dog walk on beach benjamin brunner
Photo by Benjamin Brunner


The right to walk with a dog, including hunting dogs, depends on the existing access. For example, if the access is by way of an unformed legal road, those using the access can do all the things that are lawful on a public road. Other forms of access may have restrictions on dogs. Private landholders may place whatever restrictions they consider appropriate on their land, including prohibiting dogs. The Dog Control Act 1996 applies to dogs on both public and private land.

If you have permission to take your dog with you, keep it under control:

  • Keep your dog on a short lead or under close control around farm animals.
  • Pick up and remove your dog’s faeces.
  • If you take your dog to sheep farms, you should get it dosed for sheep measles.
  • Do not let your dog frighten other people.
  • Do not let your dog disturb birds or wildlife.

Many landholders are concerned about dogs spreading diseases such as sheep measles and that dogs will worry stock. If dogs are not under proper control, they may frighten other people or disturb wildlife, such as nesting birds.

Always keep your dogs under proper control. They should not be allowed to frighten other people or disturb birds or other wildlife unless they are game and hunting is permitted. Dogs should be on a short lead or under close control around farm animals. Dogs that have not been trained to behave around stock may become aggressive. Dog faeces must be picked up and removed.

Dogs on conservation land (Department of Conservation)

The Outdoor Acess Code