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Irish banned / restricted breeds of dogs

“What breeds of dogs are banned in Ireland ?” is a support question that comes up quite often. With reports of increased frequency of dog attacks, biting incidents and even fatal cases, it’s something on the minds of people about dangerous dogs, should they be muzzled and what breeds are on this list. This article is not about how effective these banned breedings lists are, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe’s has a report that may shed some light into this topic here.

Note: Technically there aren’t any banned breeds of dogs, rather there is a list of restricted dog breeds (RDB).  As with most things, the terminology you use is important.

There are certain extra rules that owners of dogs that are on the restricted list need to adhered to that we’ve listed here.

Note: No matter the breed all dogs need to be under “effectual control” as per the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. While the precise definition isn’t in the law, it can be argued that this means that the owner is able to easily control the dog, that it will return when called, and now allowed to roam unsupervised.

Rules for restricted breeds in Ireland

This law is the The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 442 of 1998). The rules state (but we encourage all dog owners to read the statue themselves):

  • These dogs lists need to be muzzled in public.
  • These dogs lists must be on a short, less than 2 meters (6.5 feet), lead. The leash must be ‘sufficiently strong’ or it needs to be a chain.
  • Dogs must wear a collar at all times with the owners information on it. This information should include owners name & address.
  • These dogs can only be led by people over the age of 16
  • Certain exemptions exists. See the exemptions list below.
German shepherd in a muzzle lying on the grass

Restricted dog breeds in Ireland

  1. American Pit Bull Terrier
  2. English Bull Terrier
  3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  4. Bull Mastiff
  5. Dobermann Pinscher
  6. Rottweiler
  7. German Shepherd (Alsatian)
  8. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  9. Japanese Akita
  10. Japanese Tosa
  11. Ban dog – a so called “ban-dog” is a cross or mixture of any of the above breeds mentioned or any strain of the above dogs listed.

Breeds under consideration of being restricted

As of December 2022 the Presa Canario breed is now under consideration be being added to this list.

Note: If your dog’s breed is on this list, or if they are a mix with one of these breeds mentioned, they are considered to be on the restricted list.

Banned Breeds in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has different rules, and these are actually banned, as opposed to in the Republic of Ireland being restricted. There are four breeds of dogs that are banned in Northern Ireland:

  1. Pit Bull terrier
  2. Japanese Tosa, which is known in Japan as being bred a fighting dog. It is quite a rare breed.
  3. Dogo Argentino
  4. Fila Brasileiro, or Brazilian Mastiff

Important: In the North, it is illegal to breed, sell, offer for sale, or give away a dog of a banned type.

There are different rules about keeping a banned dog in Northern Ireland, these include

  • The dog has to be neutered
  • You have to hold an insurance policy for the dog
  • Dog has to be leashed and muzzled when in public.
  • When not in public it has to be housed in a secure location
  • Dog is available to the council’s dog warden to be inspected
  • You have to inform the council if you move or the dog dies

Source : https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/banned-breeds-dogs-northern-ireland

Are Pitbulls banned / restricted?

Often we get asked about Pitbull breeds, and if they are banned / restricted. The confusion comes from the fact that Pitbulls are not one particular breed, but generally refer to one of the following 5 breeds, we have marked it below if they are on the official restricted list.

1American Bully / Pocket BullyYes
2American Pit Bull TerrierYes
3American Staffordshire TerrierYes
4Staffordshire Bull TerrierYes
5American BulldogNo
“Pitbull” type dogs list

Note: if your dog has any aggression or snapping issues, and it’s not on the restricted list, it’s still a good idea to keep it on a tight leash and muzzled.

Are American Bullys / Pocket Bullys banned / restricted?

A Pocket Bully or American Bully is a hybrid dog that is bred from an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Patterdale Terrier. As the American Pit Bull Terrier is on the restricted dogs list, and a Pocket Bully is a mix of this breed, it in turn, it would be classed as a “Ban Dog” and would be in-turn on the restricted list.  

