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Dangerous Dogs

What are dangerous dogs?

Any dog has the potential to be dangerous, especially around very small children, and dogs should always be supervised.

In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • XL Bully

It’s also against the law to:

  • sell a banned dog
  • abandon a banned dog
  • give away a banned dog
  • breed from a banned dog

You can find more information about banned dogs.

Advice and support

If you have one of the banned breeds it may still be possible for you to keep the dog subject to certain restrictions. We have experts, Dog Licensing Officers (DLOs), who can assess and identify prohibited dogs. If you're not sure whether your dog is one of the listed types, 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.

Changes to the law

Since May 2014 the law has been extended to make it an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in all places, including inside the dog owner’s home – protecting people such as postal workers, health professionals and children.

It is also now a specific offence to allow your dog to attack an assistance dog.

Owners of dogs who attack can expect:
• up to 14 years imprisonment if a person dies as a result of a dog attack;
• five years imprisonment if a person is injured by a dog attack;
• three years imprisonment if an assistance dog is either killed or injured.

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 types, 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.

Council Dog Wardens