It is illegal to own a dog prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. If you are found to be in possession of one of these dogs you could face a fine or even a prison sentence. The police may also seize your dog if they think it is a banned type. Similarly some animals such as wolf hybrids and venomous snakes will require a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
If you have any concerns that an animal you are thinking of buying could be a banned type, PAAG’s advice is not to buy it and to report it to the relevant publisher’s customer services or helpline.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans ownership, breeding, sale and exchange and advertising for sale of four specified types of dogs. The dogs covered by the ban (under section 1 of the DDA) are:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Braziliero
The ban also extends to any crosses of the above dogs. Some advertisers may attempt to advertise the following descriptions of dogs within advertisement papers. It is the PAAG’s experience that the following descriptions may apply to prohibited breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 or animals requiring a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and it is an offence to advertise prohibited breeds. Banned types of dogs are sometimes advertised with the following names:
- American Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Am Staffs)
- Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier (ISBT)
- Irish Blue or Red Nose Staffordshire
- Red Nose Terrier
- American Bulldogs
- Wolf Hybrid
Or any crosses of same
The following terms should arouse suspicion, or suggest a dog fighting and/or illegal possession:
- Long legged
- Game Bred
- Pit Proven
- Red Nose
Whether a dog is a banned type depends on what the dog actually looks like, rather than the breed or name by which it is called. It is the characteristics of a dog which are most important in judging whether it is banned.
If a dog fits one of the descriptions, it may be treated as a banned type no matter what type or breed its parents were.
For more information please visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs online or contact Defra on 08459 33 55 77. For advice on specific cases, PAAG advises that you contact the Dog Legislation Officer at your local police department.