Other banned dogs

Around the country, local housing authorities or private apartments buildings may ban or limit certain dogs being kept. Some apartments limit dogs based on weight, or number of dogs per property. Similar rules and guidelines may exist for breeding dogs in council housing or other properties. Before getting a dog, double check your lease agreement to make sure your landlord allows one, it can save a lot of hassle and heartache down the road.

In 2007 Dublin City council banned the following breeds:

  1. American Pit Bull Terrier
  2. Bull Mastiff
  3. Doberman Pinscher
  4. English Bull Terrier
  5. German Shepherd (Alsatian)
  6. Japanese Akita
  7. Japanese Tosa
  8. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Source https://councilmeetings.dublincity.ie/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=23736 These dogs are not allowed to be kept on the property or even enter the housing estate.

Similar breeds like American Akitas, while are not on the list, are also likely to be restricted. American Akitas are larger than their Japanese counterparts, and hence are likely to fall into the category. Some breeds have similar names, like the Japanese Akita can also be called an Akita Inu and would most likely still fall in the restricted category. When in doubt you can ask at your local Garda station about your breed or your vet for guidance.

Exceptions & exemptions to this act

Some exceptions exist to The Control of Dogs Regulations, and are outlined in the law. Most of these exceptions pertain to law enforcement, border protection or other essential services. The exceptions to these rules include:

  • Dogs kept by Garda Síochana / the Defence Forces,
  • Dogs kept by the Dublin Port / Docks Board Harbour Police / any Airport
  • Police / Fire Service at a State Airport.
  • Dogs kept by the Central Fisheries Board or a Regional Fisheries Board,
  • Dogs kept by the Customs and Excise service of the Revenue Commissioners,
  • Dogs properly used in the search and rescue of a missing person.

Updated on May 17, 2023

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  1. Is a mastiff canaria and a x between beagle and mastiff required to wear muzzles in public including a fenced in dog park?

  2. Any cross with a Bull Mastiff is a BAN dognubder the rules and the rules apply including a muzzle in public.

  3. Can you be more clear about Mastiff breeds always understood and mastiff x needs to be muzzled.

  4. I have a Belgian Malinois breed dog. This kind of breed is also a banned dog in Ireland. Belgian Malinois is not listed in the banned list. Belgian Malinois is separate from GSD

  5. Does it specify how old the dog can be before wearing a muzzle. I have a german shepherd puppy and she’s 5 months does she have to wear a muzzle?

  6. That means that the old family red nose “AN IRISH DOG!!!!!” Is banned?

  7. So a staffordshire bull terrier should be muzzled when outside yes?

  8. What if a have a very mixed dog of multiple breads that kind of looks like buly breed

  9. I believe if it has any of the banned breeds then it needs to be classified as a ban dog and needs to be treated accordingly.

  10. The law says that it has to be muzzled when outdoors. It’s also a good idea to get your puppy used to muzzles from a young age.

  11. I am moving to Ireland and I own an American bully, can I bring her???

  12. If I have a small domberman puppy that is 5 months dose it still need a muzzle , if it does then it’s just stupid . What harm can it do ?

  13. This law is absurd. Any dog will bite and statistically Labrador retrievers nite the most often. Absolute hysteria. My GSD is the most gentle and stable pet I’ve ever had in my life. My pit bull mix was the most lovable and lazy beast to ever live. I’m going blind from rolling my eyes

  14. Hi

    Can I travel through Ireland with a Rottweiler to Northern Ireland?

  15. Hello
    I have 5yo American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted I do not have a pedigree Certificate). I got a great job offer in Dublin, however Ive heard this breed (amstaff or banbreed?) is not allowed in some parts of Dublin and a lot of dogs were taken from then owners by police and killed.. . Can somebody please explain me?

  16. Does Cane Corso fall into this category and I don’t see Malinois or Dutch shepherd.

  17. Are Anatolian Shepherd dogs on the banned or restricted list in Ireland ?

  18. Staffys are aloud in Ireland, they just need to be muzzled and are not aloud off lead in public. I have personally never heard of a dog being seized just for its breed, as long as the owner is abiding by the law and they definitely would not be killed just because of their breed. Hope this helps

  19. Can I come and live in Ireland if I have a Dogo Argentino?

  20. Hi Andy, Alapaha Bull Dogs would be a type of bull dog and would be on the restricted list. They are not banned, they would need to be muzzled and to follow the other regulations.

