Certain dog breeds have gained a fearsome reputation as “dangerous,” and have been banned in certain jurisdictions.
Where are Pitbulls banned? Let’s examine what bans and restrictions there are, and where the Pitbull is illegal.
Once we’ve done that, we’ll examine how the Pitbull came to be banned in so many places and why Pitbulls can become dangerous.
As a hint, there are more bad dog owners than there are “bad” dogs in this tale of woe.
While we’re at it, we’ll look at the arguments in favor of Pitbulls and the facts behind the widespread opinion that breed-based bans aren’t effective.
But before we kick off, let’s get a little perspective.
Fun fact: people are more likely to die in fierce storms, plane crashes, or even from choking on food than they are likely to die from dog bites. How scared are you of your dinner? Probably not very!
With that out of the way, let’s begin!
Countries, States, And Cities Where Pitbulls Are Banned
When using these lists as a source, remember that legislation can change. Use our information as a guideline and check the legality of Pitbulls with your local authorities.
At the time of writing, this list is complete in terms of most major countries that ban Pitbulls.
The following countries have banned Pitbulls outright. Some have added the proviso that they can’t be kept as domestic animals or pets which amounts to much the same thing.
In general, people in the following countries may not keep Pitbulls at all. When they can, there are very strict limitations and rules that make it all but impossible to keep one.
The Middle East And The Far East
- China (certain regions)
- Japan (certain regions)
- Austria (certain regions)
- Belgium (certain regions)
- Germany (bans in all but one province)
- The Netherlands
- Russia (including Asian regions of Russia)
- Turkey (including Asian regions of Turkey)
- UK (including Bermuda)
- Australia (certain regions)
- New Zealand
- Brazil (certain regions)
- Most island states
- Canada (certain regions)
US States With Pitbull Bans
In the US, not all states have banned the Pitbull. Since each state makes its own rules in this regard, we will list the states where people may not keep Pitbulls below.
- Arkansas (most cities)
- Colorado (most cities)
- Iowa (banned or restricted in most cities)
- Kansas (most cities)
- Kentucky (most cities)
- Michigan (bans or restrictions in most cities)
- Mississippi (some cities)
- Missouri (bans or restrictions in most cities)
- Ohio (most cities)
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Wisconsin (most cities)
Restricted But Not Banned
Within our list, and in several other countries around the world, Pitbulls aren’t banned in all regions. However, some pretty stiff restrictions are imposed.
These include getting special licenses or permissions to keep a pet Pitbull, making them wear a muzzle in public places, limiting the number of Pitbulls a person may keep, and mandatory spaying or neutering.
Many countries ban border entry for Pitbulls too, so it’s not a breed you can easily emigrate with or have brought in from a breeder elsewhere in the world.
Identifying Individual Dangerous Dogs
Some countries and US states prohibit breed-specific bans. Instead, they keep records of dog bite incidents to identify dangerous dogs. This individualized approach is, perhaps, the fairest one.
As we will see once we explore the reasons why Pitbulls have such a bad reputation, the way dog owners raise and keep their dogs is almost always to blame for aggression.
Where Are Pitbulls Banned: Dangerous Or Demonized?
The dog breed most likely to bite is… wait for it… the Chihuahua! Admittedly, a Pitbull would be far likelier to cause a serious injury if he bites, but are they really as dangerous as people think they are?
As we’ve pointed out, in terms of deaths, you’re likelier to meet your end in an air crash or choking on food than dying as a result of a dog attack.
So why have so many countries and jurisdictions either banned the Pitbull or else imposed severe restrictions on Pitbull ownership?
Pitbulls Were Bred To Fight
Horrible though this may seem, the Pitbull breed was created for dogfighting, a cruel “sport” that was widely accepted in the past and which is still illegally practiced today.
This history has led to some people keeping Pitbulls for illegal dogfighting to this day.
Because of its reputation, some people get Pitbulls solely as guard dogs. In both instances, the dog owners want an aggressive dog, will be inclined to neglect it, and will actively encourage aggression.
Since the dog is receptive to learning to attack, and no effort is made to help them master attack instincts, they often succeed all too well with the Pitbull.
Then there are the people who choose a Pitbull for other “bad” reasons.
Just as handbag dogs became a fashion accessory for ladies in the 80s, men who want all the trappings of a “tough guy” image often choose a Bully breed or a Pitbull.
Since their main reason for choosing a Pitbull is for “flexing,” they simply don’t have the patience or will to care for and train their dogs properly.
And because they’re hoping to make an impression, they’ll even encourage aggression.
However, a Pitbull that is properly socialized, well-trained, and happy can be an absolute darling.
Taking the breed’s history, needs, and preferences into account, attentive dog owners can raise Pitbulls to be the perfect pet.
Pitbulls Are Likelier To Bite Than Most Breeds Are
Looking at reported dog bites (most people wouldn’t bother to report a nip from a Chihuahua,) Pitbulls are the likeliest to bite.
Interestingly, the same breed ranks highly in tests designed to determine the temperament of various dog breeds.
