Irish banned dogs

A support question that comes up every now and again is about ‘banned breeds’ and what are they? Technically there aren’t any banned breeds of dogs, rather there is a list of restricted dog breeds.  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 adhere to. Here are some of the basic rules that all dog owners need to take care of.

Dog licensing rules

Do remember that whatever type of dog you have, you are still required to get a dog licence for that dog in either of these cases

  • once the dog leaves the care of its mother
  • once it’s over the age of 4 months.

You can pick up a dog licence at your local post office or local authority. There are three types of dog licences

  • Individual dog licence – covers one dog for of 12 months – €20
  • General dog licence – for owners of kennels for 12 months – €400 
  • Lifetime of the dog licence – for the lifetime of the dog for which the licence is issued – €140

Exceptions to dog licences exist

  • Guide dogs for the blind do not require a dog licence
  • Dogs which are in the country for less than 30 days do not require licensing.

If you are picking up a dog from a charity or shelter they generally ask you to get a licence in advance. It’s also important to note that dog licences can only be held by people over the age of 16.

All dogs need to have a collar that identifies the owner and the owners address. Failure to comply can result in an on-the-spot fine from a dog warden.

Also remember that microchipping on dogs is mandatory for all dogs born after September 2015 and for older dogs after March 31st 2016.

Control of Dogs Regulation

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):

  • All these dogs need to be muzzled in public.
  • These dogs must be on a short, less than 2 metres, 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 lead by people over the age of 16
  • See the exception list below


Restricted dog breeds in Ireland

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • English Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Dobermann Pinscher
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd (Alsatian)
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Japanese Akita
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Ban dog (a so called ban dog is a cross of any of the above breeds mentioned or any strain of the above dogs listed)

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 January 5, 2021

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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?

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