Dog Breeds Forbidden by the Breed Specific Legislation

Dog Breeds Forbidden by the Breed Specific Legislation

Author WDF Staff


There weren’t many laws that sparked such outrage among dog owners as the Breed Specific Legislation. This law strictly forbids, conditions, or prevents ownership of certain dog breeds. The base upon which these laws have been made official is that these breeds are dangerous and vicious. There is no denying that the dogs on this list can be dangerous, but only if they are not raised correctly or in the wrong hands.

The Breed Specific Legislation is very controversial, and many established and well-known dog breeds have been forbidden. Because of strong opposition this legislation came across, 21 States passed specific laws blocking and preventing BSL from being enforced. Here are the dog breeds whose ownership is forbidden and otherwise regulated by the Breed Specific Legislation.

1. American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is probably one of the most controversial, if not the most controversial, dog breed in the world. There are those of us that love this breed and those that hate it and think these dogs should not be allowed as pets. No matter which side of the debate you are on, you should know there are heavy Pit Bull ownership restrictions in many states.

two pit bulls

These dogs can be wonderful pets, but they are still very powerful. The Pit Bull bite is undoubtedly more dangerous than a Chihuahua bite. If these dogs ever get in a tight spot, they can inflict a lot of damage. Pit Bulls are forbidden under the Breed Specific Legislation in many states and cities. Some of them are Colorado, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Washington. Make sure you check specific cities and counties because the local governments will change and adapt their laws.

If you want to know more about the Pit Bull Terrier’s temperament, check out this article - The temperament of a Pit Bull.

2. Presa Canario

This is not a very well-known breed in the US. It is good to know that these are massive, powerful, scary dogs with a bloody history. They were used for dog fighting in the past few centuries, and they are the descendants of the infamous Cordoba Fighting Dog.

adult presa canario laying

Presa Canario is a large mastiff-type dog. They were used for hunting and protection in the Canary Islands and all across Spain. To this day, these dogs are used in the fighting pits, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering their power and bravery. If you are interested in getting one of these dogs, it would be wise to check your local Breed Specific Legislation laws and restrictions.

3. American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier, or Amstaff, is closely related to the Pit Bull. In fact, until a few decades ago, they were considered the same breed. However, Pit Bulls had a negative image issue, and 20-century breeders and Amstaff owners wanted to distance themselves from the bloody Pit Bull history. They registered American Staffordshire Terriers as a separate breed and started their own studbooks.

amstaff dog

The idea behind that move was to influence the further development of the Amstaff. Pit Bull breeders were often focusing on the physical performance and aggression in their dogs. Amstaff breeders wanted to keep the “Pit Bull” appearance, but they only bred dogs with milder and friendlier characters. They wanted to preserve the breed by shifting their focus on being personal protectors and family pets.

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the Amstaff and Pit Bull’s British cousin. These breeds share the same ancestor - the Old English Bulldog. The popular Staffie most likely came to life by crossing the Old English Bulldog with the Manchester Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a bloody history. Its creation happened because dog owners wanted to create a faster, feistier fighting dog.

staffordshire terrier

These dogs are a lot smaller than their American cousins, but they are very agile and strong for their size. They share somewhat negative publicity, although Staffies have a lot fewer reported incidents than the Pit Bull. In fact, Staffies are adored by their owners, and they are among 100 of the most popular dog breeds in the US.

5. Dogo Argentino

Some counties and states are restricting the ownership of Dogo Argentino dogs. The Dogo is a mastiff-type dog that could be easily mistaken for a Pit Bull. Those that are not familiar with the breeds could easily mistake these two breeds because they share some characteristics. Both breeds have traditionally cropped ears. They are large, powerful, and very muscular.

dogo argentino laying

Those that are familiar with the breed can clearly differentiate these breeds. Dogos are all-white, and they are significantly taller than the Pit Bull Terriers. These dogs need capable owners that will know how to handle a dominant and powerful breed such as Dogo Argentino. Make sure you check your local and state laws before getting this dog.

6. Tosa Inu

The Tosa Inu is a large Japanese dog breed traditionally used for dog fights. Some say this is the best fighting dog in the world. They were bred specifically for fighting, and their whole development was aimed at perfecting their fighting skills. They are naturally dog-aggressive, and they rarely tolerate other dogs’ company, especially if they are of the same sex.

tosa dog laying

This large, mastiff-type dog is muscular and dominant. It takes a knowledgeable owner to keep these dogs in line. Breed Specific Legislation in the US is not the only law aimed at controlling the ownership of these dogs. Tosas are forbidden in many countries, including Singapur, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malta, Romania, and other countries.

7. Crossbreeds and hybrids

A popular way to “fool” various laws was to register a dog as a mix or crossbreed. Technically, the dog would not be covered under the BSL since it is not a pureblooded Pit Bull or any other regulated breed. Owners started reporting their dogs as crossbreeds so they can illegally keep them. However, some counties and cities decided to end it, and they have included a part that defines “Pit Bull-type dogs.”

wolfdog hybrid

That means that all dogs that have common characteristics with the Pittie are restricted or forbidden. Some counties even banned breeds like Cane Corso or Rottweiler because they are similar to the Pittie. Another thing that is heavily regulated or even forbidden is wolf-hybrids. Domestic dogs can be crossed with wolves. Some breeds like the Saarloos Wolfdogs or the Blue Bay Shepherd were created by crossing their ancestors directly with wolves.

Before you decide to get a breed that might be on this list, make sure you checked your local laws. You don’t want to end up with a dog only to have it be taken away because you haven’t prepared properly.

World Dog Finder team

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