The United Kingdom is an animal-loving nation, with dogs firmly considered to be a man’s best friend. However, while the vast majority of dog breeds are allowed, there are some that are not.

In fact, in the United Kingdom, just four dog breeds are illegal. These fearsome dogs are banned due to their track record of mauling humans – sometimes to death. This has tragically included children as well.

The four breeds are the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino, and the Fila Brasileiro. These dogs were traditionally bred for the barbaric practice of dog-fighting, which therefore causes a big threat to humans.

These breeds have been banned since the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. Since then, these four breeds, along with any dog that is a cross of these four breeds – has been barred from the country. We profile these four dogs.

Four dog breeds are banned in the United Kingdom

The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991

In 1991, the British Parliament passed the Dangerous Dogs Act. The United Kingdom was one of the very first countries to implement a ban against dogs, with many other countries since following suit.

The act was passed after several high-profile maulings. Six year-old Rucksana Khan was brutally attacked by a pit bull terrier in 1991, in an event which appalled the nation, and proved to be the final straw for ministers.

The four banned breeds all were bred for fighting in the past. As a result, all have incredible jaw strength, resulting in significant damage to humans when attacked.

In the 25 years following the ban, 30 people were killed in dog-related incidents. When any of the four banned breeds are found, they are typically put down, or “destroyed”, as per the act.

The act has proven to be very controversial. The RSPCA has been amongst those to criticise the act, suggesting that the law has failed to work. They have also called for dogs should be investigated on a case-by-case basis, rather than banning entire breed.

Many have also pointed to how many dogs that are seized are actually well-mannered and calm. Due to safety concerns, once seized, many animals don’t get to exercise, which is terrible for dogs.

Pit Bull Terrier

The Pit Bull Terrier, which originated from the United Kingdom, was bred specifically for use in blood sports. They are typically the result of the crossing of a terrier breed and a bull breed.

In fact, these dogs were responsible for 15 fatal attacks in the 10 years leading up to 1991. As a result, they became very notorious for the danger they pose. Despite being banned in the United Kingdom, they are common pets in many countries, including the United States.

Japanese Tosa

While the Japanese Tosa may look rather gentle, this is far from the truth. The Japanese Tosa was also bred for blood sports, and earned the nickname of the “Sumo wrestler” of all dogs, in part due to their potential weight of 200lbs.

The dog is renowned for being bred to attack silently. The Japanese Tosa is also banned in many other nations. Sadly, it continues to be used for dog fighting by depraved individuals.

Dogo Argentino

The fearsome Dogo Argentino originated in Argentina back in 1928. This breed was the product of a range of cross-breeding. They are easily distinguishable by its solid white colour and muscular form.

It was bred to hunt large animals in packs – including puma’s and wild boars. They are incredibly quick dogs. They are banned in a multitude of countries across several continents..

Fila Brasileiro

Fila brasileiro ppk9.jpg

The Fila Brasileiro comes from Brazil. It was originally bred to hunt large animals – including jaguars. It is also known as the Brazilian Mastif. This dog is banned in many nations.

The Fila Brasileiro is innately aggressive when it comes to humans, and gladly attack humans at any given chance. Because of this, the Fila Brasileiro is highly dangerous, and should not be exposed to any humans.

The Takeaway

We all think of a dog as being a man’s best friend. While in many cases this will be true, sometimes dogs can be aggressive towards other animals and humans – with many tragically losing their life due to dog attacks.

As a result, some dog breeds remain banned in the United Kingdom. Questions remain over the effectiveness of the existing legislation, but for now, these dogs will continue to be prohibited.

Fila Brasileiro Picture Credit: By Doglover – Own work, CC BY 3.0,