Dogs truly are wonderful creatures that are amazing companions to us and we never have a dull moment with these fur buddies. However, there are times when one need to travel to other states or perhaps another country, and being a dog parent it is obvious that you cannot leave them behind, so you pack their essentials in a tiny suitcase and let’s be real you babytalk with them while explaining them to behave and you love them. Finally, you give the airlines a call or maybe a private business to have them on board only to realize your loving and adorable fur-child is banned from a certain country. But why? Because according to the government they are one of the dangerous breeds.
Why the ban in Germany?
In the year of 2012, there were two deadly attacks over three months that led to the banning of many dog breeds in 16 states, while it may sound like taking an extreme approach but the attacks were fatal. In one event an elderly lady was killed by a Rottweiler which caused nationwide anger and following that a six-year-old boy was mauled to death by two dogs; American Staffordshire Terrier and a Pitbull Terrier. While the latter attack had to do with the owner as the Pit Bull had bitten someone before this event and it was legally required to wear a muzzle but it was missing, additionally, both the dogs were illegally off-leash. If that was not bad enough, the owner had about 17 convictions for robbery, dog fighting, and other crimes.
Upon seeing the irresponsible and stupid behavior of the owners, the government quickly banned specific breeds, and strict laws were put into action against these ‘killer breeds’. Additionally, the local newspapers also stated something as dog holocaust, where owners would intentionally teach aggression to the dogs to harass, and attack other dogs on the streets. Over these years, these dog breeds are divided into three categories. Petraveller
Category III: Dogs that weigh over 45 pounds or are larger than 16 inches can be owned and stay in Germany but these must be on a leash and these will quickly be jumped to category II if aggression is shown.
Category II: These are considered potentially dangerous dogs, while these can be owned, imported, or bred but they can only do so if they pass a temperament test and haven’t shown aggression in the last three years.
Category I: These are labeled as dangerous or killer breeds that are banned in Germany and importing, breeding, and selling them are illegal and strict action will be taken against the owners. These are allowed in very rare scenarios and even then they must be registered and sterilized.
Moreover, owners who have category II and category III dogs are required to have a red banner placed on their door to identify their premises as having one of these breeds.
Banned Dog breeds in Germany
Now that we know why the ban was put in the first place, let’s see what dog breeds are not allowed here. I will not be mentioning category III dogs because it is simple measurements. American Kennel Club
1. Tosa Inu: Originated from Japan as you can tell by their name, derived from a breed known as Shikoku Inu that was dominant in dog fights that were organized on the Islands of Shikoku in the 14th century, it remained like that until westerners approached with their different dogs and a crossbred between them and Shikoku resulted in Tosa Inu. These are robust dogs that are known for their patience and courage, while it is affectionate towards the family it can act highly aggressively towards strangers and other dogs when untrained. It is in category I.
2. Rottweiler: These are placed in category II. Rottweilers trace back their lineage to Roman Empire where the army required a robust dog that could take down enemies and at the same time be alert as they were required to guard over herds as well. As the ancient empires fell, slowly rottweilers began working as guard dogs and after the railroads, these were used as police dogs in some nations. Though these are affectionate and loyal dogs these can be easily aggravated when not socialized.
3. Doberman: A beloved dog by many but considered as a category II dangerous dog in Germany. Doberman was bred by a tax collector who required a protecting dog to walk along with him on his rounds, though it was slightly different from today’s Doberman, it was its ancestor nonetheless. Due to their protective instinct, these are still used in police K9 units along with German Shepherds. While Doberman is among one of the breeds that are truly balanced and follow commands like no other, destructive training can turn them into killers.
4. Cane Corso: Also known as the Roman Fighting Dog, it is considered a killer breed in Germany and this lands it in category I. It originated in the Roman Empire as well from a breed known as Corsi which was used on battlefields as they would charge the enemy with buckets of oil on their backs which would later be lit for combustion, truly goes to show the cruelty of mankind. Thankfully, that era faded and these took on civilian jobs and slowly became the modern-day Corso. Though these are loyal and protective dogs, they can quickly become overwhelming if the owner is unaware of how to handle a dog and that is when things get bad.
5. Chinese Shar-Pei: With its wrinkly and loose skin one wouldn’t take it for a dangerous dog, however, it is placed in category I of killer dogs. These are among one of the oldest known breeds in China and are believed to be 2000 years old. Shar-Peis used to be a peasants’ dog used for guarding the livestock, and for hunting. These are often described as a challenging breed and can become highly aggressive towards strangers and other unknown dogs, therefore, serious training is highly recommended for them from an early age.
6. Kuvasz: These fluffy and cuddly appearing pooches are considered category II dogs and are famous among Hungarians, however, it is said to be one of the oldest breeds that originated from Turkey and Tibet. These were used as guard dogs for livestock and would keep a watchful eye on the flock for days’ end, not to mention they’d engage in battle with wolves and even armed rustlers. Though these are loyal and amazing at protecting, even experts say they are a challenging breed and for that reason, they are placed under this law.
