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Dangerous dogs

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, it's illegal to own certain types of dog. These are the:

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

It's against the law to:

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

Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.

You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) for having a banned dog against the law. The dog may also be destroyed ('put down').

Any dog which is out of control in any public space or on private land, which presents a serious risk to public safety or makes a person fear they will be attacked, is legally considered to be a dangerous dog.

If a dog behaves aggressively towards, or attacks, a person gaining unlawful access to private property (the actual building only, not the garden or grounds), this is not an offence.

How to report a dangerous dog

If you encounter a dog you believe to be dangerous, and the dog is causing an immediate threat to public safety, call the police on 999.

If it's not an emergency, but you want to report your concerns about a dangerous dog, contact the police on the non-emergency number, 101.

If you believe you own one of the banned types of dog, or know the whereabouts of one of those types of dog, contact the police on 01642 326326.

To report a stray dog, please go to the stray dog page. The dog warden service deals with reports of stray dogs.