Importing a Dog to Australia From Japan

I guess there is rising interest in the Japanese breeds down in Australia. I assume this because I've been receiving a steady stream of mail from would be owners. Unfortunately, Australian import regulations make it very pricey to import. Just how many limbs should you prepare to sever? Since I seem to be answering this question a lot now, I'm just going to blog it. While I'm writing this post with regard to importing Nihon Ken from Japan, it will also be helpful for those looking to move their pet from Japan to Australia, or people looking to import other breeds from Japan.

The main reasons it is very costly to import is due to the need for an import permit (485 AUD), mandatory 10 day quarantine (@1500 AUD total), and the requirement that all dogs arrive as manifest cargo (this means dogs cannot arrive as check in baggage which usually only costs around 300-400 AUD).

Airline regulations in Japan do not allow you to book a cargo flight for your dog directly with the airline. You have to go through a shipping agent like NIPPON EXPRESS . This does drive up the costs obviously. It costs at least 200,000JPY for 1 medium size (200 size) dog crate from Narita to Melbourne. All dogs arriving in Australia must arrive in Melbourne since this is the only quarantine facility in the country.

Japan is a group 2 rabies free country so while there is still a 10 day quarantine upon arrival in Australia, rabies vaccinations and blood testing are unnecessary. It takes quite a bit of time to clear all the hurdles to import a dog though, so best to start early (you'll need a minimum of 42 days). You can find a step by step guide here.

The first step you'll need to take is to implant an ISO compatible microchip, and then apply for an import permit. Once you've received your permit you will want to make start making flight reservations for the dog with your shipping agent and make a reservation for the 10 day quarantine in Australia.

So, at this point you are already running up a bill of around 400,000JPY. This obviously does not include the price of the pup or all the veterinary work that needs to be done before it is eligible for import.

I won't list all the veterinary work you have to clear before import since the timeline and procedures are very exact. Follow the step by step guide! Make sure you pay close attention, or hire someone to take care of the process for you.

To give you an idea of total costs to import a Shiba pup for instance, you'll probably be looking at somewhere around 600,000JPY. The amount will be more or less depending on the price of the pup obviously, and how much of the process you or the breeder are able to handle (since otherwise you'll have to pay someone else to handle vet trips/kenneling/transport within Japan/export inspections etc).