What are dangerous dogs?
There are certain dogs, bred for fighting, that the law specifies as dangerous. There are 4 types of dangerous dog, which are prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991 as amended in 1997). The dangerous dog types are: Pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. Both their strength and their temperament makes them unsuitable for keeping as pets. It is illegal to keep one of these banned breeds.
Virtually all dogs have the potential to be dangerous, especially around very small children, and dogs should always be supervised.
Advice and support
If you have one of the banned breeds it may still be possible to for you to keep the dog subject to certain restrictions;
- The police have a team of experts who can assess and identify the dangerous breeds. If you're not sure whether your dog is one of the listed breeds, contact us for assistance.
- While it is an offence to own a dangerous dog, if the dog attacks someone the offence becomes much more serious and carries far greater penalties.
- All dogs should be in the charge of people capable of handling them. For large, powerful dogs, whether or not they are listed as dangerous, this should always be an adult. It is illegal to allow any dog to be out of control in a public place. We put the safety of the public first, and have the right to seize any dog that we believe is a threat to the owner, their family or anyone else.
- All organised dog fighting is both cruel and illegal. If you suspect that dog fighting is taking place, contact either the police or an animal welfare organisation such as the RSPCA.
How to report a dangerous, out of control or stray dog
If you see a dog out of control, whether or not it is one of the dangerous dog breeds, dial 999. For advice on whether your dog is one of the listed breeds, or to report a suspicious dog belonging to someone else, call us on 101 or ring Crimestoppers to make the report anonymously. Stray dogs should be reported to your local dog warden service.