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What States Ban Pit Bulls

What States Ban Pit Bulls? Pit Bull Ban And Restriction In The US

Are you eager to know what states ban pit bulls in America? If yes, you’re in the right place!

Pit bulls are one of most Americans’ favorite pets, though this is surprising given their aggressive behavior. There are over 4.5 million pit bulls in America alone. Plus, the pit bull accounts for approximately 6% of all the dogs in America.

Furthermore, 69% of Americans are individuals you would classify as “dog-people.” They love dogs and many keep a range of dog breeds at home. However, one-fifth of these same people are seeking a ban on certain breed, with the pit bull topping the list.

So if you’re planning to raise a pit bull, learn about your state’s position on this dog breed before doing so. Raising a pit bull in a state that prohibits it will land you in trouble. You’ll even be in bigger trouble when your dog attacks a stranger.

Read to know the states that prohibit pit bull, the reason for its ban, and other helpful information on this dog breed.

So, What States Ban Pit Bulls?

The prohibition is due to the Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) in such States. It limits or prohibits some breeds of dogs. And it classifies them as vicious or dangerous.

The BSL in towns and cities can range from total bans on owning such dogs to restrictions for ownership. Some states like Iowa have over 90 municipalities that uphold the BSL. Other states like Kentucky have about 30.

It’s best to check the restrictions on pit bulls in any BSL state before you move there. That way, you’ll be able to avoid some municipalities within the state that have banned pit bulls.

Here are states where BLS (Breed-specific Legislation) hasn’t been activated:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Utah
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia

Major Cities Where Ban and restriction Of Pit bulls Is Effective

Note that the following states have placed a ban or restriction on pit bulls.

1: San Francisco, CA:

It’s illegal to keep an unsprayed pit bull in San Francisco. You must also secure permit from animal control before breeding pit bull.

2: New York City, NY:

The situation of pit bull ban in New York is quite dicey. Firstly, the city’s authorities haven’t banned pit bull, but the New York City Housing Authority prohibits pit bull from all its properties.

3: Miami FL:

The law prohibiting the acquisition, bringing, or keeping of pit bull in Miami-Dade County has been in effect since 1990. Violating this law could result in payment of hefty fine or the authorities could euthanize the dog.

4: Washington DC:

In the District of Columbia, there’s no breed restriction. But the case is different for Prince George’s County in Maryland, as there is breed restriction.

Attempts have been made by local activists to alter this law, but that didn’t materialize. The county council even upheld the restriction placed in 2019.

Why Did Many States Ban Pit Bulls?

Many States in the US banned pit bulls because they found them to be aggressive and dangerous. In the past, people raised pit bulls as fighting dogs. So, they were aggressive towards other dogs. Sometimes, the aggressions were also towards humans.

However, the bans are usually because of the looks and previous stereotypes of pit bulls. Most breeds have large heads and an intimidating appearance. So, any severe biting incident can be blamed on them if no one identifies the dog.

Pitbull doesn’t refer to a particular dog breed. Instead, it’s a term that covers some dog breeds from the same lineage.

Pit bulls descended from a mix of terriers and bulldogs. The former is energetic and agile, while the latter has brute strength. And that was a perfect mix to create a fighting dog. 

However, like any other dog, whether a dog becomes aggressive or not depends on its training and socialization.

Pit bulls originated from Great Britain, but the American breeds got introduced after the civil war. There are four main pit bull breeds. But other dog types that share similar characteristics are wrongly classified as pit bulls. And suffer the same fate of getting banned.

Some states placed a total ban on pit bulls, while others placed restrictions. Some of the prohibitions include carrying liability insurance for the dog. You may also have to muzzle him in public or put a dangerous dog sign at home. Some even require microchipping the dog.

How To Identify Various Pit Bull Breeds

There are four main pit bull breeds. Even though they are in the same categories, they have different characteristics. 

Here are the various pit bull breeds.

American pit bull terrier: 

The pit bull terrier is the first dog breed that comes to mind when people think pit bulls. It’s muscular and has a broad head that looks flat. It has noticeable cheek muscles that make it appear like it is smiling. It also has a stocky build.

The dog breed weighs about 30 to 65 pounds and is about 17 to 21 inches tall. Sometimes, it works as a drug-detecting dog or a search and rescue dog.

The breed was previously a dog for farmers and ranchers because of its build. It also makes a loyal, clever, and muscular dog that’s great around kids and other people. However, they are usually not friendly towards other dogs.

The breed has two other varieties known as Red nose or Blue nose American pit bull terrier. 

