Can I Bring My Pit Bull, Staffy, or Rottweiler to France?
In France, there are certain dog breeds that are classified as “dangerous”, and strict rules govern the ownership of these dogs—some breeds are even banned altogether. The rules affect pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, Rottweilers, and other breeds, and also apply to visitors wishing to travel with or move with their pets to France. Here’s what you need to know.
Which dogs are categorised as “dangerous” in France?
In France, there are three different categories of dog breeds:
Category 1: Attack dogs
These dogs are unregistered breeds in France (i.e. they are not registered with the LOF, the French stud book). The following dogs are classed as category 1 breeds:
- American Staffordshire Terrier/Staffordshire Terrier, also known as pit bulls
- Mastiffs, also known as boerbulls
Category 2: Attack dogs
These dogs are registered pure breeds in France (i.e. they are registered with the LOF). The following dogs are classed as category 2 breeds:
- LOF American Staffordshire terrier dogs, also called pit bulls
- LOF Rottweiler dogs
- LOF Tosa dogs
- Dogs assimilated by their morphological characteristics to dogs of the Rottweiler breed, not registered by LOF.
*Note that: The smaller Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not considered dangerous and do not fall into Category 2.
Category 3: All other breeds
All other known dog breeds fall into category 3, divided into 10 sub-groups:
Group 1: Sheep and herding dogs
Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer types, Molossoids, Mountain and Swiss Bouvier Dogs
Group 3: Terriers
Group 4: Dachshunds
Group 5: Spitz and Primitive types
Group 6: Hounds, bloodhounds, and similar breeds
Group 7: Pointers
Group 8: Retrievers and water dogs
Group 9: Companion dogs
Group 10: Greyhounds
What is the difference between Category 1 and Category 2 dogs?
The defining difference between Category 1 and Category 2 dogs is the presence of an official purebred certification – in France, this means being registered with the LOF. For a dog entering France from overseas, you must produce an equivalent certificate of birth or pedigree issued by the central canine society of your dog’s country of origin. The pedigree must be recognised by the International Canina Federation. If no such proof is provided, the dog will be automatically classed as a Category 1 dog and prevented from entering France.
Can I bring a Category 1 and Category 2 dog to France?
It is illegal to own, breed, or sell category 1 dogs in France, and this equally applies to travellers and those moving to France. If you own a category 1 dog, you simply will not be allowed to bring the dog with you to France or import the dog to France.
To legally import or travel with a Category 2 dog to France, there are strict conditions to be met:
- The French Douane (customs) website states: “If you wish to bring a Category 2 dog into France, you must produce a certificate of birth or pedigree issued by the central canine society of the dog’s country of origin in order to prove a pedigree recognised by the International Canine Federation to the customs authorities.
- You must meet the requirements for owning a category 2 dog in France *
- All the other requirements for pet travel must be met (vaccinations, Animal Health Certificate, etc.).
- When in France, Category 2 dog must be muzzled and kept on a leash in all public areas.
*You can see the full requirements for owning a Category 2 dog here and here (in French). Most notably, the owner must have an “Attestation d’aptitude” showing that you have received training to own a guard/defence dog, proof that your dog has undergone a behavioural assessment, and take out third-party insurance for your dog. A ‘permis de detention’ is then issued by your local Mairie upon verification of these documents.
The bottom line:
While travelling to France with a category 2 dog is not prohibited, it is not clear how a foreign owner can obtain an attestation d’aptitude or behavioural assessment. If you must travel with your dog, you should first contact your travel provider to find out whether your dog will be accepted for travel. You can then speak with your local Mairie in France (who may be able to issue a “permis de detention” for your dog) or contact the Centrale Canine for advice on obtaining the relevant documentation.
Have you brought your category 2 dog into France from overseas?
We’d love to hear from you – get in touch with us at [email protected].
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