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Pit Bull Ban



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Countries that Ban Pit Bulls 2024

A pit bull ban is a law or regulation that bans the ownership, breeding, and/or import of a specific breed of dog: the American Pit Bull Terrier, also known as an American Staffordshire Terrier (a name coined by the American Kennel Club), the Staffordshire Fighting Dog, Bull Baiter Dog, Yankee Terrier, Saint Francis Terriers, Old Family Dog (Ireland), Rebel Terrier, and most often, simply a pit bull.

Pit bull bans are a form of breed-specific legislation, which singles out a particular breed of animal for additional regulation, and are often considered controversial. Supporters of the breed claim that pit bull bans lack a scientific justification and cite data that shows the incidence of dog bites remains the same even after a ban (implying that any dog can bite, pit bull or not). In reply, pro-ban activists point out that pit bulls contributed to 66% of all dog-attack-related deaths in the US between 2005 and 2019 and challenge that many claims made in defense of pit bulls are inaccurate.

For their part, organizations including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) have come out against breed-specific bans. Instead, these groups maintain that a dog's upbringing and environment have a greater impact on canine behavior than any breed-specific tendencies and urge legislators to focus upon breed-neutral guidelines that would decrease attacks from all dogs regardless of breed.

Why are pit bulls banned?

Pit bulls have a reputation, which is passionately contested by advocates of the breed, as being both violent and unpredictable. Ranging in size from 18–21 inches (45–53 cm) tall and 35–60 pounds (15–27 kg) for males and 17–20 inches (43–50 cm) tall and 30–50 pounds (13–22 kg) for females, pit bulls are stocky and muscular, which makes them a formidable attacker. Moreover, pit bulls are known not only for their strength, but also for their tenacity and tendency to bite and hang on to a target, refusing to release their bite even if they are lifted off the ground and left hanging by their teeth.

Pit bulls are descended from a bulldog-terrier mix that was originally bred to fight chained bears or bulls in staged matches. When animal cruelty laws outlawed such entertainment in the 1800s, pit bulls became quite popular in dog-fighting circles. It also became a popular farm and hunting dog. Advocates of the breed claim that pit bulls' aggressiveness has been specifically bred over the generations to target other animals rather than humans—and that a dog that is not specifically trained to be an attack dog will not spontaneously become one.

Despite these arguments, public awareness that the pit bull was originally bred for fighting, and of the breed's ability to cause considerable harm when they do attack, can lead to "better safe than sorry" bans in the name of public safety. Pit bulls may also be banned in locations where legislators wish to reduce occurrences of illegal dog fighting.

Types of pit bull ban

Pit bull bans take many forms. Some countries ban pit bulls at a national level, while other countries leave it to regions such as states or provinces to make those decisions. Some countries ban pit bulls entirely, while others instead regulate specific aspects of pit bull ownership. For example, a country may rule that pit bulls must be muzzled any time they leave the home, may require prospective pit bull owners to obtain governmental permission to adopt the animal, or may ban the import or breeding of pit bulls (which would effectively phase out the breed within 15-20 years).

Countries with pit bull bans

Pit bull bans can occur on a national, regional (state, province, etc.), or municipal level. They can also change rapidly, especially at the municipal level. For example, pit bull advocates point to at least 73 US towns and cities that have rescinded pit bull bans between 2018 and 2022. As such, any list of countries where pit bulls are banned or regulated should be considered a "living" document, and should be treated as a general guideline rather than a definitive authority.

The table below was compiled from multiple sources, no two of which offered the same list of countries where pit bulls are banned. Any readers seeking to visit or move to another country with their pit bull is strongly advised to consult local authorities at the destination to confirm the legality of pit bulls in that specific location.

Sources differ significantly on the existence and severity of pit bull bans. Bans may occur at the national, regional, or local level and may change rapidly. Those seeking to travel or move with a pit bull or related breed are advised to confirm pit bull legality with the destination's local authorities before departing.

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Pit Bull Ban
Pet Helpful
AustraliaVaries by regionBannedHeavily RestrictedRestricted
AustriaVaries by region
BelarusBannedBannedRestricted 2012
BelgiumVaries by region
BermudaBannedRestrictedBannedBanned 2003
BrazilVaries by regionBanned
CanadaVaries by regionVaries by regionVaries by regionVaries by region
ChinaVaries by region
DenmarkBannedBannedBannedBanned 2011
EcuadorBannedBannedBannedBanned 2009
FranceBannedBannedRestrictedBanned 1999
GermanyVaries by regionRestrictedRestricted
Hong KongBannedBanned
IrelandBannedBannedRestrictedRestricted 1998
IsraelBannedBannedBannedBanned 2004
ItalyBannedBannedRestricted 2009
JapanVaries by region
MaltaBannedBannedRestrictedBanned 1998
New ZealandBannedBannedRestrictedBanned 2003
NorwayBannedBannedBannedBanned 2004
PolandBannedRestrictedBanned 2001
Puerto RicoBannedBannedBanned 1998
RomaniaBannedBannedRestrictedBanned 2002
RussiaBannedRestrictedRestricted 2011
Saudi ArabiaBanned
SingaporeBannedBannedRestrictedBanned 1991
SpainBannedBannedRestrictedRestricted 2002
SwitzerlandBannedBannedVaries by regionBanned 2010
TaiwanHeavily Restricted
Trinidad and TobagoBanned
TurkeyBannedRestrictedBannedBanned 2004
UkraineBannedBannedRestrictedRestricted 1998
United Arab EmiratesBannedBannedBanned
United KingdomBannedBannedHeavily RestrictedBanned 1991 (except in Northern Ireland)
United StatesVaries by regionVaries by regionVaries by region
VenezuelaBannedBannedBannedBanned 2014
showing: 47 rows

How many countries ban pit bulls?

A total of 47 countries have a restriction, a partial or a complete ban on pit bulls.

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