Dangerous and restricted breed dogs

Restricted breed dogs

Which dogs are restricted breed dogs?

A ‘restricted breed dog’ is defined as a breed whose importation into Australia is prohibited under the Commonwealth Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

The following dogs are restricted breed dogs:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier (or Pit Bull Terrier)
  • Dogo Argentino (Argentinian fighting dog)
  • Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian fighting dog)
  • Japanese Tosa, and
  • Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario).

Of these, the Pit Bull Terrier and the Perro de Presa Canario are the only breeds currently known to exist in Australia. Importantly, a restricted breed dog can include any dog of a mixed breed that visibly contains any of the above prohibited breeds.

You can find out more about restricted breed dogs in Victoria on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Restricted breed dog laws

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 states that the only restricted breed dogs that can be kept or registered are those that were:

  • in Victoria before 1 September 2010, and
  • registered with a Council (as any breed) before 30 September 2011.

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 is State legislation that is implemented by municipal Councils. Victorian Councils have the right to seize unregistered restricted breed dogs.

If you own a restricted breed dog, you must comply with a range of requirements, including registeringdesexingmicrochipping and identifying your dog. Restricted breed dogs must be muzzled and leashed when they are exercised off your property.

There is more information about owning a restricted breed dog and the related laws and penalites on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Dangerous dogs

A dog that has been trained to attack or bite any person or any thing that is attached to or worn by a person, is automatically a dangerous dog under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

There are specific laws and regulations related to these types of dogs. For more information about dangerous dogs, see Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Menacing dogs

A Council in Victoria may declare a dog to be a menacing dog if the dog causes a non-serious bite injury to a person or animal. This is in addition to the existing power to declare a dog to be menacing if it rushes at or chases a person.

There are specific laws and regulations related to these types of dogs. For more information about menacing dogs, see Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Guard dogs

A guard dog that is kept for the purpose of guarding non-residential premises is considered a dangerous dog under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.

There are specific laws and regulations related to these types of dogs. For more information about guard dogs, see Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Report a dangerous or restricted breed dog

If you want to report a suspected unregistered restricted breed dog or a registered restricted breed dog you believe is not being kept according to the legal requirements, contact Council or call the Government hotline 1300 101 080.

An authorised Council officer will investigate.

Council's website also has information about reporting dog attacks.