Renfrewshire Council

Dangerous and illegal dogs

The Government has laws in place to stop the breeding and trading of dangerous dogs.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is the most important and prohibits certain types of dogs.

More detailed information on dangerous dogs can be found by following the link below. It provides information on which dogs are banned, what might happen to your dog and the Index of Exempted Dogs.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans the ownership, breeding, sale and exchange, and advertising for sale of the following 'types' of fighting dogs:

  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

The Act deliberately uses the word 'type' as the law does not only apply to 'pure' breeds. Types are defined by the physical and behavioural characteristics of the prohibited dog.

An assessment of the physical characteristics of a dog is made by a court on a case-by-case basis. The leaflet also explains exemptions to the Act.

Details of the maximum penalty for illegal possession of a prohibited dog can be found on the GOV.UK's page 'Controlling your dog in public'.

If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place or injures any person while out of control, then its owner is guilty of an aggravated offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

A person found guilty of an offence may face imprisonment or a fine, and the courts may disqualify the offender from having custody of a dog for any period.