Where to adopt dogs, cats or other animals in Hong Kong.
Have you been pawndering about getting a pet? From fluffy Samoyeds to loyal Boxers, adding a pet to the family is the beginning of a great adventure. After a thorough investigation (and staring at plenty of puppy and kitten pictures), we’ve compiled a list of where to adopt dogs and cats in Hong Kong. While we would always encourage pet adoption, we know that some families out there are looking for a particular breed and temperament (please check rescue centres for surrendered pets first as you may also find what you are looking for there). If you would prefer to buy a pet, we have a handy guide on how to identify quality breeders. The Sassy Mama team has adopted animals from different centres across Hong Kong so many of these recommendations are personal and heartfelt. We hope you find the perfect addition to your family!
Pet Adoption And Fostering In Hong Kong
Adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter is a win-win situation for everyone. In Hong Kong, pet turnover is significant. While adoption may mean more time and paperwork, it should be the first step on your pet-searching journey!
Founded in 2003, HKDR offers assistance to dogs through sponsorships and training workshops. Having cared for and re-homed more than 9,500 dogs, it is known for its adoption services. Leila (pictured above), now a proud Sassy Mama family dog, was adopted from Hong Kong Dog Rescue too! If you’d like to adopt from here, don’t forget to complete its Adoption Questionnaire here. Apart from dog adoption services, it also accepts donations and welcomes volunteers!
Located in Sai Kung, Catherine’s Puppies is here to offer the help and care our furry friends deserve. Since its rescue shelter opens every day from 11am to 4pm, you’ll have plenty of time to drop by and meet the dogs before making your decision. While planning your visit, be sure to visit its Instagram for regular updates on currently available dogs. For more cute puppy pictures and successful adoption stories, check out its Facebook page! Though called Catherine’s Puppies, the shelter has a lot of surrendered old dogs as well. 14-year-old Charlie (pictured above) is a much-loved part of a Sassy Mama family.
From care-taking workshops to adoption handbooks, LAP is perfect for first-time pet owners. If you’re unfamiliar with pet adoption, its experienced team will help you through the process. Also, it organises Adoption Days and claims that every day is Adoption Day at any of its centres! While you’re taking its adoption quiz here, don’t forget to follow LAP on Facebook and stay tuned for new initiatives. Sassy Mama cats, Mango and Tango (pictured above), have been adopted from LAP.
Looking to adopt a pet chinchilla, a turtle, or a guinea pig? With a wide range of species to choose from, the SPCA is the first charity in Hong Kong to deal with all aspects of animal welfare. The adoption process generally requires some paperwork, one or more visit(s) to the adoption centre (depending on the type of pet), and an adoption interview. If you already have another dog at home, its trainers might also schedule a dog-dog meeting to make sure the dogs get along safely! One point to note is that if you are interested in a particular breed, stay in touch with the SPCA. It offers rehoming facilities and a large number of purebreds get surrendered here when their owners relocate or (sadly) when families realise they aren’t up to the commitment of keeping a pet.
At any given time Sai Kung Stray Friends looks after over a hundred dogs all awaiting their forever home. As well as looking after pups until they are adopted, the volunteers also deliver meals to many of the loosely-owned local village dogs as well as trapping and spaying stray dogs across the New Territories. Check out the adoption page for details of current residents. If you can’t commit to adopting, you can always volunteer, donate or sponsor a specific dog.
The HKCC is an adoption shelter for cats and kittens with monthly adoption events. Caretakers try their best to make sure that the cats are vaccinated, wormed, and neutered. Also, if you’d like to know more about the cat’s health condition, HKCC can arrange appointments for you with the vets it works with. If you’re interested in a kitten (or two), fill in the adoption form here!
Though Hong Kong Paws started work in 2005, it was formally established and registered as an animal welfare society in 2011. It works with local animal shelters to provide financial aid, animal care consultation and rehoming services. Sassy Mama team members have fostered many puppies from Hong Kong Paws before they went on to find their forever homes. Fill in the necessary forms if you would like to adopt or foster a dog or cat.
Founded in 2008, Kirsten’s Zoo is committed to providing shelter to abandoned or abused animals. Its group of passionate volunteers will check that animals are spayed and have all the necessary medical care. These animals are then placed in foster homes until they are adopted. If you are not considering fostering or adopting, you can also support the organisation through direct donation or volunteering.
