Are Pit Bulls Illegal In The UK? (Why & When Banned)

American Pit Bull Terrier looking at the camera
American Pit Bull Terrier

Well, I must admit I love all dog breeds, and yes, it’s a shame that some have a terrible reputation. I personally dont have an opinion if they should or shouldn’t be banned. I shall let the experts decide! Plus, since it’s a sensitive issue to all that’s involved. Like you, I have researched this as I also wanted to know if they are banned, and I can now share my findings with you all. Let’s find out if they are illegal, and if so, why? When?

Pit Bulls are illegal, and you must not breed, own, abandon or sell a Pit Bull in the united kingdom under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

This includes Northern Ireland.

When were Pit Bulls made illegal?

The UK government banned American Pit Bull Terriers in 1991 under the dangerous dog’s acts.

Why was the Pit Bull banned?

The UK Government banned the Pit Bull breed due to several unprovoked attacks on humans. There were fifteen severe attacks in ten years starting from 1981 in England and Wales.

About The American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier puppy yawning
American Pit Bull Terrier puppy

Pit Bulls originally were bred from the Old English Bulldogs, and they became popular in the British Isles back in the 1800s. Pit Bulls were used in a cruel blood sport called bull baiting. In 1936 the American Pit Bull Terriers became popular with the US ranchers and farmers. They were perfect for protection, companionship, and catching hogs and cattle.

  • Weight Male: 16 – 30 KG
  • Weight Female: 14 – 27 KG
  • Life Expectancy: 8 – 15 years
  • Height Male: 45 – 53 cm
  • Height Female: 43 – 50 cm
  • Origin: UK, USA
  • Temperament: Clownish, Stubborn, Strong-Willed, Affectionate, Friendly, Obedient, Intelligent, Loyal, Courageous
  • Colours: Black, White, Brindle, Fawn, Tan, Grey, Blue, Brown, Red

Other banned dangerous dog breeds in the UK?

Japanese Tosa

Japanese Tosa standing on grass
Japanese Tosa

Originated from a city called Tosa in Shikoku, one of Japan’s five main islands. Japanese Tosa was bred primarily as a fighting dog. Not just the UK banned the Japanese Tosa, but other countries have also banned the breed.

Weight: 36 – 61 KG
Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years
Height: 62 – 82 cm
Origin: Japan
Temperament: Suspicious, Intelligent Fearless, Sensitive, Aggressive, Brave
Colours: Red, Brindle, Fawn and Black

Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentino standing on rocks at the beach
Dogo Argentino

Originated from Argentina, the Dogo Argentino are usually white, with big muscles. They were bred primarily for hunting big-game, like wild boar. They are fearless and very protective of their human companions.

Weight Male: 40 – 45 KG
Weight Female: 35 – 40 KG
Life Expectancy: 10 – 15 years
Height Male: 60 – 68 cm
Height Female: 60 – 65 cm
Origin: Argentina
Temperament: Affectionate, Friendly, Cheerful, Loyal, Protective, Tolerant, Fearless
Colours: White

Fila Brasileiro

Fila Brasileiro tan colour standing
Fila Brasileiro

Originated from Brazil, the Fila Brasileiro is a large dog breed. They were mainly used for hunting. The unique hunting ability is that they dont attack the prey they trap it wait for their human companion to arrive on the scene.

Weight Male: 64 – 82 KG
Weight Female: 57 – 73 KG
Life Expectancy: 9 – 11 years
Height Male: 65 – 75 cm
Height Female: 60 – 70 cm
Origin: Brazil
Temperament: Docile, Obedient, Determined, Loyal, Courageous, Brave
Colours: Black, Brindle, Yellow, Red

Other dog breeds that share similar reputations that are not banned

Resources: Confirmation found here from the UK government


I hope I have answered your question are Pit Bulls illegal. However, I generally believe that all dogs can change their ancestry ways. How you bring them up and how they have been trained can impact a dogs behaviour and temperament. Although, we have to appreciate that The UK Government thinks they aren’t worth the risk to the public.

Sharing is a good thing to do!

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