Restricted Dog Breeds

In April 2002 legislation came into operation to deal specifically with Restricted Dog Breeds.

This is a brief summary of details contained in Dog (Restricted Breeds) Regulations 2002. For full details please refer to the legislation itself.

At present these breeds include:

  • Dogo Argentino (also known as the Argentine Dogo or Argentinian Mastiff)
  • Fila Brasileiro (also known as Brazilian Mastiff or Cao de Fila)
  • Japanese tosa (also known as Tosa Inu, Tosa Fighting Dog or Japanese Fighting Dog)
  • American pit bull terrier (also known as Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull) and
  • Pit bull terrier breeds. 

The regulations also provide for a restricted breed dog to include any dog of a mixed breed that visibly contains any of the above prohibited breeds. 

In December 2005 the Western Australian Government introduced new laws requiring so called 'fighting dogs' to be sterilised.

Whilst restricted breed dogs such as dogo Argentino, fila Brasileiro, Japanese tosa, Presa Canario and American pit bull are already banned by the Federal Government from importation into Australia, the State law bans the breeding of these dogs - both pure bred and mixed-breed (which visibly contain one of the restricted breed 'traits').

The laws require an owner to prove to an authorised person that their dog meets one of the following requirements:

  • the dog has an ear tattoo showing that it has already been sterilised

or within a 24-hour period

  • the owner produces a certificate from a veterinary surgeon showing that the dog has been previously sterilised (or is recovering from treatment and would suffer if sterilised at that time, or has a condition which would cause the dog to die) or
  • that the dog is under the age of 6 months.

Pictorial representations of the restricted dog breeds follow. It should be noted that these pictures are representations only and that there will be variations.

This material has been obtained, with the permission of the publishers, from The Encyclopedia of the Dog(Bruce Fogle, HarperCollins Publishers, Sydney, 1995, pp 172, 248 and 254) which was kindly loaned by the RSPCA.
Restricted Dogs - Image 1
Restricted Dogs - Image 2
Restricted Dogs - Image 3
Restricted Dogs - Image 4

Regulation 5

  • Restricted Breeds are to wear distinctive, prescribed red and yellow collars

Regulation 6

  • They are to be kept in secure places and have prescribed warning signs  displayed (Warning Dangerous Dog)

Regulation 7

If a restricted dog is not confined in accordance with regulation 6 it must: 

  • be muzzled (to prevent it causing injury by biting) 
  • be held on a leash, by a person capable of controlling it not less than 18 years of age (this includes approved exercise areas)

Regulation 8

  • Restrict the number of restricted breed dogs to any one person to 2 (two)

Regulation 9

  • The owner of a restricted breed dog is prohibited from selling or transferring ownership to any person under 18 years of age

Regulation 10

  • The seller of a restricted breed dog is to notify the buyer in writing that the animal is a restricted breed dog

Regulation 11

  • Any person liable for control of a restricted breed dog must notify the local government of any change of address of the restricted breed dog

Regulation 12

  • If a restricted breed dog is missing or dies the owner must notify the local government that registered the dog

Regulation 13

  • This regulation provides for the seizure and detention of a restricted breed dog where there has been a contravention of regulations 5, 6 or 7.
  • It also provides for reasonable attempts to be made to ascertain the owner of the dog and the possible destruction of the dog after 8 days.

Any breach of the Dog (Restricted Breeds) Regulations 2002 may result in a penalty of up to $5000. (Sec 53 Dog Act 1976).

Further Information

Ranger & Community Safety Services
9273 6000 or