The whole thing seems like a contradiction. How can a breed that’s been rated as having an excellent temperament also be aggressive?
Once again, it’s largely a case of nurture – or more simply put, how the dog is trained and cared for.
Pitbulls are high-energy dogs. They’re also very intelligent. If they aren’t given positive outlets for their natural exuberance or become bored, as intelligent breeds quickly do, they can become aggressive out of sheer frustration and pent-up energy.
You shouldn’t expect Pitbull ownership to be without its challenges.
Training, exercise, lots of positive reinforcement, and diligent socializing are all requirements in raising a well-adjusted Pitbull.
They’re also not dogs that will tolerate being shut up or left to their own devices for most of the day.
When Pitbulls become aggressive, it’s very often a matter of the owner having chosen a breed that they simply don’t have the necessary time for.
They might have similar results with other dog breeds, but with the strength of a Pitbull behind antisocial behavior brought about by negligence, the results could be less destructive.
Historically hunters, all dogs have some level of prey drive embedded into their instinctive makeup.
As you’d expect, some dogs have a higher prey drive than others, and the Pitbull is known as one of the breeds with a strong prey drive.
In practice, this means that Pitbulls will be among the breeds that are likelier to give chase when they spot something running away or go into attack mode when they see other animals.
Early socialization and good training go a long way toward countering this.
The Pitbull is very trainable and can soon learn what behaviors are unacceptable to its owners – provided it is given the opportunity.
Nevertheless, keeping your dog leashed in public spaces will prevent any lapses.
To prevent frustration, include games that will satisfy the prey drive. Chasing a frisbee or playing ball offers your Pitbull legitimate “prey” to take the edge off his hunting instincts.
Breeding Priorities Have Changed
For many, the fact that Pitbulls were initially bred as fighting dogs is damning enough for them to brand the whole breed as inherently aggressive.
But priorities have changed. While early Pitbull breeders may well have chosen the fiercest, most aggressive dogs to breed from, it’s a case of “survival of the gentlest” these days.
Most Pitbull owners keep their dogs as pets, and they value a trustworthy, even-tempered family dog.
And with Pitbull breeders and enthusiasts eager to highlight their favorite breed’s ability to be a valuable addition to the right households, they’re choosing sweet-tempered Pitbulls for breeding stock.
Insofar as aggression might be an inherited trait, breeders are certainly doing their utmost to breed this characteristic out of the gene pool.
Regretfully, the human element remains a key contributor to Pitbull aggression.
Do Breed-Specific Laws Protect Communities?
Where are Pitbulls banned and why? The long list of places where keeping an illegal Pitbull can get you into serious trouble may lead you to think that there’s no smoke without fire.
However, it’s not just Pitbull enthusiasts who feel that their breed is oversensationalized as a dangerous dog.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA determined that there was no evidence in favor of dog breed-based bans.
Following a study of dog-bite-based data, the organization concluded that breed-specific laws didn’t make communities safer.
This supports our conclusion that the Pitbull isn’t inherently dangerous. Abuse, neglect, poor training, and poor socialization will encourage aggression in Pitbulls, but they’ll do the same in any other breed of dog.
Around the world, people who love Pitbulls are lobbying to have laws against their dogs repealed and it would be wrong to assume that they’re being irresponsible in doing so.
Pitbulls: Positive Traits Are Widely Recognized
Don’t just take our word for it! You’ll find that almost every source you care to consult praises Pitbulls as kind, gentle, loving (especially loving,) and loyal.
They’re recognized as being good companions and there’s a huge volume of testimony that says they’re protective and patient toward children.
As for their abilities as guard dogs, it’s their loyalty that comes to the fore. A well-socialized Pittie will welcome visitors to your yard – but if they threaten or harm your family, they will meet with a ferocious defender.
Since owning an aggressive dog is more dangerous to you and your family than it is for anyone else, that’s just what you want – a defender, not an attacker.
You’ll find that almost every dog breed profile says that Pitbulls are sociable, highly intelligent, and trainable, but they all warn against neglecting training.
When Pitbulls do attack, it’s invariably untrained or under-trained dogs that are to blame.
This is not a dog that does well if it is left to its own devices, but it’s also a responsive and affectionate companion when given the right home environment.
Keeping A Pitbull The Right Way
If you want to keep a Pitbull, choose him because you want a family companion, and be sure he has lots of space to play.
You can take him out for walks or runs, but if you live in a city or its suburbs, he will be on the leash.
His energy outstrips yours by a long way, so have plenty of space at home where you can play high-energy games with him.
Give him a lot of positive attention, and keep his training ingrained through regular practice. As a working dog, your Pitbull will love the “work” you give him to do. Never train through fear tactics.
Expose your dog to as wide a variety of different people and situations from a young age and keep the interactions positive. Puppy school will help with socialization with people and other animals too.
Most of all, make sure he has company and plenty to keep him entertained.
This is not a dog that will take well to many hours spent alone and keeping a Pitbull confined for any length of time won’t bring out the best in him.
If you’re willing to make an effort to be a good pet owner, your Pitbull will reward you with his love, affection, obedience, and loyalty.