Restricted breeds and dangerous dogs

Restricted breeds and dangerous dogs

Keeping the public safe

The City of Sydney has the power to act when we receive complaints about dog attacks. We are also responsible for keeping the public safe from dogs that have been declared dangerous or are a restricted breed.

Dangerous dogs

We have the right to declare any size, shape or breed of dog dangerous if it has:

  • attacked or killed a person or animal without provocation
  • repeatedly threatened to attack
  • repeatedly chased a person or animal.

Owners of dogs that have been declared dangerous must follow very strict rules (see below), which make sure the public is safe.

If a dangerous dog or restricted breed attacks or bites without being provoked, it may be seized and euthanised. It will not automatically be euthanised.

Restricted breeds

Under NSW law restricted breeds can no longer be bought, sold or given away in NSW. Those who already own such a dog must register them with the City.

The law applies to American Pitbull or Pitbull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dogs) and Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dogs).

If your dog is reported by a member of the public to us or a City Ranger suspects your dog is one of these breeds (or a cross breed), and you haven’t notified Council, we will investigate and possibly declare the dog a restricted breed.

You will be notified and if you disagree, you can request a breed assessment (from a registered assessor).

If the breed assessor finds your dog is a restricted breed or cross, you can then request a temperament assessment to test whether your dog is dangerous.

Rules for restricted breeds and dangerous dogs

Owners of restricted breeds and dogs that are declared dangerous must adhere to the following rules.

  • The dog must be desexed, microchipped and registered
  • At home, the dog must be kept inside a purpose built enclosure and warning signs must be displayed on the property.
  • The dog must wear a securely fitted muzzle when outside its enclosure (at home or in a public place).
  • When outside the enclosure, the dog must wear a distinctive red and yellow striped collar and be walked on a secure chain or lead.
  • The dog can never be walked off its leash, even in a designated off-leash park.

It is illegal to give away or sell a restricted breed or a dog that has been declared dangerous. Likewise, it is illegal to buy or accept such a dog as a gift. Any such dogs that are surrendered to a shelter will be humanely euthanised.

A restricted breed or dangerous dog cannot be owned by anyone under the age of 18 years or be left in the care of anyone under the age of 18 years.

For detailed specifications relating to enclosures, muzzles, warning signs and collars visit the Division of Local Government website and download the fact sheet on restricted and dangerous dogs in NSW or consult the Companion Animals Act 1998.


Heavy penalties apply if owners breach any of the laws around keeping dangerous dogs and restricted breeds. Certain offences carry a fine of up to $22,000 and a jail sentence of up to two years.

The City regularly carries out inspections to ensure compliance. A dog may be seized and immediately euthanised if the enclosure or muzzling requirements aren’t met on two separate occasions over a 12 month period.


NSW Division of Local Government – Companion Animals

Last updated: Monday, 21 January 2013