  21. I’m going to get American Staffordshire. Is this dog allowed in Dublin ?

  22. Hi all,
    I am relocating to Ireland with 3 dogs…I have a hound which is ok – but than I have a boxer and a dogo argentino. Can’t find any info about these two breeds…im not sure if they are restricted. I was reading though that there aren’t banned breeds as such, just restrictions such as muzzle use jn public etc…which is fine as my dogs are used to these for safety reasons.
    Thanks =)

  23. Hi can I buy AmStaff if I live in Ireland?

  24. Are American Akita’s on the ban list? I know it states Japanese Akita, but they are a different dog.

  25. Sad to see the Staffordshire Bull on the list ☹️ A wonderful dog all round!

  26. My sister looks like a x between a staff and a doberman, is she allowed our without a muzzle? She doesn’t bite but jeseus h christ she barks a lot.

  27. I hope the people commenting with the dogs above are aware of how difficult these dogs make it to bring young children to public parks. You should also all take note that the people you are putting in the most danger with these restricted dogs are your own children

  28. @nick. I would disagree. In general I see more unrestricted breeds being aggressive than restricted ones tbh. The issue is really not the breed but rather the owners and the lack of training/socialisation, and that has nothing to do with the breed. A well trained dog (restricted or not) poses no danger to anyone on its own. And a responsible owner of any dog (restricted
    or not) should not let their dog off lead when there are unknown children, unknown people, or unknown other dogs around. Why not, rather than judging a pup by its breed (and forcing it into a muzzle), make it a rule that all dog owners undertake training with their dogs? I think that will make more of a difference than allowing a smaller untrained aggressive dog off lead whilst a bigger one is demonised for being big.

  29. Nick,

    When people choose to own a Dog, they do not need to or have to consider other people and their children’s opinions/safety on their choice of Dog. Just like people do not need to or have to consider other people and their Dogs when choosing to have children. You are just another individual who is uneducated, ignorant and judgemental of Restricted Breeds they have never owned themselves and so can not fairly comment on them through lack of experience.

    I am a proud Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He goes to Doggy Daycare and has top character references from all he’s been with. I am so tired of people and their ignorance when it comes to this Breed.

  30. Hey I have mix of American Bulldog and Boxer dog, where I’ll find regulation that this breeds are not on the restricted list. Who is on top of this regulations? Anyone know?

  31. What do I do about a staffy that is allowed to run around on the road by itself, no muzzle or owner present? Kids are terrified of it.

  32. teaching your children to be respectful of animals
    (traffic too for that matter)and to not interfere with other people or their property would go a lot farther in promoting safety than complaining about someone walking a dog in a park, whatever the breed might be.

  33. The issue here is not big dog v small dog. Yes there are aggressive small dogs out there but they do not have the ability to kill a child the way a big dog does. If a big dog wants to attack a child or grown man for that matter, they can and will do serious damage. It is the fear that people feel when they see a large unmuzzled dog off a lead near their children. It can be terrifying when you have no idea if they have been trained or have responsible owners. The worst thing you can say as a dog owner to someone is that your dog is very placid! This infuriates me and is completely inconsiderate to assume that you should now be ok knowing that their dog is ‘placid’. I am sick of dog owners not adhering to the rules. People are more important than animals and is it such a big deal to keep your dog on a lead, big or small, when in a public area. With regards to restricted breeds, it is more so the ability that these dogs have as opposed to their actual breed, some of these dogs have serious muscle power! So please don’t take it personal dog owners, we are just trying to protect ourselves and our children. Look at it this way, if someone had tamed a lion and had it as a pet, would you have issue with it being let off its lead for a run around the park next to your pet pooch?

  34. I have a mutt and we don’t know her breed but she looks like a pitbull; she’s super friendly and social never bites, less she’s scared or threatened. Would she still have to be muzzled when in public even if she’s on a leash and her breed is uncertain?

