Are Pitbulls Illegal in Ontario Canada?

Are Pitbulls banned in Ontario? You may open this page to find out that important information. If so, you have to read this entire article to get the information you need. Here we are going to share some information about that.

Are Pitbulls Illegal in Ontario?

In 2005, after a Toronto man was attacked by two pit bulls, legislation was passed that made it illegal to own, import, or breed a pitbull in Ontario, Canada. The owners who already had a pitbull were forced to sterilize and muzzle their dogs.

On November 21, 2019, a bill was introduced to repeal the ban. The Bill 147, known as the Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act was sent to committee to be discussed further. Since that, no updates have been made on the issue. After months of waiting, some people in Toronto are calling for a decision. It is about time the ban is lifted.

Are Pitbulls Illegal in Ontario Canada

List of the Dogs Banned by the Ontario Government

Ontario, Canada has passed laws the regulate which dogs are allowed in the province. The laws not only apply to the dogs owned by Ontario residents, but also to the dogs that owners bring through the province during transit. Based on the government, the law was apply into place to make people safer by protecting them from potentially harmful and violent dogs.

Here is a list of the dogs banned by the Ontario Government:

  • Pit Bull

The dog law in Ontario, Canada that bans specific canines is a part of the Dog Owners' Liability Act. The encouragement of the dog ban is aimed specifically at pit bulls. A clause in the legislation, that came into effect in 2005, permits the owners who had pit bulls prior to the enactment to keep their dogs. But, the law also needs the owners to sterilize the dogs and always leash and muzzle the dogs when away from home.

  • Pit Bull Relations

Other dogs that closely related to the pitbull breed are covered by the law which bans pitbulls. Based on the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario's site, three other specific breeds are included in the ban. All prohibited breeds are the Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and the American pit bull terrier.

  • Dangerous Dogs

The dogs in Ontario, Canada that cause a threat to people are banned. It means that any dog that has bitten a person in the province could potentially be dangerous. This makes in the court-mandated protective measures, that include a court order for the annihilation of the dog.

  • Dogs that Look Like Pitbulls

An essential distinction in the law in Ontario, Canada is that a dog falls under the pitbull law, even if it is not a pit bull but could be mistaken for one. This case gives the lawmakers and enforcement officers the right to report a dog illegally if it resembles the breed, even though if its bloodline does not conform to the breeds already mentioned. Unless an owner of the dog is able to prove that his dog is purebred and belongs to a breed not related to the pitbull, the owner could be at risk of losing any dog that closely resembles a pitbull.

Lots of countries around the world have a blanket ban on the import of some dog breeds that are deemed aggressive or dangerous. The ban is applied to protect the folk from dog attacks. If you are planning to travel to Canada with your dog, it is very important for you to know if your pet is on the list of banned breeds before making pet travel plans.

Actually, Canada does not have a blanket ban on any aggressive dog breeds. But, some provinces in Canada prohibit certain harmful dog breeds. If you are planning to relocate to Canada with your pet, the first step is to know whether your pet is on the banned list in the province you are travelling to.


In the province of Manitoba, Winnipeg has breed-specific legislation against dogs that have the physical appearance of the below breeds. Pure and mixes of those breeds are banned in Winnipeg:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier


In the Ontario province, the below breeds are prohibited from entering or transiting:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Also, Toronto has a ban on these breeds. But, they are able to transit through the city only after the pet travel agent has provided advance notice to the city officials. The banned dogs that have been in the province before the enactment of the 2005 law must be sterilized and muzzled when they are out in public.

So, if you are travelling to Canada with a banned breed, ensure your travel plans do not take your dog through these provinces.

What is the penalty for owning a Pitbull in Ontario?

Ontario’s ban asks the owners to muzzle, leash and sterilize their pitbulls and outlaw the breeding and import of the pitbull in an effort to eradicate them from the province. The owners are able to get fines of up to $10,000 or six months in jail for not complying.

That law followed some highly publicized pitbull attacks in Toronto, Canada. A 2014 investigation by the Star discovered the pitbulls were more likely than any other breed to bite people and pets in the city during the three years ending in 2004. In the year of 2004, there were 984 licensed pit bulls and 168 bites reported. But, in 2013 there were only 501 pit bulls registered in Toronto and only 13 bites. In fact, the city no longer keeps bite statistics by breed.

However, the experts maintain the ban remains misguided.  Also, the ban ignores the bite risk of other dogs, especially big ones more likely to cause serious damage, if they feel threatened or become anxious.

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