Dangerous and restricted dog breeds

Pit bull terrier wearing collar and tag looking innocent

What is a dangerous dog?

If you keep a guard dog that protects non-residential premises, it is automatically considered a dangerous dog in Victoria, under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic). This cannot be revoked and the dog will be judged dangerous for life, even if it stops being used as a guard dog.

This Act outlines requirements relating to any dog declared dangerous because it is used to guard non-residential premises. For more information see the Domestic Animals Regulations 2005 (Vic).

The Act also empowers us to declare a dog dangerous if:

  • It has caused serious injury to a person. This includes broken bones, severe lacerations and the total or partial loss of feeling or function in part of the body.
  • It has caused serious injury to another animal.
  • It is a menacing dog and the owner has received 2 or more infringement notices for not meeting restraint requirements.
  • It has been declared dangerous in another State or Territory.
  • For any other reason prescribed.

Owners of dangerous dogs must meet a series of obligations to ensure that members of the public are not attacked. There are penalties for non-compliance.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website for detailed information on the responsibilities of keeping dangerous dogs.

Restricted breed dogs

Agriculture Victoria defines certain breeds as restricted if they fit the approved standard for:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier (or Pit Bull Terrier)
  • Perro de Presa Canario (or Presa Canario)
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Fila Brasileiro.

If you own one of these breeds, you must comply with Victorian legislation relating to the control of restricted breed dogs.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website or call them on 136 186 to find out more about:

  • restricted breed dogs
  • animal registration
  • ownership requirements.

Report an attack

Call us on 03 9249 4000 or use our online Report it form to notify us as soon as possible if you or your pet is attacked by a dog.  

For emergency situations involving animal attacks, please call 000 immediately for help.  

More information

Call our Customer Service Centre on 03 9249 4000 for more information. You can learn more about our animal services in: 

Last updated: 29 January 2024 - 3:37pm