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Dangerous dogs

The government has laws in place to stop the breeding and trading of dangerous dogs. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is the most important and prohibits certain types of dogs.

Dogs that are banned in the UK

More detailed information on dangerous dogs can be found by following the link below.  It provides informationon which dogs are banned, what might happen to your dog, and on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Types of banned dogs

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans the ownership, breeding, sale and exchange, and advertising for sale of the following ‘types’ of fighting dogs:

  • pit bull terriers
  • the Japanese Tosa
  • the Dogo Argentino
  • the Fila Brasileiro

The Act deliberately uses the word ‘type’ as the law does not only apply to ‘pure’ breeds. Types are defined by the physical and behavioural characteristics of the prohibited dog.

Descriptions of the main characteristics of the four prohibited dogs are given by Defra in its leaflet ‘Types of dog prohibited in Great Britain’. An assessment of the physical characteristics of a dog is made by a court on a case-by-case basis. The leaflet also explains exemptions to the Act.

The maximum penalty for illegal possession of a prohibited dog is a fine of £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

Dogs out of control in a public place

If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place or injures any person while out of control, then its owner is guilty of an aggravated offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

A person found guilty of an offence may face imprisonment or a fine, and the courts may disqualify the offender from having custody of a dog for any period.

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