10 Pets That Are Technically Not Allowed in HDB Flats (Includes Non-HDB Approved Dogs)


Last Updated on 2023-03-28 , 9:05 am

Other than non-HDB approved dogs like golden retrievers, what other animals are “technically” not allowed in HDB flats?

The reason why we said technically is that, well, some people still keep them. Secretly lah.

If you stay in an HDB flat, there are some animals that you aren’t allowed to keep. The first one might come as a shock to many.

1. Cats

According to the Housing & Development Board (HDB), cats are not allowed in flats.

Yeah, I hear you, cat-lovers. But here’s the reason that was given: Cats are generally difficult to contain within a flat.

Image: Viacheslav Rubel / Shutterstock.com

These free-spirited kiddos like to roam around aimlessly, and when they do, they “shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas”. They also make caterwauling sounds (shrill, howl or wail) that might disturb the neighbours.

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Though I’m not a cat-lover, I believe HDB can do a better job to deter people from keeping cats. While dogs aren’t that free-spirited, they do “shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas” too. Sometimes they bark, snarl or growl at people as well.

2. Golden Retrievers (Non-HDB Approved Dogs)

Did you know that you’re only allowed to keep 1 doggo in your flat? Go against this regulation and you might need to pay a maximum fine of $4,000.

With that said, there is a list of approved breeds and golden retrievers are not included.

Theoretically speaking, HDB approved dogs should stand at maximum 40cm at the shoulders and weigh 10kg or less. But there have been some exceptions. Under Project Adore in September 2015, residents can adopt a mixed breed dog up to 50cm tall, weighing up to 15kg from a participating shelter.


There have been successful cases though, like this person who wrote a lengthy letter to HDB on keeping a golden retriever. You can try your luck?

3. Siberian Huskies (Non-HDB Approved Dogs)

They typically measure up to 53.5 to 58.5 cm, weighing at 16 to 27 kg, far from the rule of 40cm and 10kg or less. This is very sad news for husky lovers but read into the breed and you will know why they are not HDB approved.

Siberian Huskies need a couple of hours of vigorous exercise every day. If not given, they might turn destructive so the warning sign is up. They too need sufficient shade and air conditioning, more high maintenance than I am.

4. Chow Chow (Non-HDB Approved Dogs)

The Chow Chow stands 43 to 56 cm tall and weighs between 20.5 and 38.5 kg, one heavy lad.

Similar to a Siberian Husky, the Chow Chow has a low tolerance to heat and prefers cooler weather. I can understand, just look at that fur, like it’s wearing 3 layers of extra fur.

Fun fact: Most of them suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Moving on, let’s look at some wild animals which are NOT allowed to be kept as pets, regardless of it being a HDB flat or not.

5. Bearded dragons

“You mean there are people keeping dragons at home?”

Yup, 24-year-old undergraduate Nina has kept this blotchy orange beast named ‘Fatty’ that belongs to a species of lizards for 3 years. One cool fact: the underside of its throat turns black when it is stressed.

Under the local law, Nina could face a fine of $1,000 and have it confiscated.


According to the Wild Animals and Birds Act, it is illegal to keep, trap or kill wild animals such as Fatty without a license.

Worse still, if the animal is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), offenders without a CITES permit can be fined up to $50,000 per specimen (up to $500,000 in total), and/or be jailed for up to 2 years.

6. Hedgehogs

Aren’t they cute? This seemingly harmless animal is not just non-HDB approved but not allowed to be kept as pets at all.

Just last September, a 33-year-old man was fined S$6,600 for the possession and keeping of illegal wildlife – including a hedgehog.

According to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), “Wild animals are not suitable pets as they may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape into our dense urban environment. In addition, wild animals that are non-native to Singapore may also be a threat to our biodiversity if released into the environment.”

7. Star tortoises

Star tortoises are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), for which Singapore is a signatory.


So I bet this 49-year-old Singaporean man who was caught with a total of 22 star tortoises at the Woodlands Checkpoint in June 2016 had a hard time with the law.

As mentioned earlier, if the animal is protected by CITES, offenders found without a CITES permit can be fined up to $50,000 per specimen (up to $500,000 in total), and/or be jailed for up to 2 years.

8. Sugar Glider Singapore

Now, this is not a common name for many. Here’s how it looks like:

Image: bluedog studio / Shutterstock.com

You will be surprised to know that a Singaporean father-and-son pair tried smuggling 3 sugar gliders into Singapore in August 2015 but to no avail. The duo was sentenced to 3 and 2 months’ jail respectively in October that same year.

In other words, no sugar glider in Singapore even if they look too cute to ignore.


9. Snakes

Now, don’t look at me like that. There are humans who are obsessed with snakes as pets.

You might want to question that dubious looking box your child keeps now. Just saying. 

10. Crocodilian Reptiles

And as if snakes weren’t frightful enough, there are people who keep crocodiles as pets. Here’s Moses’ baby spectacled caiman that he bought for $800.

The spectacled caiman (Caiman Crocodilus), also known as the white caiman or common caiman, is a crocodilian reptile found in much of Central and South America.

Caimans eat a variety of invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans. Larger caimans eat fish and water snails. And you might not like this: Older animals are capable of taking larger preys like wild pigs.

Damn, reminds me of the Demogorgon who ate Dustin’s cat. Ewww.

So there you go, animals besides non-HDB approved dogs that cannot be kept in an HDB flat.

Anyway, the penalty for keeping an illegal animal can be severe. You can contact AVA at 6805 2992 if you are not sure what animals can be kept as pets.


Also, if you have not licensed your dog, do get it done soonest possible.

You will NOT be penalized if you just found out about the regulation and is in the process of applying for one. But, in the event where AVA inspectors discover that you are keeping an unlicensed dog, you will be issued a composition fine.

Finally, I urge you to leave our wild animals where they’re supposed to be. Ciao!