Animals in Residential Zones

Kirkland Zoning Code has rules related to owning animals.  The rules provide detailed information about lot size requirements, proper husbandry, setbacks, and specific zoning regulations. This page lists basic guidelines that will help residents determine the number and type of animals allowed.  For complete regulations, visit section KZC 115.20 of the Kirkland Zoning Code

Common Household Pets (Dogs, Cats, Birds, etc.)

These are commonly owned pets allowed in residential zones of any density. 

  • A maximum of three (3) dogs, or three (3) cats, or a combination of four (4) total dogs and cats are allowed per property.
  • Up to a total of four (4) rabbits per property.
  • Other small household pets such as birds, fish, or hamsters have no maximum amount.

Rules to know:

  • Dogs and cats need to be licensed, but rabbits do not.   Get your pet license here
  • Pets can live outdoors or indoors, but pens and enclosures (kennels) must be at least 5 feet away from property lines.
  • Dogs, cats, and rabbits can be housed indoors or outdoors.

“What if I want more than 3-4 dogs, cats, or rabbits?”Common household pets exceeding the permitted amount of 3-4 will be regulated as small domestic animals (see KZC 115.20). To have more than 3-4 cats, dogs, or rabbits, your lot must be larger than 35,000 square feet. The maximum number of small domestic animals you can have is 20 per 35,000 square feet of lot area. You can have one more per each additional 500 square feet. Other small domestic animals will be approved on a case by case basis.


A property may have up to 2 beehives if the lot is between 7,200 and 15,000 square feet. Lots between 15,000 and 35,000 square feet, may have a maximum of 5 hives. Lots larger than 35,000 square feet may have a maximum of 15 hives. 

To find out your lot size, visit our online mapping portal.

Rules to know:

  • Colonies must be registered with the WA State Department of Agriculture
  • Hives must be placed 25 feet away from every property line.
  • Colonies must reside in moveable frame hives, there must be adequate space to prevent swarming, colonies must be requeened following swarming or aggressive behavior, and bees living in trees or abandoned, or diseased bees constitute a public nuisance.


Small Domestic Animals (Chicken, Fowl)

If you live in a low-density zone, you may have up to three chickens or other fowl on your property. If your lot size is greater than 5,000 square feet, you can have an additional chicken with every added 1,000 square feet of lot size. The maximum number of chickens for large lots is 20.

The following zones are low density: RS 35; RSX 35; RS 12.5; RSX 12.5; RS 8.5; RSX 8.5; RSA 8; RS 7.2; RSX 7.2; RS 6.3; RSA 6; RS 5.0; RSX 5.0; RSA 4; RSA 1; PLA 3C; PLA 6E; PLA 16; WD II.

To find out your zoning or lot size, visit our online mapping portal.

Rules to know:

  • Chickens and Fowl are prohibited in Multifamily Zones
  • Roosters are not allowed. 
  • Mobile Chicken tractors can be anywhere within a fenced yard, other pet structures must be located 5 feet from any property line, and structures larger than 100 square feet must be 40 feet from each property line.
  • Fowl may roam your yard, but they must be fenced in to prevent them from escaping the property.


Two horses are allowed if:

  • your property is located in the RS 35 or RSX 35 zones and within the Bridle Trails neighborhood;
  • if your lot is located in residential lots of a PLA 16 zone and part of a recorded master plan; or
  • if your lot is approved by the City for horses.

For lots in the RS 35, or RSX 35 zones within the Bridle Trails Neighborhood north and northeast of Bridle Trails State Park or in the PLA 16 zone and not part of recorded master plan, two additional horses are allowed based on lot size and additional paddock area subject to the following:

  • the property is greater than 35,000 square feet; and
  • an additional 3,000 square feet of paddock area is available for each additional horse.

To find out your zoning or lot size, visit our online mapping portal.

Rules to know:

  • Required Land Use Permit required for lots less than 35,000 square feet.
  • Check Kirkland Zoning Code for specific paddock size, setbacks, and pervious surface requirements.
  • Horses must be provided a suitable and well-maintained barn 


Farm Animals (Pigs, Goats, Sheep, Cows, etc.)

Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and other grazing or foraging animals are regulated as large domestic animals. There is a required review process for lots smaller than 35,000 square feet. You can have 2 animals per 35,000 square feet of lot area, and one more per every additional 17,500 square feet of lot area. 

To find out your zoning or lot size, visit our online mapping portal.

Rules to know:

  • Applicants must provide a suitable barn or pen to house the animals.
  • Barns must not exceed 1,200 square feet and must be located at least 40 feet from each property line.
  • Roaming and grazing areas must be 20 feet from each property line