Adopt a dog from Spain

“Why would someone adopt a dog from Spain”

Adopt a dog from Spain

The most common question I get asked is why would someone adopt a dog from Spain?”.  If my recent experiences are anything to go by, there are several reasons.

Having been back in the UK since October 2014 and offered my professional help and support, on a voluntary basis, to a number of adoption groups in the South West of England, not one responded! 

I see countless requests for help from UK rescue charities and read many comments that say dogs aren’t getting adopted here, but many charities don’t respond to those willing to help!  It took several emails, a couple of Facebook messages, two SMS’s and two phone calls even to get one group to respond.  Some of the groups I tried to contact are quite well known names, not just small local charities struggling to keep up.

A second reason is that most of the people I know who want to adopt a dog are looking for a family type dog or a smaller breed to fit in with their lifestyle and home.  However, sadly many UK rescues are filled with larger, stronger breeds that many families do not want to take on.  It’s terrible for these dogs, but it also means that there are great homes out there that could offer a dog a home but can’t find a suitable dog.  Does that mean that, no dog should be allowed to benefit? 

Another reason is that some of the criteria laid out in the paperwork from some of the groups results in perfectly good homes being rejected.  I am definitely not suggesting a lack of rigour in home-checks or rescue group criteria: it’s very important that the right homes are found, that the home can afford a dog and prospective adopters understand the responsibilities that comes with owning one.  However, when there is a policy among quite a number of groups that will not allow any of their dogs to go into a family with children or where the owners may be working and have to leave the dog at times, this makes no sense at all.  Most people do have to work and most people want a “family” dog.  Let’s face it – if someone is working, then they are also more likely to be able to afford a dog. 

Of course, home-checks perform a vital role and observation of how a family operates, checking the ages of any children, finding out how much dog experience a family have so that properly informed and intelligent decisions can be made is essential, but I know a number of perfectly suitable homes that have been turned down by rescue groups.  These are exactly the homes that Spanish Rescues can help.  Many of the Spanish groups operate with foster carers only and the rescued dogs have lived with people who have children, other dogs, cats and chickens.

A number of the dogs will have grown up around goats and sheep or on the streets and while some may be fearful of traffic or have experienced mistreatment at the hands of humans, many others love people from their street experience, have a different kind of confidence around town and are actually much better socialised than many of our pets that have been brought up in more secure environments. 

It is important for those involved in rescue to do their best to carefully match the dog and the family wishing to adopt and it is important to match their respective energies too. Sadly I have often heard UK rescues say that the home-checks are not done well enough, yet I know of groups in Spain that have homed over 1000 dogs with very few, if any, returns and hardly any need for further assistance once the dogs are in their new homes.  Equally, I know of UK charities where dogs seem to be returned on a regular basis, sometimes with more than one or two returns each month.

A further reason to adopt from Spain is that the associated costs are often lower than when taking on a young dog in the UK.  Vets fees, vaccinations, spaying/neutering and health checks are all much cheaper than in many other European countries.  Even with the cost of transport, it still often works out less costly than taking on a young dog here.

Spanish Rescue Groups I support: 

AAR (Axarquia Animal Rescue) near Malaga, Andalucia, Spain.

Berta’s Rescue – near Alicante, Valencia, Spain

Alhama Street Animal Protection, Alhama de Granada, Andalucia

Give a Dog a Home Rescue, Malaga, Andalucia, Spain

If you see a dog that you think would fit with your lifestyle and home and would like to offer it a forever home, please let me know and I will help you take the next step and put you in touch with the relevant people and group.  If you don’t see the dog you are looking for here, please e-mail and chat to me about what you are looking for and between me and the relevant groups, we will offer you a number of best matches to consider.

  • Homechecks are carried out in accordance to the rescue’s requirements.
  • Only approved, professional transport companies are used.  These often have GPS systems which mean that new owners can follow their dog’s progress from the time it leaves Spain to the time it arrives at their door.  The companies often post photos of the journey for all new owners to view.  All official paperwork is carried out and the dogs arrive legally present and correct.
  • The average cost of adopting a dog from Spain is between 150 and 250 Euros…. depending on whether it is male or female and the average cost of transport is around…. 250 euros….   
  • Young dogs (puppies) can be less but it should be noted that they can not leave Spain until at least 15 weeks of age and there will be additional veterinary costs involved for example, spaying or neutering once the dog is old enough.  It is important to note that there can be more work involved in helping these dogs to adjust and rehabilitate because they may have been hand raised or not had the same canine family upbringing as other dogs.  They may be less socialised although foster carers who bring up puppies are usually very dedicated and go out of their way to make sure that puppies learn as much as possible about the world they are about to enter.  Those who wish to adopt a young dog should be more experienced and should not have young families.  We are more than happy to try and find the right dog for you.

Fund Raiser and link:

I help and support the above groups with home-checking (where local to me), behaviour support and advice, promotion of their work and fundraising.  In particular, I am working with my dogs to pull a dog powered sulky (two wheeled dog vehicle) a distance of 1000km for sponsorship which will go to the above charities and another that rescues dogs to rehabilitate them to work as service dogs to both adults and children with learning difficulties and PTSD.

A video about this and details about how to donate can be found here:

Donations can be made in any currency via GoFundMe: 


  • Focus on the right kind of dog for an adopter
  • Match the requirements of an adopter with a Spanish dog
  • Only rehome dogs that have lived with a foster family and where the personality of that dog has already been observed
  • Give as much information as possible as to what the foster dog knows or doesn’t know and any training it has received
  • Give support and advice to new adopters
  • Put adopters in direct contact with the person/group or case worker who will be sending them their new dog as well as the foster carer looking after their new dog.
  • Test the dog wherever possible in situations it is likely to meet in its new home eg time around children, cats, other dogs etc… and to be very clear about this information and the energy of the dog.
  • Rehome dogs that have been Mediterranean Disease Checked and where the test has shown disease free.

Once Leadchanges has its own facility, we will offer further back up support, owner/dog holiday and training stays to learn more about dog behaviour and other services.