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Auckland Council

Menacing and dangerous dogs

He kurī whakamataku mōrearea

Menacing dogs

A dog can be classified as menacing either by their breed or behaviour.

Menacing by breed

The Dog Control Act  automatically classifies dogs that are wholly or predominantly of these breeds as menacing, no matter how they behave individually.

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Brazilian Fila
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Perro de Presa Canario.

We recognise the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a Pit Bull type of dog.

We can exempt your dog from being classified as menacing if you can prove that it is an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You can provide a four generation New Zealand Kennel Club registered pedigree certificate with the microchip number relating to the dog and to the certificate, as proof.

Menacing by behaviour

Any dog can also be classified as menacing by behaviour, regardless of its breed.

This happens when a dog has been proven to be a risk to the public, other animals or protected wildlife.

If we classify your dog as menacing

We will issue a notice of your dog's classification.

Your dog must be:

  • muzzled in public except when in a vehicle or cage
  • neutered or certified unfit to be neutered within one month of being classified as menacing.

Dangerous dogs

A dog can be classified as dangerous, regardless of its breed, if:

  • there is reason to believe that it poses a threat to the safety of any person, animals or protected wildlife based on evidence of aggressive behaviour   
  • the owner has been convicted of an offence due to the dog rushing at a person, animal or vehicle   
  • the owner admits that the dog poses a threat to the safety of any person, animals or protected wildlife.

For more information, see Territorial authority to classify dangerous dogs under the Dog Control Act 1996.

If we classify your dog as dangerous

We will issue a notice of your dog's classification.

Within one month of getting the notice of classification, you must:

  • keep your dog in a fenced area of the property - this area should be separate and fenced from the entry into your property
  • neutered or certified unfit to be neutered before date specified.

Your dog must be:

  • muzzled in public except when in a vehicle or cage
  • on leash, at all times, in public except when in a dog exercise area where it is allowed off leash.

You must:

  • register your dog at 150 per cent of the registration fee that applies to dogs not classified as dangerous
  • not change ownership of your dog without our written consent.

Dogs causing harm

For details on rules and penalties regarding dogs causing harm, see the relevant section from the Dog Control Act 1996.

You should know

If you do not comply with the requirements for keeping dangerous and menacing dogs, you can be fined up to $3000.

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