Traveling with a Dangerous Dog Breed

Travel with Pit Bull

 

Planning a trip with your Pit Bull? Relocating to a foreign country with your Rottweiler? You had better know the rules on entering a country with an breed of dog that may be classified as aggressive. The consequences for your pet could be pretty severe.

There is no disputing the fact that traveling with a dog has become a more popular trend in recent years. Countries that value tourism as well as airlines that value additional revenue have made it easier for the pet owner to see the world with their pet. Yet, even with the emergence of in-cabin privileges, more careful cargo handling and the avoidance of incidents, comes the increased enforcement of certain rules regarding the movement of aggressive types of dogs.

What dog breeds are generally classified as dangerous? American Staffordshire Terriers top the list. Why? Because in studies where the number of dog bites were measured, this breed is almost always at the top. Does this mean that your Staffie is dangerous? No, this breed can be trained and properly socialized. But numbers being what they are, the breed is included in most if not all dangerous dog laws that are breed specific. 

Other dog breeds that are generally classified as dangerous are Akita Inu, Barboels, Cane Corso, American Bulldog, Dog de Bordeaux, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, German Shepherd, Mastiff, Presa Canario, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Tosa Inu.

Also confusing is the term Pit Bull Terrier. Actually, this term includes several recognized breeds of dogs –  American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and may include the American Bulldog.

Many countries, provinces, counties and cities ban the import of aggressive breeds of dogs and also their mixes. We suggest you search for dangerous dog policies in your destination country. You can also contact the embassy of the country you are traveling to determine if your dog is acceptable for entry.

Know that, if your dog even resembles one of these breeds or behaves in any way aggressively during the immigration process, there is a chance that your pet will not be accepted in your destination country. DNA testing will not be accepted as proof of lineage as they are not performed at a government agency.

At a minimum, you should carry a strong leash and muzzle with you as many countries will require this while you are in public places. Also, do not trust your children to hold the leash. Strong movements can happen suddenly in strange places.

When countries ban aggressive breeds, it also means that the airlines who serve those countries must ban the breeds on routes to that country. Airlines will not carry a pet into a country when the pet does not have the proper import forms or is on the banned breed list. The consequences of ignoring this list can be distressing at the least and disastrous at the worst. Should a dog on the banned breed list make it to immigration, in most cases it will be returned to the originating country at the owner’s expense; however, in some cases, the animal will be put down.

In recent years, commercial airlines have also initiated bans or restrictions on dog breeds classified as aggressive to limit their exposure to “incidents.”. No US-based airline will fly them. Other foreign-based airlines will (Lufthansa, KLM and Air France for example); however, they may require that your dog fly in a CR 82-compliant metal or wood pet crate.

If you are flying with your dog, be sure and arrange NOT to change carriers along the way. Airlines will not interline pets. Arrangements must be made for you or an agent to get your pet, clear customs and recheck your dog on the next airline.

More information on traveling with a dangerous dog


Comments

Traveling with a Dangerous Dog Breed — 4 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I am hoping you can possibly help.

    My wife and I are moving to the EU with our American Pitbull terrier and having a tough time finding accurate information on the regulations of each country and if those regulations apply to tourists.

    For example, Germany has an import ban and regulations but as a tourist you are exempt for 4 weeks.

    We want to be in compliance with all laws and not put our dog at risk. Do you have country by country specific information?

    Thank you,
    Chris

  2. Janet – we believe you mean to say that your dog is an emotional support dog. Therapy dogs primarily visit retirement homes and hospitals to provide comfort to their patients. These dogs are not covered by the American Carrier Access Act. ESAs provide comfort to their owners only.

    Assuming that your Bull Terrier is an emotional support dog, then you need to contact the Animal Reception Center at the arrival airport so they can review your documentation and offer you a pre-approval letter. You can enter the UK at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester in England or Edinburgh or Glasgow in Scotland. You will present the pre-approval letter to the airline when you check-in.
    Susan

  3. I will be travelling with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from USA Chicago to UK.
    Port of entry is optional.

    She is certified as a emotional therapy dog, I have a letter from my Doctor.
    However I have to get her registered.

    Janet Lloyd
    Email: Sharkdiamonds@mail.com

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