Restricted breeds, menacing and dangerous dogs

Restricted breeds, menacing and dangerous dogs

Keeping the public safe

The City of Sydney is responsible for keeping the public safe from dogs that are a restricted breed, or have been declared dangerous or menacing. We have the power to act on complaints about dog attacks.

Under NSW law, restricted breeds can no longer be sold or given away in NSW. It is illegal to accept ownership of such a dog. If you already own such a dog, you must desex and register it with the City.

The restricted dogs law applies to:

  • American pitbull or pitbull terriers
  • Japanese tosas
  • Dogo Argentino (Argentinean fighting dogs)
  • Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian fighting dogs)
  • other breeds whose importation is prohibited by the Customs Act
  • any dog declared by an authorised officer of a council, under the Companion Animals Act 1998, to be a restricted dog.

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 the City, 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). You can also request a temperament assessment to test whether your dog is dangerous.

Rules for restricted, dangerous and menacing dogs

Owners of restricted breeds and declared dangerous dogs must follow these 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 declared dangerous or menacing dog. It is also illegal to accept ownership of such a dog.

If such dogs are surrendered to a shelter, they will be humanely put down.

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

For detailed specifications relating to enclosures, muzzles, warning signs and collars in NSW, visit the Division of Local Government website and download the fact sheets on:

  • restricted dogs
  • declared dangerous and menacing dogs. 

Or consult the Companion Animals Act 1998.

Menacing Dogs: Must comply with the same control requirements as dangerous dogs outlined above, with one exception – menacing dogs do not need to be kept in a purpose-built enclosure at home. 

Greyhounds: The requirements for control and management of greyhounds can be found on the Department of Local Government website.

Penalties

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 $77,000 and a jail sentence of up 5 years, or both.

See fines for Restricted dogs, and fines for dogs declared dangerous and menacing.

The City regularly carries out inspections to ensure compliance.

A dog may be seized and immediately put down if the enclosure or muzzling requirements are not met on 2 separate occasions over a 12 month period.

Last updated: Monday, 21 July 2014