  35. F**king joke of a country we live in see them little jack Russels yorkies and Chihuahua are worse than any big breed dog for biting no won’t do to much damage but thats grand narky little fucker the lot of them. But yeah let them off leash while not trained and they bark and go for my dog my dog naturally responds and my dog is in the wrong 🤯🤯🤯
    Great being Irish but my god its a joke to live here so next small dog to attack my pup il volley into the air il take the rap for it rather than me corso pup

  36. Caucasian Shepherd dog not on that list one of the most vicious dogs alive 😂😂

    Heres a thought though for (Responsible dog owners) why don’t they do an assessment of the dog upon the owners request like they do in shelters before rehoming them ????????? Put the dog and owner through a series of tests taking food away while eating recall heeling and anything else they want to try.Like your driving test really pay a fee assess the dog and owner and if they pass you get a cert of exemption for a muzzle and also its of the restricted list ???????????? Anyone who owns a decent dog will be only to willing to do it like, sick of all these breeds getting a bad rap for the breed of dog they are its all on how your raise and train them so if you can not handle a big dog you shouldn’t have one really. And if I’m being honest its the small dogs that need to be on a leash at ALL times they are narky little so & so’s who nip bark and bite at anything that moves they bit or attack anything that moves so if they attack a restricted breed and the big dogs bites back its the restricted dogs fault makes no sense at all just another cock up in this country really
    Really needs a total revamp if I’m honest because I’m sick of listening to non dog owners moaning about some dogs around there kids the very kids that will kick your dog pull its ears or tail kids shouldn’t be let near any strange dog at all not just the restricted breeds.Screaming running towards strange dogs and its all the dogs fault 🙈🙈🙈

  37. I am a dog owner. I have never owned a restricted breed (my sister owns a pit bull) but the level of ignorant discrimination against them and their owners in this country is sickening. I understand some people’s hesitancy and nervousness regarding larger breeds, particularly around children and smaller dogs (though many unleashed smaller dogs and family-friendly breeds have tried to bite/attack my cocker spaniel over the years), and do think they should be kept leashed (same as other breeds) but they have been utterly demonised by ignorant crowd-pleasing politicians and cowardly click-bait media outlets in this country.
    Dog training lesson 101 for ALL dog breeds is the importance of socialising them, preferably from from a young age, to avoid the development of reactivity or aggression, thereby avoiding the risk of attacks on other dogs/animals/humans. With zero access allowed for restricted breeds to any designated dog parks across Ireland how is this supposed to happen? I really think there should be separate dog parks for restricted breeds (with responsible owners and obviously no history of aggression) so they can be socialised and also run free, have fun and make some doggy pals as all other dog breeds are allowed to do. Shame on anyone out there who is in favour of “banning” these misunderstood breeds from parks and other public amenities. I would encourage fearful individuals to do your research before making leaping assumptions and assertions and maybe even go and meet some of them sitting in rescue centres. As with any breed of dog, when they have been reared well, given plenty of attention and affection, and trained with positive-reward based training they really are just soft sweethearts.

  38. To Anchbom – Who considers the law is ‘absurd’ . I know someone who had their cat savaged by the neighbors pit bull who escaped his confines. There is a reason these should be muzzled. Perhaps all put bulls not the same.. but one out of control can result in a tragedy.

  39. Don’t own any of these dangerous or x breeds, they are very unpredictable and dangerous for you and the public

  40. Am I correct in saying that American Bulldogs do not have to be muzzled?
    They seem to not be on the restricted list.
    Great if anyone can help out.

  41. ALL dogs are a menace, dangerous pack animals descended from wolves. They are dirty, they stink, they crap and pee everywhere, and they bark loudly and bite, often enough killing innocent children. Their owners are irresponsible idiots who don’t care about other human beings only about their ugly dogs. They need training as much if not more than their dogs. In short dogs are a social nuisance.

  42. @ Joseph Mac, so are most teens who run in packs and stab whenever they feel like it, killing and stabbing innocent kids and adults alike. They are dirty, they stink, they crap and pee everywhere, and they shout out loudly. Their parents are irresponsible idiots who don’t care about other human beings only about their kids. They need training as much if not more than the dogs.

