Do Staffies need to wear muzzles? Well, that’s up to the law, so let’s look at it.
It’s been over thirty years since the government introduced breed-specific legislation in the UK. During this period, hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs have been put to sleep simply because of how they look.
Most people assume that to be a dangerous type of dog, it has to be because of genetics, behaviour, or parentage. The sad truth is that some dogs receive a sentence of death because of their appearance.
NOTE: This page may contain affiliate links, which means Staffy Dog may receive a small commission for anything purchase via these links, at no cost to you. This keeps our tails wagging.
Breed-specific legislation does not adequately safeguard public safety. Year after year, there are more hospital admissions from dog bites, and tragic dog-related deaths have persisted.
Regardless of the ban on some breeds of dogs, there has been a considerable number of dog bites requiring hospital treatment.
The UK’s BSL outlaws the ownership of the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro breeds of dogs. The breeding of these dogs historically links back to fighting. Anyone who owns these dogs must have them muzzled, leashed, registered and neutered.
The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 introduced breed-specific legislation to limit the ownership of specific dog breeds thought to be dangerous to humans.
Note the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not on this list of breeds the government finds dangerous.
Should the police suspect a dog is one of the banned breeds, by looks, they have to follow the law. The dogs are then assessed over weeks, sometimes months, where it’s determined if they are a banned type or not. Some dogs are released back into the care of their owners, while others are euthanised.
Of the ones released back into their owners’ care, some are forced to wear muzzles for the rest of their lives.
Does a Staffy Have to Wear a Muzzle?
There is currently no legal requirement to muzzle your Staffy in the UK. However, as we discussed earlier, a list of breeds wholly prohibited in the UK has been created.
Staffy Muzzle Law UK
And there is an exception to the no muzzle requirement.
Since the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act of 1997, owners informed that their dog falls under one of the dangerous dog categories, or looks like one of the dangerous dogs, may request an exemption order from the court. This means that dogs who appear illegal can undergo a behavioural evaluation. If they pass, it will show that they pose no threat to society.
The Dangerous Dogs Exemption Scheme (England and Wales) Order 2015 permits police to return dogs to their owners during the assessment period while they wait for a court date.
Dogs granted an exemption must always be leashed and muzzled in public.
Staffy Muzzle Laws USA
There are states and provinces in the US that have breed-specific legislation. If your dog breed comes under this legislation, they are considered dangerous and must wear a muzzle and be on a lead in public. Fortunately, the Staffy does not come under the dangerous dog legislation.
Staffy Muzzle Law Australia
When out in public, a dangerous, menacing dog or of a restricted breed must always wear an appropriate dog muzzle and leash. This requirement is there to ensure that an adult can effectively control the dog and that it cannot successfully attack and hurt people in public.
Restricted dogs in Australia include:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Japanese Tosas
- Dogo Argentino
- Filo Brasileiro
- Perro de Presa Canario
Any other breed prohibited by the Customs Act.
There’s no law that specifically mentions the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
What Dogs Have to Be Muzzled in Public
Any dog breed or crossbreed of the dogs referred to in the Dangerous Dogs Act. Your dog’s appearance, not its breed or name, determines whether it belongs to a prohibited breed.
When Should a Staffy Wear a Muzzle?
There are occasions when you might put a muzzle on your Staffy, such as:
- During an emergency
- If there has been a history of biting or even a risk of biting
- A chance of biting if your Staffy feels threatened
- During a grooming session by someone unfamiliar to your Staffy
- A visit to the vet if your Staffy is nervous