Dog breeds

Four dog breeds that are illegal to own in the UK and why

But despite this, there are a few breeds that you are currently not allowed to own in the UK.

If you’re considering getting a pooch, make sure you don’t buy one that might get you in trouble.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Pit bull terriers are banned in the UK. Photo: RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images

What dog breeds are banned in the UK?

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prohibits the possession, breeding or sale of a number of types of dogs.

It was introduced following several attacks in 1991.

The following four breeds have been banned:

The Pit Bull Terrier and Japanese Tosa breeds are explicitly mentioned in the law, while the Secretary of State added the latter two in 1991.

Whether your dog is a forbidden type depends on its appearance, rather than its breed or name.

If your dog matches many of the characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a prohibited type.

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Is it just illegal to own a forbidden dog?

It is also prohibited by law to:

– breed of a prohibited dog

What happens if you have a prohibited dog?

If you have a forbidden dog, the police or town hall dog guard can remove it and keep it, even if:

he does not act dangerously

there were no complaints

The police may need permission from a court to do so.

However if your dog is in:

– a public place, the police do not need a warrant

– a private place, the police must obtain a warrant

– a private place and the police have a warrant for something else (like a drug search), they can seize your dog

A police or council dog expert will judge what type of dog you have and whether it is (or could be) a danger to the public. Your dog will then be either:

– kept in kennels while police (or council) take court action

You are not allowed to visit your dog while you wait for the court decision.

Are there any circumstances where you can keep a forbidden dog?

If your dog is banned but the court thinks he is not a danger to the public, they can put him on the IED and let you keep him.

An exemption certificate will be given to you. This is valid for the life of the dog.

– kept on a leash and muzzled at all times in public

– kept in a safe place so that it cannot escape

– take out insurance against your dog injuring other people

– present the exemption certificate at the request of a police officer or council dog guard, either immediately or within 5 days

– inform the IED if you change your address or if your dog dies