7. Tibetan Mastiff: Easily one of the most imposing dogs out there, though these stand at 26 inches their thick coat make them appear much larger. This is undoubtedly one of the oldest breeds these are such ancient hounds that no one knows about their origins, but it is said that travelers were gifted this ancient breed in the Himalayas, where they were used as guard dogs and these travelers brought them to other parts of the world which then resulted in all the modern mastiff’s breeds. These category II dogs are great with families and very affectionate, however, extremely territorial which can cause issues if the owner is not witty.
8. Terriers: These include Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire, Staffordshire, and Pit Bull Terriers because these four are almost identical in personality. They do not require any introduction, thanks to bad ownership and misleading media these are deemed as killer dogs no matter how polite they act. Their negative image is portrayed because of their past because they were used as fighting dogs and they were bred to become nothing but aggressive hounds, which is honestly the fault of us humans. These are very trainable dogs, which is either a pro or a con, while they can be trained to be the most loving pooches, unfortunately, people train them to be vile and dangerous, if you want to have these as pets outside Germany, make sure you do your research as these are not easy to handle when treated wrongly. As for their place in Germany, they are in category I.
9. Rhodesian Ridgeback: Resulted from the crossbreeding of various terriers and greyhounds in South Africa. These were hunting dogs that used to take down large game such as antelopes to provide sustenance for the hunters and they were courageous enough that they would even fend off predators such as leopards in the time of need. As game hunting started to die down in Africa in the 1920s, as you can expect, humans found no use for these pups and they were going extinct. Though these are loving and affectionate dogs, given their past they require a firm upbringing from puppyhood and can easily overpower a novice owner and due to this, these are placed in category II.
10. Great Pyrenees: Great Pyrenees or also known as the Pyrenean Mountain dog, were the guard dogs for livestock and used to watch over the sheep for days by sitting on a cold mountain. Though these are very fluffy and vigilant hounds for their pack and family, they become suspicious of strangers quickly and due to this, these are category II dogs.
11. Dogue de Bordeaux: The category I dogs and another breed that is so ancient that their lineage is hard to pinpoint, some claim they originated from mastiffs while other states they derived from terriers. Whatever the case might be, the truth is that these were war dogs and used to fight and take down enemies fearlessly on battlefields in the Roman Empire. While these turn goofy quickly when treated right, they can dominate the owners when not trained properly.
12. Neapolitan Mastiff: These giant drool machines, as you can tell from their name are natives of Italy, perhaps one of the oldest recorded breeds that date backs to 700 B.C., and these mastiffs were used in wars and as guard dogs. Their looks alone were enough to intimidate some intruders, and due to this, these are placed in category I.
13. Akbash: Their name means white head in Turkish, from where they originate. These dogs are highly independent and can be left alone for hours easily and these were used as guard dogs in the past and this instinct remains in them. These can be great with children as well, however, these need to be trained properly and demand a strong owner that can also take care of their sensitive needs and unfortunately, most can’t that is why they are under this law in category II.
14. Briard: Yes, it sounds like cheese but that is because it came from the same region as Brie cheese. By their looks, one wouldn’t be able to guess but these were used as herding dogs initially but the French loved them so much that they were made official war dogs and used to find wounded soldiers on the battlefield and pull supply carts. They are tireless dogs that love to work for hours and this need for work can easily overwhelm some owners as they cannot match their needs, which makes them land in category II.
15. Komondor: Another dog with excessive hair and in category II. Komondors’ dreadlocks are not for show nor do they listen to Bob Marley, but these provide them protection against extreme weather and sharp-toothed predators, which are essential as Komondors were used as guard dogs for sheep in Hungary. This is an independent breed and requires an experienced trainer to teach them the ways or else they will quickly start living their own way.
16. Bandog: Bandog’s origins are unknown but it is theorized that these originated in England during the mid-1200s and these resulted from crossbreeding mastiffs and terriers. These were strictly working dogs and used to be chained the entire day to avoid unnecessary issues. While these are loyal, they require constant training and are not suited for laid-back domesticated households, and for these reasons, they come in category II.
You’d be surprised to know that this is not the complete list, as 15 more banned breeds are not even known or exist in the United States. Fortunately, there are few circumstances in which these dogs are allowed in Germany, but it should be noted that government is very strict with these rules and when broken, one can face legal actions.
- If dangerous breeds are visiting the country, they cannot stay there for more than 4 weeks.
- Breeds that are on this list but are returning to Germany, as they were born there.
- These dogs can stay there if they are used as guard dogs, support dogs, guide dogs, or rescue dogs.
As you can see from the list of the dogs and their behaviors, it is easy to tell that dogs are not the issue. They are animals at the end of the day and will act the way they are born, it is up to us to train them and take care of them to avoid attacks. Will people ever take responsibility for their dogs so that this ban can be lifted? As much as I’d like it, I know people are irresponsible and we might never see a change in this ban.