There are four dog breeds that are illegal to own in the UK. If you own one of the four illegal dogs, there may be consequences.
Owning one of these dogs can cause the police to take the animal away from you even if it is not acting dangerously and there have been no complaints about it. Owning one is a misdemeanor punishable by an unlimited fine and up to six months in jail.
It should be remembered that whether your dog is a prohibited breed will be determined by an expert based on its appearance. If a police or council expert finds your pet matches most of the characteristics of a pit bull terrier, for example, it may be considered a prohibited breed.
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What dog breeds are banned in the UK?
Prohibited dog breeds are:
- pit bull terrier
- japanese tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brazil
In addition to owning one of these dogs, it is also illegal to sell, give up, give away, or breed them. The police do not need a warrant to seize your dog if it is in a public place or is in your home with an unrelated warrant.
If your dog is seized, an expert will then judge – by its appearance – whether it is a prohibited breed. It will then either be returned to you or kept in a kennel by the police before a court hearing, where the onus is on the owner to prove that the dog is not a banned breed.
Certain dogs of prohibited breeds may be issued an exemption certificate if they are deemed not dangerous to the public, and added to the list of exempt dogs. In these cases, the owner must take responsibility for the dog being microchipped, muzzled when out in public, and kept in a safe place.
There are also a number of other conditions attached to exempt dog owners. Dogs deemed dangerous by a court and not on the exempt list will be put down.