A: Breed-specific legislation (BSL), also referred to as breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL), is a law or ordinance that prohibits or restricts the keeping of dogs of specific breeds, dogs presumed to be specific breeds, mixes of specific breeds, and/or dogs presumed to be mixes of one or more of those breeds. The most drastic form of BSL is a complete ban; but BSL also includes any laws or governmental regulations that impose separate requirements or limitations, including but not limited to: mandatory spay-neuter, mandatory muzzling, liability insurance requirements, special licensing and additional fees, mandatory microchipping or tattoos, owner / walker age requirements, property posting requirements, confinement and leash requirements, breed-specific pet limits, sale or transfer notification requirements, restrictions on access to certain public spaces with the dog [e.g.: public parks, school grounds], required town-issued items [e.g.: fluorescent collar; vest], training requirements, requirement that photos of the dog and/or owner be kept on town file. BSL, in all of its forms, results in the destruction of many pet dogs.
A: Various breeds have been or currently are targeted by BSL. Until the law was repealed in 2009, Italy regulated the keeping of 17 breeds. In the United States, jurisdictions have either banned or put discriminatory restrictions on one or all of the following: Akita, “Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs”, Alaskan Malamute, “American Bandogge”, American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Belgian Malinois, Bullmastiff, Bull Terrier, Cane Corso, Chihuahua, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, Dogo Argentino, “Fila Brasileiro”, German Shepherd Dog, Miniature Bull Terrier, Neapolitan Mastiff, "Pit bull" (please note that "pit bull" is not a breed of dog), Perro de Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Shar Pei, Siberian Husky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, “Tosa Inu”, and wolf-hybrids. These ordinances also target dogs suspected of being mixes of one or more of the named breeds.
A: All of the following organizations do not endorse BSL:
American Animal Hospital Association, American Bar Association, American Dog Owner's Association, American Humane Association, American Kennel Club, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Australian Veterinary Association, Best Friends Animal Society, British Veterinary Association, Canadian Kennel Club, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federation of Veterinarians in Europe, Humane Society of the United States, International Association of Canine Professionals, National Animal Control Association, National Animal Interest Alliance, National Association of Obedience Instructors, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK & Australia), United Kennel Club, and the White House Administration. In addition, many state and local-level veterinary medical associations and humane organizations oppose BSL.
A: There is no evidence from the controlled study of dog bites that one kind of dog is more likely to bite a human being than another kind of dog. A recent AVMA survey covering 40 years and two continents concluded that no group of dogs should be considered disproportionately dangerous. Additionally, in a recent multifactorial study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on the exceptionally rare events of dog bite-related fatalities, the researchers identified a striking co-occurrence of multiple, controllable factors in these cases. Breed was not identified as a factor.
• Denver, CO enacted a breed-specific ban in 1989. Citizens of Denver continue to suffer a higher rate of hospitalization from dog bite-related injuries after the ban, than the citizens of breed-neutral Colorado counties.
• The Netherlands repealed a 15-year-old breed ban in 2008 after commissioning a study of its effectiveness. The study revealed that BSL was not a successful dog-bite mitigation strategy because it had not resulted in a decrease in dog bites. 
• The Province of Ontario in Canada enacted a breed ban in 2005. In 2010, based on a survey of municipalities across the Province, the Toronto Humane Society reported that, despite five years of BSL and the destruction of "countless" dogs, there had been no significant decrease in the number of dog bites.
• Winnipeg, Manitoba enacted a breed ban in 1990. Winnipeg’s rate of dog bite-injury hospitalizations is virtually unchanged from that day to this, and remains significantly higher than the rate in breed-neutral, responsible pet ownership Calgary
A: There is a growing awareness that BSL does not improve community safety and penalizes responsible dog owners and their family companions. From January 2012-May 2014, more than seven times as many American communities have either considered and rejected a breed-specific ordinance, or repealed an existing one, as have enacted BSL. Massachusetts, Nevada, Connecticut, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah have recently enacted state laws that prohibit their towns and counties from regulating dogs on the basis of breed. Eighteen states now prohibit BSL. The White House Administration has announced its opposition to BSL, stating that “research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.”
A: The trend in prevention of dog bites continues to shift in favor of multifactorial approaches focusing on improved ownership and husbandry practices, better understanding of dog behavior, education of parents and children regarding safety around dogs, and consistent enforcement of dangerous dog/reckless owner ordinances in communities. Effective laws hold all dog owners responsible for the humane care, custody, and control of all dogs regardless of breed or type.
Updated 11 August 2014
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 AVMA Animal Welfare Division. (17 April 2012). The Welfare Implications of The Role of Breed in Dog Bite Risk and Prevention. Retrieved from:https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Documents/dog_bite_risk_and_prevention_bgnd.pdf
 Patronek, G.J., Sacks, J.J., Delise, K.M., Cleary, D.V., & Marder, A.R. (2013). Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 243(12), 1726-1736.
 Patronek, G.J., Slater, M., & Marder, A. (2010). Use of a number-needed-to-ban calculation to illustrate limitations of breed-specific legislation in decreasing the risk of dog bite-related injury.. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,237(7): 788-792.
 National Canine Research Council. (2013). Denver’s Breed-Specific Legislation: Brutal, Costly, and Ineffective. Retrieved from:http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/Denver%20BSL%20Brutal,%20Costly,%20and%20Ineffective%20_%20Aug%202013.pdf
 Rosado, B., García-Belenguer, S., León, M., & Palacio, J. (2007). Spanish dangerous animals act: Effect on the epidemiology of dog bites. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2(5): 166-174.
 Cornelissen, J.,M., & Hopster, H. (2010). Dog bites in the Netherlands: a study of victims, injuries, circumstances and aggressors to support evaluation of breed specific legislation. Veterinary Journal, 186(3): 292-298.
 Peat, D. (2010, April 28). Pit bull ban fails to reduce dog bites. The Toronto Sun. Retrieved from:http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/04/28/13753106.html
 National Canine Research Council. (2012). Winnipeg, Manitoba Far Behind Calgary in Community Safety. Retrieved from:http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/Winnipeg,%20Manitoba%20far%20behind%20Calgary%20in%20community%20safety_July%209,%202012.pdf
 National Canine Research Council. (2014). Breed-Specific Legislation is on the Decline. Retrieved from:http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/Breed%20specific%20legislation%20on%20the%20decline.pdf
 The White House. (2013). Breed-Specific Legislation Is a Bad Idea. Retrieved from:https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/ban-and-outlaw-breed-specific-legislation-bsl-united-states-america-federal-level/d1WR0qcl