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What About The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991?

What About The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991?

The Dangerous Dogs Act

Dangerous Dogs’ Act: This Act bans the breeding, sale and exchange of the following four types of dog:

Pit Bull Terrier


The Category ‘Pit Bull Terrier’ includes those known as American Staffordshire Terriers, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Irish Blue or Red Nose – also some kinds of American Bulldogs have been found to be Pit Bulls.

The origins of the Pit Bull are within the bulldog and a variety of terriers.  Due to a number of high profile human fatalities due to the Pit Bull, ‘Breed Specific Legislation’ has been enacted.  This includes the banning or restrictions of certain breeds in certain countries, and also flight restrictions etc.  The American Pit Bull was bred to combine the agility of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog.  These dogs were initially bred in the UK.  It is the American Pit Bull which is used in the majority of illegal dog fighting breeds

Japanese Tosa

Jap Tosa

 As the name suggests, the Tosa originated in Japan and is considered rare.  It was originally bred in Tosa – now known as Kochi – as a fighting dog and continues to this day.  The Japanese breed normally weighs between 36-54 kg.  It stands at 62-82 cm high at the withers (top of the back at the base of the neck).  Outside Japan, breeders have produced dogs weighing between 60-100 kg.

Dogo Argentino

dogo argentino

This dog is usually white with no markings.  It stands at about 62 cm at the withers (60 cm for females).  It was bred primarily from the extinct Cordoba Fighting Dog to reduce a less aggressive pack hunting dog.  The Cordoba was cross-bred with many dogs.  These include: Great Dane, Boxer, Spanish Mastiff, Old English Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Great Pyrenees, Pointer, Irish Wolfhound and Dogue de Bordeaux.  In those areas where dog fighting is acceptable, the Dogo is used due to its extreme aggression.

Fila Brasileiro

fila brasileiro

Male Brasileiros stand at 65-75 cm high at the withers, weighing at least 50 kg.  Although aggressive, this dog is not banned in certain countries from dog shows.  They are not disqualified for being aggressive to judges – who are advised not to touch – as aggression is inherent in their breed. They have no tolerance for strangers although apparently faithful to their family.

This breed is believed to have evolved from crossings of Mastiff, Bulldog and Bloodhound.  It was bred primarily to large plantations and cattle farms.

The Dangerous Dogs Act

The Act does not refer to ‘breed’ – more ‘type’ so includes cross-breeds.  The judgement about whether an individual dog is covered by the Act will be determined by an individual dog’s physical characteristics.  This is a judgement which will be made by a court.

According to DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), a dog is considered to be ‘dangerously out of control’ if it injures a person.  Furthermore if it behaves in a way that makes a person worried that it might injure them.  This applies everywhere the general public is allowed to go including private gardens.  And anywhere your dog goes where it is not supposed to be.

The Act applies if your dog is dangerously out of control in its own home or garden.  Then the police or anyone else who is worried about the dog being a risk could seek a control order.

An offence has been committed if your dog injures another person’s animal.  An offence has been committed if the owner of an animal reasonably believes they could be injured if they intervened to protect their animal from your dog.

If you do not keep your dog under control your dog could be destroyed and you could be banned from keeping a dog.

It isn’t what your dog DOES – it’s about what people think your dog ‘MIGHT DO’ – Be careful!

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