Restricted or Banned Dog Breeds by Province in Canada

Canada is one of the top dog-friendly countries in the world. Canadians love their dogs as well as other domestic pets. According to a 2023 estimate, thirty-five percent of Canadian households own a dog while thirty-eight percent own a cat.

A Pit Bull and a Rottweiler

Notwithstanding the Country's pet-friendliness, some provinces in Canada ban or restrict certain dog breeds that are deemed dangerous or aggressive. This ban or restriction is in place in several Canadian cities to protect citizens from inadvertent dog attacks. So, before adopting a dog in Canada, it is important to check if the breed is legal to own in your province or city. The same advice applies to people who are planning to move to Canada with their dogs.

Ontario, Canada

Currently, the Canadian province of Ontario has a Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that bans residents from owning Pit bulls, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Pit Bull Terriers.

In 2005, the province of Ontario passed this Breed Specific Legislation, under which if a dog is found to be a pit bull, it would either be transferred out of the province or be put down, regardless of whether the dog has prior offenses.

However, pit bulls that have been owned before or on the day the law was enacted in 2005 are considered restricted pit bulls in Ontario and are allowed to remain in the province. Also, Pit bulls that were born in Ontario before the end of the 3-month period beginning on the day (29/08/2005) the law was enacted are allowed to remain in the province.

Owners of restricted Pit bulls in Ontario are required by law to comply with the requirements and regulations that relate to restricted pit bulls. 

Pit bulls are banned from being imported to Ontario, Canada. However, a restricted pit bull owner who leaves Ontario with his or her pit bull and returns to Ontario within 3 months is not importing that pit bull into the province, according to Dog Owners’ Liability Act.

After the law was passed in 2005, many pit bulls and other dogs that look like pit bulls, such as Dogo Argentinos, Boxers, and Bullmastiffs have been seized in Ontario. But fortunately, in November 2021, Ontario’s pit bull ban regulations were updated, allowing dogs who have been seized in the province just because they resembled pit bulls or possessed similar characteristics to pit bulls to be returned to their owners while a breed designation test is performed, according to Toronto Humane Society.

The provincial ban on pit bulls, however, is not effective in the City of Ottawa, meaning pit bulls are legal to own in Ottawa. The City of Ottawa's by-law requires that restricted pit bulls be spayed or neutered and be leashed and muzzled in public. 

Quebec, Canada

In 2018, Quebec abandoned its ban on pit bulls and Rottweilers in Bill 128. However, in 2020, a new dangerous dog law, which did not target a specific breed of dog, was enacted in Quebec. Under this new law, a dog that bites a person in an unprovoked attack would be assessed by a veterinarian and declared dangerous or not. Quebec law requires that dangerous dogs be vaccinated, microchipped, sterilized, and muzzled in all public places, according to Montreal Times.

Unfortunately, Quebec municipalities have been given the authority to adopt their own stricter rules if they see fit. Consequently, many cities and towns in Quebec have banned or restricted Pit bulls and Rottweilers. These cities and towns include but are not limited to Anjou, Candiac, Brossard, La Prairie, Drummondville, Outremont, Saguenay, Rimouski, Longueuil, Chibougamau, Baie-Comeau, La Tuque, Amos, B├ęcancour, Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu, and Sherbrooke.

British Columbia, Canada

In the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and American Pit Bull Terriers are automatically considered vicious. In addition, any dog that attacks a person or animal without provocation is considered vicious or aggressive in Vancouver.

As of January 1, 2023, the City of Vancouver requires that dog owners apply for and obtain an aggressive dog license if their dog is deemed aggressive by the Provincial Court of BC. Similar regulations are in place in the cities of Surrey, Nanaimo, Maple Ridge, Fort Nelson, Elkford, Enderby, Fernie, Nelson, Osoyoos, and Trail.

Alberta, Canada

The province of Alberta does not have Breed Specific Legislation. However, a dog is deemed restricted in Alberta if it attacks a person or another animal without provocation. Breeds that are more often reported to be involved in attacks on people in Alberta include Pit bulls, Mastiffs, Rottweilers and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

In the City of Edmonton, restricted dog owners must have a "Restricted Dog License" and a minimum of $1,000,000 liability insurance covering their dogs.

Manitoba, Canada

While many municipalities in Manitoba province have Dangerous Dog bylaws, the city of Winnipeg and the Township of Macdonald ban American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers.

Saskatchewan, Canada

Rottweilers, Dobermans and Pit Bulls and banned or restricted in some communities in Saskatchewan including Moosomin and the village of Clavet. The Town of Biggar specifically bans American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Akita Inus, and any dog that possesses physical characteristics to the aforementioned breeds.

Nova Scotia, Canada

Some communities in Nova Scotia have fierce and dangerous dog bylaws while others ban or restrict pit bulls and Rottweilers.

New Brunswick, Canada

There are currently no breed-specific bans in the province of New Brunswick. However, there may be some restrictions on owning pit bulls in certain municipalities.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador does not ban any breed of dog. However, any dog that is found to be dangerous in the province may be "destroyed."

Prince Edward Island, Canada

In Prince Edward Island, the Township of Montague bans or restricts Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.

Northwest Territory, Canada

Numerous communities in Northwest Territory have dog control bylaws. A dog is deemed "vicious or a public nuisance in Northwest Territory if it bites a person or domesticated animal in an unprovoked attack. Similar vicious dog bylaws are in place in the territories of Yukon and Nunavut.

Overall, Pit bulls and Rottweilers are the top dog breeds that are commonly restricted or banned in Canada.


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