The two varieties are distinct based on the color of their nose, eyes, and toenails. But they usually have health issues. That’s because some breeders tend to pair them to get more pups with the gene.

Staffordshire bull terrier: 

Here’s the most muscular pit bull breed, but it weighs lesser. It’s short with a height of about 14 to 16 inches and weighs about 24 to 40 pounds. Even though it looks intimidating, it’s more affectionate than other pit bull breeds and loves kids.

It can be challenging to train the dog. So, it’s best for someone with suitable training ability. It’s so because the dog can be stubborn and has excellent stamina.

American Staffordshire terrier:

This pit bull breed is often called an “Amstaff” and has a stocky and muscular body. It doesn’t have a cheeky “smile” and weighs about 40 to 80 pounds. It also has a height of about 17 to 19 inches. 

The breed is usually friendly to strangers and is great with kids. Its friendly nature means it’s not a natural guard dog.

American bully: 

The pit bull breed has a broader and stockier stature than other ones. Its appearance is so distinct that some see it as a different breed altogether. It’s about 13 to 23 inches in height and weighs about 25 to 60 pounds. Some have a higher weight.

The breed’s structure makes it look so muscular, and it has special nutrition requirements. It also has different size categories based on their sizes and stature. They include XL, Classic, Standard, and Pocket. And they are quite expensive.

Banned Dog Breeds And The States


The dog breed is well-built. It also has a strong bite due to its large heads. The dog breed entered the ban list because of irresponsible breeding. Some owners raised them to be aggressive, usually due to a lack of training skills. 

Rottweilers are restricted or banned in several cities. 

They include Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Washington, Montana, Arkansas, Nebraska, Alaska, New York, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Carolina, New Mexico, and North Carolina.


It was known as Wolf Hybrid because it’s part wolf and part dog. It has unpredictable behaviors and requires good training skills.

The cities that ban or restrict wolf-dogs include: 

Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, Colorado, Mississippi, Georgia, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, Michigan, North Dakota, Virginia, and Montana.

Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso): 

The breed is very territorial. It has an incredible hunting drive and so usually kills smaller dogs and cats. That, along with reports of attacks or bites on humans, played a role in its ban. Its prohibition can also be due to its prominent figure and strength.

It’s best to have a high fence at least 6-foot tall to prevent the dog breed from preying on other pets. 

The dog breed is banned or restricted in some cities. They include Washington, South Dakota, Arkansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, and Colorado.


The Akita is known to be aggressive. So, it’s continuously named the aggressor when it encounters other dogs or people.

The breed is restricted or banned in a few cities. They include Tennessee, Louisiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Washington.


The breed looks like a giant teddy bear, but that doesn’t mean everyone thinks it’s cute. 

However, with this breed, training is critical. If it’s not well trained, it can become unfriendly, territorial, and aggressive. So, it’s not allowed in cities that have bans on dangerous dogs. 

Several cities have banned or restrictions on chow-chows. They include Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Michigan, South Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Kentucky.

Doberman pinscher:

The breed is loyal and can be loving and protective. However, their ban is due to the inability of people to train and control their dogs well. 

Some cities ban or restrict Doberman pinschers. They include Wisconsin, Montana, Georgia, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, and Ohio.

German shepherd: 

The breed is stereotyped as aggressive due to its usefulness as a police dog. But that’s not the case if the dog receives proper socialization and training. The dog can get along with children and other dogs if raised properly.

German shepherds are restricted or banned in towns and cities in several states. They include Kansas, Iowa, New Mexico, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Michigan, Mississippi, and Ohio.

American bulldog: 

The restriction or ban on the dog breed may be due to many people seeing it as a pit bull breed. However, it’s a wrong assumption, as the dog is part bull mastiffs and other mastiff varieties. That is a different lineage from pit bull breeds.

The dog can be aggressive due to poor training from its owners. 

The breed has restrictions and bans in several cities. They include New York, Arkansas, Ohio, West Virginia, Colorado, Missouri, Washington, Nebraska, Texas, and Oregon.

Several other dog breeds are restricted or banned in very few towns and cities in the US. They include:

  • Shar-pei
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Alaskan malamute
  • Bull terrier (usually classified as a pit bull breed)
  • Siberian husky
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff, wrongly called “Brazilian fighting dog”).


So what states ban pit bulls? About 40 states in the US have placed a ban on pit bulls. They did so through the BSL, which makes it legal to ban or restrict dog breeds. The prohibition is for vicious breeds. And that includes pit bulls.

Despite these, you can still adopt such breeds. But you need to have good training skills. That’s because they determine how the dogs turn out. Ensure you know the restrictions for the dog in your area. And avoid places with a total ban.

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