    I am sure there are more adults and kids that are killed by humans than any dogs.

  43. Thinking about moving to Ireland, but these circumstances are really making me reconsider it any time. Do you know if there is any authority a group of people can present a petition to? There are several places in the world where owners of an supposed “aggressive”/”dangerous” breed or any breed at all have to successfully pass a examination/test to be owning them, giving them equal rights (no muzzle, leash etc.) and duties (equal amount of taxes, chipping etc.).
    Is there a society of specific dog owners or are there petitions already? Is it just a thing of who’s in charge in politics and there are specific candidates?
    Hoping my request doesn’t sound too immature.
    Thank you in advance

  44. Hi Alex,
    Unfortunately the law doesn’t have a consideration of a safe dog course. If your dog is one of those breeds you need make sure you and your dog are not in conflict with the law. You can raise your concerns about the laws to the Department of Agriculture or local country council, or politican. Depending on the breed there are probably Facebook groups that you could organise a petition with.

  45. Hi All
    I personally think that this list of banned dogs is a complete joke…
    My suggestion is to actually analyse the amount of listed dogs that have been put on this list and have caused an offence (regardless of the severity) versus the amount of dogs registered in the ICC.
    Once this exercise has taken place, then analyse how old the individual breeds were at the point of offence, who they were owned by (ie owners previous criminal convictions) and lastly whether the dogs that attributed to this list were re homed.
    The moral of this story is that it is 95% the owner and upbringing and socialisation of of puppy that ultimately determines what the dog becomes.
    We can bring kids up to be wrong and dogs are no different!
    Over and out

  46. I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier she is 72 dog years old and harmless, she would not harm a fly today the housing officer rang me to get her out as of today as she thought she is on the banned list, she is not she is on the restricted. what to do please

  47. Hi James,
    This will depend on the housing authority. You would need to check with your tendency agreement to see what types of dogs are allowed and what ones are not. If you’ve had the dog before these rules came into effect, you might have a case to having them allow you keep your dog.

  48. These bully breeds are becoming way too common. Already the poor child in Wexford was nearly killed and deformed for life after a bully breed mauled him a few months ago.
    They were designed to attack and to inflict damage on other animals. It’s in their genes.
    Retrievers retrieve, pointers point, shepherd dogs herd, and bully breeds maul. All without training, because we created them to do it.
    The sooner these breeds are banned the better. Only a matter of time before they kill, since they are more common. Sad that this site allows listings for them. So many staffy and bullies.

  49. My wife and I have owned five Rottweilers and one Doberman over the past 25 years. We normally have a male and a female. We have never had a biting incident. Currently, we have a female Rottweiler we adopted from a used car lot and she is the sweetest dog ever. We also have a male Doberman we adopted because he was getting into fights with other dogs. It only took around two weeks of training and we had to stop him in two incidents with our Rottweiler. Once he learned we were in charge and he didn’t have to worry about his safety, he also turned into a chief entertainer in our household. I take them out in public without a muzzle, and am always receiving compliments about how well our two dogs are.

    It is not the bred. It is the owner. By the way, this come from a country that was recognized as one of the safest in the world, and yet they are allowing themselves to be .

  50. Can someone tell me if a restricted dog has to be muzzled in it’s own walled back garden please?

  51. @MBH : no you would not need to have a dog muzzled in this case, muzzling is for when your dog is in a public place, like a park, going on a walk, anywhere it might meet members of the public.

  52. Dog warden was here yesterday. Said my Cane Corso was on the restrictions list because he’s a bull breed. I think they need to make the list a bit more clear. My corso is not a mixed breed. So not a ban dog as they describe, but cane Corso are mastiff, working dog breed.

  53. Hi Kellie,
    I’d ask the dog warden for this in writing. We don’t see that this done is on the RBL (Restricted Dogs List) You could also contact the Department of Agriculture to clarify. That being said if your dog shows aggressive / protective behaviours, a strong short leash and a muzzle aren’t bad ideas when they are out in public.

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