Dangerous dogs

About dangerous dogs

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is against the law for a dog to be dangerously out of control anywhere. This means in a public place or on private property, such as the owner’s home and garden. The law applies to all breeds of dog.

Your dog is considered out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerous if:

  • it attacks someone's animal
  • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal

Report a dangerous dog

You should report any encounter with a dangerous dog or dog attack to the police:

  • In an emergency only please call 999
  • If it is not an emergency please call 101

You should also contact the police if you suspect someone of owning a banned breed of dog that does not hold an exemption certificate, such as XL Bully or Pit Bull Terrier dogs.

For more information on dogs banned in the UK please see:

From 1st February 2024, you cannot own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a valid Certificate of Exemption, see:

See also:


You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months, or both, if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

If you allow your dog to injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years and possibly fined as well.

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Page last updated: 19 February 2024

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