Menacing Dogs

The following breeds/crossbreeds of dogs are classified as menacing and cannot be imported into
New Zealand:

  • Brazilian Fila
  • American Pitbull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Presa Canario

Menacing dogs are required to be microchipped, neutered and muzzled as well as kept on a leash in
public places.

American Pitbull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier Information

The American Pitbull terrier is a “type” of dog that is listed in Schedule 4 of the Dog Control Act 1996. 
This type along with four other “breeds,” were in 2003 classified in legislation as “Menacing Dogs.”

The American Pitbull terrier is listed as a “type” of dog and not a “breed” due to the New Zealand Kennel Club not recognising it as such.  Due to this there are no recognised breed standards  It is also accepted the Pitbull is made up of several different breeds including bulldogs and English Staffordshire terriers.

The exception is where NZ Kennel Club papers can show four generations of American Staffordshire Terrier lineage.

Please note that we do not accept genetic tests as proof of breed or type of dog.

Due to the inability to differentiate between the two, the American Staffordshire terrier is also seen as a Pitbull type and attracts the same effects and restrictions.

The American Pitbull terrier is classified as a Menacing Dog under the provisions of section 33C of the Dog Control Act 1996.  The main effects of the classification are as follows;

  • If the dog is in any public place it must be wearing a muzzle.
  • As with any dog it must be microchipped.
  • The dog must be de-sexed within one month of being classified as a Menacing Dog.

Should the above effects not be complied with, the owners of the dog may face action being taken against them. In the case of the wearing of muzzles and microchips, Infringement Notices may be served. In the case of the dog not being de-sexed, Animal Control staff may seized and impound the dog until such time the owner complies. 

Animal Control officers may under the provisions of section 33EC of the Act enter onto the owners property for the purpose of seizing the dog.

Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:10am