Issue Background

Breed-Specific/Dangerous Dog Laws

AKC Webinar on Breed-Specific Legislation (May 2020)

Breed-specific legislation is any bill that seeks to ban or place severe restrictions on owners of a particular breed of dog or dogs with certain physical characteristics, regardless of whether or not the dog is a problem in the community. Breed-specific dangerous dog legislation is usually proposed by state or local lawmakers in response to a specific attack by a dangerous animal or a wave of irresponsible dog ownership in a community.

This could include ownership bans, restrictions, special licensing, or other regulations that only apply to those who own a dog that is a specific breed or has certain physical traits.  A better solution is address the actions of specific dogs and their owners, rather than to regulate dogs based solely on their appearance. 

Uniformly enforced animal control laws and increased public education efforts will hold all owners accountable for their pets – regardless of the dog’s breed or appearance – while preventing irresponsible owners from simply turning to a different breed.  

The AKC Government Relations Department is available to help communities develop dangerous dog policies and public education solutions that both properly protect citizens and the rights of responsible dog owners. 

“Like racial profiling for dogs, BSL unfairly penalizes responsible dog owners without holding owners of truly dangerous dogs accountable.” 

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