Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.
Animal lovers will have to sit an examination and undergo a practical test under rules to be introduced in September.
Initially, owners will have two years to follow courses on animal care but by 2010 it will be necessary to pass the theory exam in order to keep any kind of dog, from a Chihuahua to an Irish wolfhound.
The move is part of a wider law on the protection of animals. Among the more unusual provisions is a requirement that guinea pigs and budgies be bought in groups of two or more, because they cannot bear solitude.
The law also requires farmers who keep more than three pigs, five horses, 10 sheep, 150 egg-laying hens and 200 chicks to take a course.