This is a relatively new dog shelter and rescue organisation. It started in 2019 when the founder chose to resign and concentrate full-time on caring for stray dogs and finding suitable adopters for them. The kennel focuses mainly on senior dogs who often get overlooked by potential owners (read a Hong Kong vet’s heartwarming story of adopting an old animal). If you are interested in visiting the shelter in Tai Po, fill in this adoption questionnaire first and make an appointment.
This is more than just a leading retailer of healthy and wholesome products for all sorts of pets. Part of its mission is to develop an animal welfare community supporting adoption for dogs, cats, and now, small animals. Whiskers N Paws is the first pet store in Asia to offer pet adoption services in collaboration with Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs). Cat, dog and small animal adoptions are made possible through dedicated in-store homing spaces. So it partners with HKDR for dog adoption, LAP for cat adoption and now, SPCA for the adoption of small animals, including guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits. Since its launch in 2008, it has helped rehome 1800+ dogs, 900+ cats and hopes to do the same with small animals.
Some other animal organisations in Hong Kong that offer pet adoptions:
Volunteering And Donation
At this point you may be thinking, what can I do if I can’t commit long term? Don’t worry, the options are endless! If you’re just looking to spend some time with animals without keeping one at home, there are lots of organisations looking to recruit volunteers to walk dogs or help out at the shelters. Although most animal adoption centres above already offer volunteer opportunities, there are many more options as well. Check out some of our extra picks for short-term volunteer opportunities! Another option to help is via donations as most of the shelters mentioned as well as the other charitable organisations mentioned below rely on generous donations.
“Dogs are a man’s (or mama’s, in our case) best friend” isn’t just a catchy phrase – it’s a universally known fact! So why not spread the fun and joy through Animals Asia’s animal-assisted therapy programme? From orphanages to elderly centres, the Dr Dog Programme provides for those in need with a furry companion. There is also a Professor Paws programme to help kids develop a love for dogs at an early age. With a variety of interesting projects that require different skill sets (along with an obvious love for animals), read more about how to help Animals Asia by volunteering, fundraising or donating.
Founded in 2012, HKSEDS focuses on the education and professional training of See Eye Dogs. Its services shed light on the needs of physically and mentally impaired communities in Hong Kong. In particular, HKSED’s Puppy Walker Programme is looking for families who can commit to looking after a Seeing Eye Dog puppy at their home. For more information, take a look at its website and see if you’ve got what it takes to be a Puppy Walker! If you prefer to contribute to the cause instead, take a look at the donation page.
Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services, Shop S1, 63 Kwai Shing Circuit, Kwai Shing East Estate, Kwai Chung, New Territories, Hong Kong, Service hotline: 8113 2577, General enquiries: 2628 1833, [email protected], www.seeingeyedog.org.hk
Looking for an on-site volunteer opportunity? Located in Yuen Long, SAA’s animal shelter is always looking for helpers! SAA also recruits event volunteers for its charity sales and fundraisers. So be sure to check out the SAA’s Instagram and Facebook page for regular updates! If you’re all set and determined to help out, fill out its application form here. Alternatively, you could choose to sponsor the cost of food, medicines and shelter for abandoned animals.
Other animal charities in Hong Kong to be aware of:
If your heart is set on a specific breed and you don’t want to adopt an abandoned older dog, your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. However, it is absolutely important to conduct proper research. Many vets we spoke to agreed that dog breeds tend to be a fad. So for a while, some breeds are all the rage and there are a number of breeder hobbyists focusing on breeding and selling that particular type of dog. In these cases, there is often little regard to quality or health concerns.
If done properly, responsible breeders can improve breed standards by breeding dogs without inherited health problems. Make sure the breeder has a licence from the AFCD, welcomes you visiting the premises and asks you questions in turn. Do read this handy checklist from SPCA and study AFCD’s regulations when it comes to dog breeding and trading to help identify a good breeder.
If you want a particular breed, it could be a good idea to get in touch with the Hong Kong Kennel Club and follow up with them about top show dogs and their breeders. In this case, the dog is likely to have been bred by a reputed breeder who has consistently paid attention to quality. The Hong Kong Canine Association-registered Eclipse (which imports and breeds Cavaliers) and Grifoncino Labradors get consistently good reviews. If you are looking to import breeds from other countries, speak to the importer first. Discuss the suitability of the Hong Kong climate, the period of quarantine etc. before making up your mind.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and updated in May 2021.