A dog may be classified as menacing either because of characteristics associated with its breed or type, or because it has attacked or exhibited aggressive behaviour that suggests to the Council the dog may pose a threat to people or animals.

Dog breeds classed as menacing

The Council must classify as menacing any dog that either wholly or predominantly belongs to one or more of the following dog breeds or types:

  • Brazilian Fila
  • Dog Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American Pit Bull types
  • Perro de Presa Canario.

Owner requirements

If your dog is classified as menacing you must:

  • keep the dog muzzled while at large or in a public place or private way, unless it is completely confined in a vehicle or cage. In this context "at large" means unrestrained and running freely on private property without authorisation from the property owner. A private way is a recognised path/lane over private land, intended for the use of certain people or groups, not the general public. 
  • within one month of the classification, provide a vet's certificate that the dog has been desexed
  • advise any other person responsible for the dog for up to 72 hours of the need for the dog to be muzzled in public.

When a dog is classified as a menacing dog, the dog owner has a right to object within 14 days of receiving the classification notice. Objections must be in writing.

Read more about dog aggression and dangerous dogs.