About restricted breed dogs

Restricted breed dog definition

Restricted breed dogs are defined as dogs that fit the Approved Standard for Restricted Breed Dogs in Victoria (standard). These may be pure or cross bred:

  • American Pit Bull Terriers (or Pit Bull Terriers)
  • Perro de Presa Canarios (or Presa Canario)
  • Dogo Argentinos
  • Japanese Tosas
  • Fila Brasileiros.

Restricted breed dogs have not attacked a person or animal or displayed signs of aggression. However, they are considered a higher risk to community safety than other breeds of dogs.

Declaration process for restricted breed dogs

Authorised officers (from the local council) have the power to declare that a dog is a restricted breed. Within 7 days of making a declaration an authorised officer must serve written notice of the declaration on the owner of the dog, either personally or by registered post. The notice will contain information about how owners can apply for a review of the decision, if desired, along with the housing and ownership requirements that apply to restricted breed dogs that can be kept.

Restricted breed dog ownership requirements

Where dogs are deemed by the council to meet the standard, they will be declared as a restricted breed.

Owners of restricted breed dogs must comply with a range of requirements for their dogs, relating to:

  • housing
  • microchipping
  • desexing
  • identifying
  • council registration.

Restricted breed dogs must also be muzzled and leashed when being exercised off the property. Read the full details of Ownership requirements for restricted breed dogs.

Reporting

You can call your local council to report a:

  • suspected unregistered restricted breed dog
  • registered restricted breed dog not being kept according to prescribed requirements
  • dog attack on a person or animal.

Alternatively you can call the Dangerous Dogs Hotline on 136 186.

I think I've been sold a restricted breed dog

Contact the council and advise them of your concern.

It is an offence for a person to sell, give or otherwise transfer the ownership of a restricted breed dog to you — unless you are an immediate relative and ownership has been transferred as part of a deceased estate. The only other exception is if the owner surrenders the dog to a council pound or shelter for euthanasia.

You also have rights under consumer affairs legislation if the breed of the dog has been misrepresented. Contact the Consumer Affairs Victoria Helpline on 1300 55 81 81.

If a restricted breed dog is involved in a serious or fatal attack

Owners are subject to criminal offences if their dog kills or endangers the life of someone.

Owners can be jailed for up to 10 years if their dog kills someone, or for up to 5 years if their dog endangers someone's life.

Where the owner of a dog is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian of that owner will be deemed the legal owner of the dog and subject to any penalties.

Page last updated: 12 Jul 2021