Stamps for Dog Licenses [108]


Control of animals is of significant importance in a rural environment where raising (and sale) of sheep is a mainstay. This goes back to prehistoric times as evidenced by rock carving of dogs can be found. (Figure 1). Loose or uncontrolled dogs are known to kill sheep. At the same time, dogs have been, and continue to be, a main tool in raising sheep. (Figure 2). Licensing dogs therefore is more than just a revenue measure – it funds the control of wild dogs.

Starting in British times, dogs have been licensed in one form or another. Specific tax stamps have been in use since about 1865 and continue into the 1920’s. The 1865 issue (Figure 3) is watermarked with a shamrock (Figure 4). while the 1882 issue (Figure 5). has a sideways orb watermark (Figure 6). Both are perf 14. Later issues in 1912 were perf 14×15.

In 1893, an additional tax was raised for registration of the license. This was covered by use of an over-printed Petty Sessions Court stamp. (Figure ). This was followed in 1906 by a smaller George V stamp with an overprint. (Figure 8). Color variations are known. (Figure 9). In the early 1920’s, both stamps were overprinted Rialtas, and later Saorstát.

In Ireland, due to its size, licensing is done at the national level, rather than a lower level of government. Where does one get a license or stamp? In many communities, the only government representation is the Post Office. After all, it was a stamp! The stamp evolved with time to a form,(Figure 20). and, today a computerized receipt. Dog owners are well aware of their charges predilection for mischief if uncontrolled. The dog is a close friend to man, and a willing companion and co-worker.


British Commonwealth Revenues, J. Barefoot Ltd, 5th Edition, 1966, p.122.

The Buxton Encyclopedia of Watermarks, Buxton, B.H., 1977.