Can You Legally Get Any Dog You Want?


The US is famous for being a dog-loving country.

There are around 75 million pet dogs in the USA and that speaks volumes. America is also known as the land of the free. But the question needs to be asked: are Americans free to the point that they can get whatever dog they want?


Are all kinds of dogs allowed in the US? Can you just buy the most menacing terrier you can find and roam free? How about a Dogo Argentino? As often is the case – the answer varies greatly from where you are in the US.

Most countries have very elaborate dog-restricting laws in action. Most of them are concerned with safety. Hence, your typical Pit Bull, Bull Mastiff are banned across the board. However, some laws in various countries are preoccupied with protecting breeds. Some are simply difficult to adapt to that specific climate or are used for illegal purposes (dog fighting) and so on. 

The United States has not enacted legislation banning specific breeds.

Apart from regulations in the Marine Corps, the Navy, Air Force and the Army – the types of dogs you can buy vary from state to state. Pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, Dogo Argentinos are generally banned in many cities across the USA states. The bans come with various descriptions. For example, a city of Overland Park, Kansas, passed a law banning several dog breeds. The law concluded that “No person shall own, keep, or harbor any dangerous animal in the City of Overland Park”. The above-listed breeds are, obviously, included in that list of ‘dangerous animals’. Some of such laws are extremely detailed. They specify the weight, size or age of dogs that are permitted to own. A law in Sioux City, Iowa, says, that Pit Bull owners can keep their registered dog, but cannot replace it with another Pit Bull when it dies. 

There’s another way to see how ‘dangerous’ breeds of dogs are being banned in the US. It is through analyzing the airline policies. United Airlines had introduced a program called PetSafe, which, among other thigs, specified the types of dogs which are banned from traveling via these airlines. And here we have our old friends – the Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino and a few more. 

The numerous Pit Bull owners immediately called such a ruling as discrimination.

It may very well be so, however, this is something people across the globe have to put up with for a really long time. In some provinces in Canada owning and breeding of Pit Bulls has been banned over 10 years ago. And the UK has enacted similar laws in 1991! 

It is worth saying, that more than anything – a dog owner makes a dog aggressive or dangerous. It is hard to imagine a properly trained Pit Bull to suddenly become aggressive and spontaneously attack everyone. While regulating dog breeds might be a generally good idea – taking a closer look at people who own dogs may be more important. Certainly, not everyone can own a potentially aggressive dog. Similarly, there are definitely people who are great pet owners, regardless if this is a Poodle or an American Staffordshire Terrier.