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Dogs and rabies

I am planning my first Camino in 2012 and am very nervous of dogs.

Has anyone had any recent problems with dogs, and is it worth considering getting a rabies vaccinnation before I leave home?

Many thanks




Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
The so-called "dog problem" on the Camino is something that has been encouraged by some Camino books, notably Shirley MacLaine's "memoirs" of the Camino. The problem does not exist, certainly not on the Camino Frances - other than on a hot day you may occasionally have to walk around one when it's sound asleep in the middle of the path and doesn't even bother opening an eye to look at you! You will pass close to, or even through, farms and the dogs will bark at you, but in the main they are tied up. You'd be very unlucky to be attacked and bitten by a dog and, lets face it, this could happen anywhere in the world. Would you bother with a rabies injection if you were visiting any other country?

The only animal incidents I've had on the Camino Frances were with cats. One who mistakenly got locked into an albergue at night and kept jumping on me to open a window, and the other a kitten who insisted in following me and had to be repeatedly taken back home!

Don't worry about it.



no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
I estimate that there are three dogs per kilometer, 175,000 pilgrims, and 33 days in a pilgrimage along the Camino Frances. That is over 17 million dog bite opportunities, and I have heard of only one pilgrim being bitten. After he received about 17 stitches in the emergency room, the police returned him to the spot where he was bitten. They said they had to.

It is a country of rules!

There are dogs everywhere, but the juntas have been very good about keeping the dogs away from the pilgrims (or their money). No business owner would lose a customer because of a dog, so the ones on the loose are very friendly. Don't worry about the dogs.

There is a kennel just after Ventas de Naron, and you can listen to them bark twenty-four hours a day. If you need to worry, think about them all escaping as you walk by. :mrgreen:


Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
I know of no one who has had a problem with dogs. I have not.
I really don't think you need to be concerned.



Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Maybe I was having a bad day but I had to beat a dog with my staff to prevent it from biting me . ..

dogs are dogs are dogs .... as in anywhere in the world most are ok, some are bullies - easy to handle, but some dogs will bite. Carry a stick.


Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2006,9,11,12,13,14, 16, Aragones 2011,12,
VDLP 2011, 13, Lourdes 2012, Portuguese 2008, Madrid 2014, (2016)
I am afraid of dogs, having been attacked by a pit bull when I was in my 20's.
I was so afraid of these dog stories.

Someone gave me this advice:

If a dog starts toward you, barking, slowly bend over and pick up a rock.
He will run away.
It works!
I used it more than once on my first Camino, and it worked both times.

Last trip I saw NO dogs that were not friendly.
I really don't believe it's a problem.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
There was a big old slobbery dog outside a bar somewhere I can't remember, which if anything was too friendly. He was particularly attracted to some poor German woman, who fortunately found it hilarious.

Walking through Ciraqui at the end of April there was some kind of loud hailer announcement (I think it was a van encouraging people to vote in the elections). All the dogs in the town started howling like wolves, as if it was a voice from dog heaven. It made me laugh!

If you can put up with their singing and slobbering you'll be fine. And yes, no rabies in Spain, even if some of them look like they have it.

Buen Camino!


Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
I can also report no dog problems while walking thru France. Almost all the dogs I encountered were either leashed or fenced in. Just past Conques in 2010, when I had wandered off the track one mis-directed afternoon, my passing awakened a dog who had been peacefully sleeping in the bed of his master's pickup truck -- but I just kept walking and he finally quit following me on the outskirts of the hamlet.


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