
MAYOBALLYHAUNIS1866-1903New
MAYOCASTLEBAR1866-1914New
MAYOCONG1866-1914New
MAYOHOLLYMOUNT1866-1909New
MAYOKILMAINE1891, 1897-1910New
MAYOLOWPARK1866-1905 
MEATHDRUMCONRATH1866-1914New
MONAGHANBALLYBAY1900-14New
MONAGHANCARRICKMACROSS1866-1914New
MONAGHANCASTLEBLAYNEY1866-1914New
MONAGHANCLONES1866-91New
MONAGHANMONAGHAN1901-14New
QUEEN'SBALLICKMOYLER1906New
QUEEN'SBALLYBRITTAS1866-1913 
QUEEN'SCLONASLEE1908New
QUEEN'SMARYBOROUGH1881, 1885-1913 
QUEEN'SMOUNTRATH1866-87, 1903-13 
QUEEN'SPORTARLINGTON1868-95 
QUEEN'SSTRADBALLY1866-71, 1874-1913 
QUEEN'STIMAHOE1866-86 
ROSCOMMONATHLONE1866-1914New
ROSCOMMONBALLINLOUGH1866-1914New
ROSCOMMONBALLINTOBBER1866-1914New
ROSCOMMONBALLYFORAN1866-1913 
ROSCOMMONBOYLE1897-1913 
ROSCOMMONBRIDESWELL1866-96 
ROSCOMMONCASTLEREA1866-1914New
ROSCOMMONCOOLDERRY1866-1913 
ROSCOMMONCOOTEHALL1866-1913 
ROSCOMMONCROGHAN1866-1906 
ROSCOMMONHILLSTREET1890-1914New
ROSCOMMONLECARROW1866-1914New
ROSCOMMONROSCOMMON1882-1913 
SLIGOBALLYMOTE1866-1914New
SLIGOMULLAGHROE1916-14New
TIPPERARYARDFINNAN1908-14New
TIPPERARYBALLYPOREEN1914New
TIPPERARYCASHEL1913-14New
TIPPERARYFETHARD1865-1913New
TIPPERARYGOLDEN1909-14New
TIPPERARYNENAGH1866-1914New
TIPPERARYNEWPORT1913-14New
TIPPERARYROSCREA1883-1913 
TIPPERARYTEMPLEMORE1881-1913 
WATERFORDCAPPOQUIN1866-1914New
WATERFORDLISMORE1865, 1888-1914New
WATERFORDVILLIERSTOWN1888-1914New
WESTMEATHBALLYMORE1866-73New
WESTMEATHBALLYNACARGY1897-1914New
WESTMEATHBRAWNEY, ATHLONE1866-1903New
WESTMEATHCASTLEPOLLARD1913-14New
WESTMEATHCLONMELLON1897-1914New
WESTMEATHCOLLINSTOWN1912-14New
WESTMEATHDELVIN1866-96New
WESTMEATHKILLUCAN1866-1914New
WESTMEATHMULLINGAR1866-1914New
WESTMEATHMULTYFARNHAM1866-1914New
WESTMEATHROCHFORTBRIDGE1876-1914New
WESTMEATHTYRRELLSPASS1866-1914New
WEXFORDFERNS1897-1914New
WEXFORDOULART1866-90New
WICKLOWAVOCA1885-1914New
WICKLOWNEWTOWNMOUNTKENNEDY1866-1914New
WICKLOWRATHDRUM1866-83 
WICKLOWWICKLOW1866-1914New