Certain breeds of dog are classed as ‘restricted’ in Victoria because of the higher risk they pose to the safety of people and other animals compared to other breeds. To be considered restricted, a dog will meet the Approved Standard for Restricted Breed Dogs in Victoria by being one of the following dangerous dog breeds, whether pure or cross.
- Perro de Presa Canario,
- American Pit Bull Terrier,
- Japanese Tosa,
- Dogo Argentino, or
- Fila Brasiliero.
It is an offence to sell, give away or transfer the ownership of such a dog, with two exceptions:
- The dog is part of an estate and is therefore transferred to a close relative upon the owner’s death.
- The dog is transferred to a council pound or shelter for euthanasia.
Despite this, illegal breeding and selling of dangerous dog breeds continues, to the detriment of unsuspecting buyers.
How to avoid dangerous dog breeds
When buying a dog, it is important to find out as much information as possible about where it is coming from. Many online adverts claiming to be from trusted sources can easily use pictures of puppies to lure in unsuspecting potential buyers, only to then try to sell them a dog that is different from what has been advertised. This can lead to people unknowingly buying a restricted breed.
To try to avoid this:
- Only buy from a reputable breeder and make sure to thoroughly research them.
- Find out about their history and reputation, and make sure to always visit the dog before buying. Puppies kept away from their mothers could indicate illegal breeding practices and puppy farming, and alarm bells should also ring if a dog is being advertised at a very low price, or is ‘free to a good home’.
Although the history of some dogs is not always known at animal shelters, staff monitor the dogs in their care extensively, and get to know the behaviour and temperament of each one individually.
Have you been sold a restricted breed?
If you know or suspect you have been sold a restricted breed dog, you must inform the council.
If the breed you bought was misrepresented, you have rights under Australian Consumer Law. Find out more by contacting Consumer Affairs Victoria.