Dangerous Dogs

Ownership of certain breeds in Portugal is restricted; find out here all you need to know as a dog owner...

Some breeds have been identified by the Portuguese authorities as potentially dangerous. This relates to their size and jaw strength and a natural inclination to be aggressive. To ensure public safety, legislation was updated in 2013 (Decree 46/2013) to reduce the risk these animals may pose.

For the purposes of this law, potentially dangerous dogs are:

  • Those which have bitten, attacked or injured a person
  • Those which have seriously injured or killed another animal
  • Those of specific breeds (or cross-bred with one of the specified breeds)

Dangerous dog breeds include:

  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Tosa Inu
  • Rottweiler
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Further information on dangerous dog breeds in Portugal is available from the Attorney General, District of Lisbon website (in Portuguese)

Responsibilities of the owner of a dangerous dog

The keeper of the dog must hold a special licence, which is issued by the Junta de Freguesia in the local district. To apply for the licence the owner of the dog must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • confirm the housing of the animal, the security implemented and the historical aggressiveness of the dog
  • have no criminal record
  • have civil liability insurance

The licence must be transferred if the keeper moves house and can be requested by the authorities at any time.

The licencee is responsible for:

  • maintaining the security of the dog and preventing its escape
  • placing a sign at the entrance to the property clearly stating that there is a potentially dangerous dog on the premises
  • never leaving the dog alone in a public place
  • always keeping the dog on a lead and harness in public; the lead must be no more than one metre in length from the collar to the handler
  • attending socialisation training with a DGV certified trainer when the dog is 6-12 months of age (this is required to get civil liability insurance)
  • The Rotweiller Clube de Portugal has further information (in Portuguese)