There are over 500,000 dogs in Norway, and Norwegians really love having a family dog for companion, as a hunting dog or to use for shows and exhibitions. You will see plenty of dogs when you visit Norway, and might even want to bring your own dog to your visit to Norway.
If you’re planning on bringing your dog to Norway, then there are some rules that you should follow if you don’t want to get a fine. In this article we will be looking closer at what the laws are like when it comes to keeping dogs off leash in Norway.
You are only allowed to keep your dog off the leash between August 20 and April 1, and only then if you are sure that you can control it. Your dog should not be annoying other people or causing fear, both on and off leash.
The “forced leash period” (båndtvang)
It is a complete ban of having dogs off leash between April 1 and August 20. The reason for this is because deer, waterfowl and other animals have very vulnerable babies during this period, and dogs have historically made a lot of damage to these young animals.
This period is called båndtvang, which can be translated to “forced leash period”. The only exception is if the dog is in within a fenced yard or dog park. Even regular non-fenced gardens still require a leash.
Some municipalities have an extended forced leash period, often due to free ranging sheep or other husbandry animals. Many rural municipalities extend the period until the end of October, but some municipalities might even extend it longer. So make sure to check if there are any municipality wide regulations before you let your dog off the leash. You need to check this with the municipality’s website for all municipalities you are visiting before letting your dog run free.
The consequences of breaking the forced leash period
If you get caught breaking the leash laws by keeping your dog off leash, you do risk facing consequences. These are often a fee you need to pay, and you can expect to get around 3000 to 4000 NOK in fees for breaking the law. However, act nice if you get caught, and you might very well get off with just a warning.
However, if your dog kills wildlife or does damage to the wildlife in the process, it can be a lot more expensive than just this fee, and you might even get taken to criminal court. A worst-case scenario is that the dog will be put down, and you get a hefty fine.
But with all that said, a lot of people still let their dog run free off leash during the forced leash period. It’s not like people are going to be calling the police unless your dog is annoying them or damaging wildlife, so many people don’t really care much about this particular law.
Should you keep your dog on a leash while cross country skiing?
There is not a general forced leash period during the winter, so you are technically allowed to keep your dog off leash when going on a cross country ski trip. That said, most people prefer it if you keep it on a leash when you use prepared tracks.
Many prepared ski tracks do have their own rules where they require all dog owners to keep their dogs in a leash, so make sure to respect this wish if you use these tracks.
It’s also still a requirement that you can control the dog, even while skiing, and it should not be able to annoy or scare other skiers if it’s off leash. This is also a requirement if it meets another dog on the track, and it should not annoy or interrupt the other dog.
If you’re skiing in the forest or mountains off-track, then you might very well keep the dog off leash as long as you have control over it.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.