11 Countries Where German Shepherd Dogs Are Banned or Restricted
German Shepherds are one of the world’s most popular and in-demand dogs—and for good reason. They are intelligent, devoted, strong, energetic, and courageous. They are also excellent herders and do well in search-and-rescue operations and drug detections.
All these qualities make them the most preferred police and military service dogs. One could go on endlessly about how great they are, but unfortunately, some insurance companies list them in the "dangerous dog breeds" category, and they are banned or restricted in many countries.
Countries That Ban or Restrict German Shepherds
- United States
- United Arab Emirates
Let's take a closer look at each country's restrictions.
1. The United States
Around 75 dog breeds are categorized as dangerous or banned. The list of all banned breeds can be obtained from the American Kennel Club's official site. According to some studies and statistics on dog biting, German Shepherds and mixes, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, Dobermans, and Rottweilers are at the top of list of most dangerous dogs, and they are restricted in Florida.
Ireland's Control of Dogs Act 1986, amended by the Control of Dogs (Amendment) Act 1992, is responsible for the control of all dog breeds and the establishment of a pet legislation and court proceedings against owners. They also place German Shepherds in the dangerous dog breed category. According to Irish regulations, dogs must be kept on a short and strong leash by the owner in public and common places, and the owner must be over 16-years-old and should be capable of controlling their pet. The dogs must also be muzzled whenever they are in a public.
German Shepherds are listed as a dangerous dog breed and Ukrainian laws forbid owning them due to their large size and aggressive/protective nature. They are also sometimes used for illegal dog fighting.
Around 40 dog breeds, including German Shepherds, are considered dangerous and banned in Belarus. Also, minors and people with disabilities are not permitted to own certain breeds.
Maldives has a ban on all mastiff and large shepherd dogs, including the German Shepherd.
6. United Arab Emirates
The Federal National Council (FNC) is the federal authority of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is in charge of laws regarding the ownership of specific dog breeds and other mammals and birds. In the UAE, someone who is found guilty of possessing an illegal animal can get up to a year of imprisonment and/or needs to pay up to Dh1 million in fines and penalties (approximately $300k). The FNC identifies the German Shepherd as a potentially dangerous dog breed, and they are restricted in the country.
German Shepherds are restricted in Romania. According to Romanian law, you must be at least 18-years-old to own dangerous dog breeds like Boerboels, Bandogs, Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, Tosa Inus, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Dogo Argentinos, and German Shepherds. The owner must also have a psychiatrist certificate to prove that he/she is mentally stable and skilled enough to own a dangerous dog. The dog must also be muzzled whenever they are in public places.
German Shepherds and eight other dog breeds are restricted in Malaysia. They include Bull Mastiffs, Bull Terriers, Dobermans, Alsatians like Belgian Shepherds and East European Shepherds, Perro de Presa Canarios (Canary Dogs), and Rottweilers.
German Shepherds are listed in the restricted dog category in Singapore, and owners must keep them muzzled and leashed when in public. The dog must be also be microchipped and spayed or neutered. Owners also have to declare insurance of a minimum of $100,000. Singapore recently added restrictions that state German Shepherds must be kept in the owner's premises and should have obedience training.
GSDs are not banned but they are restricted in Iceland. A temperament evaluation may be required for large breeds or dogs that display aggressive tendencies, and German Shepherds are listed as aggressive. Travelers are also not allowed to bring GSDs into the Iceland.
Dog breeds are separated into three different categories in Bermuda: prohibited, restricted and non-restricted.
- Prohibited breeds may not be imported or bred.
- Restricted breeds can be imported or bred, but there are restrictions on ownership.
- Non-Restricted breeds can be imported or bread without any condition or restriction.
The Department of Environmental Protection of Bermuda released the list of 20 banned dog breeds in 2003, which was modified in the year 2011 and 8 dog breeds including German Shepherds was moved from Unrestricted to restricted breeds.
Other Names for the German Shepherd
The German Shepherd was first developed in Germany in 1899 by Horand von Grafrath, and the breed was called Deutscher Schäferhund in German. Although they are best known as "German Shepherds" (GSDs), they are also recognized by other names.
- Alsatian Wolf Dog
- Deutscher Schäferhund (DSH)
- Berger Allemand
Why Do Some Countries Ban German Shepherds?
Every country has breed-specific legislation (BSL) to ban specific breeds that are identified as being potentially dangerous in public places or used for illegal activities like dog fighting. German Shepherds are often banned in countries that identify them as "aggressive." Of course, this is debatable. It makes you wonder whether there are other dog breeds not on the ban list that could be a threat to kids and other pets in public places.
5 Common Reasons for Breed-Specific Legislations (BSL)
There are a number of reasons why some countries feel they must ban a specific dog breed.
- Dog Bite Statistics Report: Breeds that have a history of aggressively biting and/or breeds with the most damaging bites.
- Tendency Toward Aggression: Breeds that have a tendency to attack people or those that can be a risk to public safety.
- Used for Illegal Activities: Some excellent breeds are unfortunately used for illegal activities like dogfighting and are, therefore, banned.
- Rare or Unrecognized Breeds or Wolf Hybrid Dogs: In many countries, cross breeds or mutts are banned because people believe they have unpredictable behavior. If a certain breed is banned, mixing it with a legal breed will also make the mixed dog illegal.
- Poor History: Dogs that have poor health or behavior records are banned. In specific countries with extreme weather, specific dogs that will not do well in the climate will not be allowed to live there.
Do you support a ban on specific dog breeds?
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