Romania managed to become famous worldwide thanks to its stray dog problem (among other things, of course). With the “fame” coming at least a couple decades ago, there are still a lot of people who think or worry that Romania might be a country where packs of stray dogs roam the streets and are ready to take over. So in this article we’re going to talk about the stray dog problem in Romania.
No matter if we’re talking about stray dogs in Bucharest, another major city or smaller towns, the situation is mostly the same: there are few to no stray dogs in most areas of each city. It is extremely, extremely rare to see a pack of dogs roaming around – I don’t remember seeing one in any city I’ve visited recently, but at the same time I don’t doubt the fact that there might still be areas in some cities where this might still be a problem.
But generally, you should no longer worry about being attacked by stray dogs in Romania.
Many measures have been taken along the years to combat the increasing numbers of strays in the country and most cities have dealt with the problem nicely. You can still see a stray dog here and there, usually dogs that are fed by either the homeless or people living in the apartment blocks nearby. Even fewer of the already few strays are actually dangerous: most of them are just miserable because they lack proper housing and care, but otherwise friendly.
If you remember, the family that moved to Brasov from the US told me in an interview that one of the things that bothered them the most were stray dogs. So they definitely exist in Brasov, just as they still do in small numbers in other cities. However, I don’t think that the family was ever attacked by a stray – most likely there was some barking involved between their dog and the dogs on the streets.
Because in most occasions, these stray dogs in Romania are not 100% homeless. Many of them have an owner, but are allowed to roam free. I remember when I was young, my family had a dog who spent most of the day outside: he was leaving the house in the morning and returning in the afternoon. He usually let us know by scratching the door to the yard until somebody left him in. However, this practice has generally died as well since dog catchers are more active in Romania than they were a couple decades ago.
It’s also worth noting that, for example, a Brazilian who spent a few months in Romania noted that he saw no stray dogs in Bucharest during his stay.
So in the end, most of the areas in Romanian cities are pretty safe when it comes to stray dogs. You will rarely see one and I doubt that there are many chances of seeing the packs that were famous a while ago. The very poor areas of a city – or its outskirts – are most likely to house a few, but even those are not aggressive.
However, as a safety measure, I recommend trying to keep the distance if you see a stray while in Romania: you never know when a friendly-looking one decides to start acting tough! Better be safe than sorry, even though I must say it again: there are big chances that you will see no stray dogs during a shorter stay in Romania.