Dangerous Dogs

Understand French-speaking Geneva's position on dangerous dogs: which breeds are deemed dangerous and the laws that surround them...

As of 25 February 2008, certain breeds of dog are considered dangerous and are illegal to keep without permission in Geneva. These breeds include the:

  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boerbull
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane corso
  • Dogue argentin
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Fila brasileiro
  • Mastiff
  • Spanish mastiff
  • Neopolitain mastiff
  • Pitbull
  • Presa canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Thaï Ridgeback Dog
  • Tosa

Dogs cross-bred with any of the above breeds are also illegal.

Dogs weighing over 25 Kg, dogs that have already bitten or attacked a person or another dog, and dogs trained to attack are also considered potentially dangerous and must be declared to the authorities. These dogs will be assessed for behaviour and the owner's ability to control it.

If already living in Geneva at the time the ban was put into effect, a banned dog may remain in Geneva, but must be declared to authorities and permission to keep it must be obtained.

These dangerous dogs must wear a muzzle and be on a lead at all times when not confined. They must also be neutered or spayed to prevent breeding.

Application to keep a dangerous dog in Geneva

Application must be made to the Veterinary Affairs Service (Service de la consommation et des affaires vétérinaires/SCAV)

  • Service de la consommation et des affaires vétérinaires/SCAV
    : 22 Quai Ernest Ansermet
    Case postale 76
    1211 Geneva 4
    Tel: +41 (0)22 327 39 00
    Fax: +41 (0)22 327 39 89

The following documents are required for application to keep a dangerous dog in Geneva (autorisation d'acquisition et de détention d'un chien potentiellement dangereux):

  • certificate of liability insurance in the name of the owner of the dog
  • a copy of the ANIS (microchip) registration, which must be in the name of the owner
  • a copy of proof of payment of a current dog licence (médaille) for the dog
  • a copy (front and back) of the owner's identity card
  • a veterinary certificate certifying that the animal has been sterilised

If permission to keep a dangerous dog is granted, the holder must fulfil the following requirements:

  • the dog must be taken at least 3 times per month, until the puppy is 24 months old, to education courses offered by an approved instructor
  • a quarterly report of the dog's progress at its education course must be submitted to the cantonal veterinary offices
  • every year after the dog is 3-years old, the owner must submit an assessment report detailing the owner's control of the dog. This report must be prepared by a licenced educator
  • the owner of the dangerous dog may not own another dog of any breed, without written authorisation from the canton

The canton of Geneva's Office of Veterinary Affairs offers comprehensive information about the process.