Potentially Dangerous Dogs

“Potentially Dangerous” (Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos).

Such dogs are defined as follows by Royal Decree 287/2002 (a continuation of 50/1999); there is also a Canarian law, and your local Ayuntamientos too will often have their own, usually stricter, criteria beyond this generic descriptions in the national and regional legislation:




1. Those belonging to any of the following breeds and their crosses:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Tosa Inu
  • Akita Inu

2. Those animals that have all or many of the following characteristics:Strong musculature, powerful or athletic constitution, robustness, agility, vigour and endurance.

  • Strong character and marked courage.
  • Short hair.
  • Thoracic perimeter between 60 and 80 cm, shoulder height of between 50 and 70 cm, and weight over 20 kg.
  • Voluminous, square, robust head, with a wide and large skull and muscular and pronounced cheeks. Strong and large jaws, robust, wide and deep snout.
  • Broad, short and muscled neck.
  • Broad, thick, deep chest, with arched ribs and short and muscled back.
  • Straight, parallel and robust forelegs and muscular hindquarters, with relatively long hindlegs at a moderate angle.

3. Those dogs with a record of aggressive tendencies or prior attacks on humans or other animals.

All dogs deemed by law to be potentially dangerous must be taken out on a lead, and this must be a fixed lead of a maximum 2 metre length, not an extendible one, and they must also wear a muzzle. They must be tied up even on private property that is not fully enclosed; and their owners must have a licence and public liability insurance of €150,000, proof of which must be carried with them when they walk their dog.

Fines or infringement of these rules vary from municipality to municipality, but are considerable, and can go from double figures up to €15,000 for anyone who fails to comply with the law. Fines at the lower end are for owners who do not muzzle such dogs; top end fines will be for failing to register and not having insurance, repeated offences, and so on.

The rules for dogs deemed potentially dangerous, are:

  • owners cannot be children
  • owners must not have a criminal record
  • owners must register their dog with their local town hall and pay a local tax when they do so
  • owners must be physically and psychologically accredited by their local Ayuntamiento
  • owners must have public liability insurance to a minimum of €150,000

Ayuntamientos will create a file for the animal. It will include photographs (owners supply two when they register the dog) and record the number of its chip.

To the best of our knowledge the above is true and accurate but rules/laws change from time to time. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure registration criteria has not changed.  We do not accept liability for misinformation.