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As a veterinarian, let me explain which four dog breeds are prohibited in the UK and why

DID you know that there are actually four dog breeds that are illegal in the UK and they were banned for very specific reasons?

Two vets, who are twins, have broken down exactly why you shouldn’t own or breed these four types of dogs, even if you are a fan of them.


Pit bulls have been bred over the years for 'blood sport' and are now banned in the UKCredit: Alamy


The Japanese Tosa was, and is still, a popular fighting breed in JapanCredit: News UK Ltd

1) The Pit Bull Terrier

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The Independent

On their @vettwins account, they explained: “For centuries pit bulls were bred for blood sport. 

“Usually these fights were to the death like bull and bear baiting, where a group of dogs were set against bigger animals in a pit.

“These ‘sports’ were made illegal in 1835.

“However, the Victorians bred pit bulls to take part in dog fights.”

The vets said the dog breed gained a reputation, which mainly people argue is unfairly based upon the actions of a handful of unethical breeders.

They added: “Unfortunately it was a series of attacks involving the pit bull breed that ultimately led to the instigation of the 1991 act, thus pronouncing the breed and its variants one of the illegal dogs in the UK.”

2. Japanese Tosa


The vets said that the Japanese Tosa was, and is still, a popular fighting breed in Japan.

They explained: “Japanese rules meant that the dogs were not allowed to make any noise in the pit, so the tosa is said to have been able to fight in complete silence.

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“In the 1800s, the tosa was bred with various other breeds such as the bulldog and mastiff to produce a dog that was heavy, agile and powerful.

“Its breeding as a fighting dog has led to it being banned in the UK.”

The tosa is not just illegal in the UK, but in several other countries.

3. Dogo Argentino

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The vets said that the Dogo Argentino was bred for “big-game hunting”, as well as for its “brave” and “protective instincts.”

They are said to be a big challenge for first-time dog owners in particular due to them being stubborn, domineering and intelligent.

They added: “These behavioural traits, together with its large, muscular, powerful build, led to the Dogo Argentino being banned in the UK.”

4. Fila Brasileiro 

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The Fila Brasileiro is also known as the Brazilian Mastiff, and as the name suggests, is commonly bred in Brazil.

The vets explained: “While the breed is commended by Brazilians for its loyalty, the Fila Brasileiro is also known to have aggressive tendencies, and it is very intelligent and strong.

“The breed was used originally as a hunting and working dog.

“They are not known to be attack dogs but ‘catch dogs’, meaning they can catch their prey and hold it at bay until their hunter arrives.

“The breed is still used on farms to protect herds and to catch predators.”

Although their primary instinct is to “protect”, they can become “anti-social if they are not trained properly during its prime development years”, according to the vets.

The Gov website confirms that it is illegal to own, sell, abandon, give away or breed the prohibited breeds. 

The website states: “Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.

“For example, if your dog matches many of the characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type.

"If you have a banned dog, the police or local council dog warden can take it away and keep it, even if it is not acting dangerously or there has not been a complaint.

“The police may need permission from a court to do this.”


The Dogo Argentino was bred for 'big-game hunting' and is now banned in the UKCredit: Alamy


The Fila Brasileiro is also known to have aggressive tendenciesCredit: Getty


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