As you do, I was scrolling through the internet and discovered something that I feel like is not discussed in the world of pet owning especially dog owning. So, as it turns out the German Shepard, my favorite dog breed, is actually restricted and in some cases banned in certain countries. Today we look at 10 of those countries that have either a restriction or a ban on German Shepards. Many of these countries you would not even believe, some are more concerning than others but nevertheless the point is made that an entire breed is not allowed in certain parts of the world.
So, as an honorable mention we will first look at the country where they are one of the more famous pets. In the United States the German Shepard breed is considered be a very violent and aggressive breed. They are known for biting and due to their presence as guard and police dogs the breed has received a bad wrap of sorts. As it turns out, there is only one state that officially bans the German Shepard; Florida. There is no given reason why the breed is banned from the state but it is. I did the research and could not find anything aside from the “Florida Dog Bite Law” which I won’t discuss in this article but I do encourage anyone to go look it up if you plan on bringing your fury friend to “God’s waiting room.” Also, for note, the German Shepard is not the only breed that is banned either.
The first country on our list is one of the places where you may be surprised by this fact. The Irish who love their sheep and herding dogs are one of the countries that has a restriction on German Shepard’s. The “Ireland Control of Dogs Act” which behaves like a sort of regulation for day to day dog owners added a provision to it in 1992. The “Control of Dogs Act” was amended in 1992 and resulted in pet legislation and court proceedings against owners. This came as a result of what was being experienced in the United States, even today with the rise of dog fighting and the breeding of Pitbulls. Pitbulls are on every restricted dog list in the world or banned and as a violent dog their presence was felt in Ireland in the late 1980s as their were various dog attacks against humans. German Shepards were placed in this category as well due to their usage for police and “power dog” matters. German Shepards are not usually violent dogs but due to their size and aggressive behaviors they were placed on this list. With the restrictions the owners of any dog on the list must have a short and strong leash when they are out in public. Furthermore, the owners or person found with the dog must be at least 16-years old. Furthermore, the dog must have a muzzle when out in public.
In the Ukraine, the German Shepard and Belgian Malinois are both used as police dogs and therefore outlawed by being used by citizens. German Shepards are known for their aggressive and protective nature and it appears that the Ukraine has a monopoly on the power of the German Shepard. Although, unlike many other countries, Ukraine has a huge underground dog fighting issue. Dog fighting is illegal but in many busts of dog fighting operations the police have found that German Shepards have been trained in order to be used as fighters. German Shepards are also large dogs which the Ukraine considers a threat to its citizens.
Like the Ukraine, Belarus is an eastern European nation that has a similar list. It contains 40 breeds that include Pitbulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. German Shepards rank #3 on that list and are behind Pitbulls and Rottweilers. There is a stipulation on these species as well. Anyone that is found even remotely near one can do hard time in jail or have a severe fine. Belarus also bans the ownership of certain dogs for families that include a household member with a disability. Even if you where to visit Belarus the animal would have to be quarantined for the duration of your travel as they are that illegal in the country. If you are a big dog lover, don’t travel to Belarus.
The Maldives is yet another place where the German Shepard is banned. Due to a rise in illegal dog fighting activity the country has decided to part ways with the breed and any attack dog like it. In particular the Maldives has decided that it is best to get rid of the German Shepard and all mastiff breeds permanently. Funnily enough, there are NO dogs in the Maldives, not even in the wild. The country has banned all dogs as a result and if you find one you are required to report it immediately to the authorities otherwise you are considered a criminal for harboring an illegal animal. Cats are allowed instead and are one of the most common animals found on the island.
5. United Arab Emirates
The UAE is not nearly as obscure at the Maldives but their penalties for having certain breeds are more intense than elsewhere. Someone found with an illegal breed can be fined up to $300,000 depending on factors such a what the dog was being used for and etcetera. There are five dog breeds that are banned in the UAE and the German Shepard is one of those. The possession of dogs is regulated by the Federal National Council (FNC). Weirdly enough though in the UAE if you breed the dogs and sell them this is not considered illegal as the business is government regulated. You need to have loads of permits to do this though and it is not affordable unless you live in Dubai honestly.
The German Shepard is a restricted breed in Romania. You must be at least 18-years old to own one and the typical leash and control of your dog rules apply here as well. In fact, in Romania the owner must take a psychiatric examination before you can be allowed to own any dog. This is of course to see if the owner has the mental capacity to deal with the pet that they are willing to buy. These tests can prevent a potential owner from possessing the dog for up to a month which may not seem like a long time but in dog years you’ve spent more time trying to possess him or her than own him or her. The same rule also applies when it comes to walking your dog in public. The dog must have a muzzle on at all times and are not allowed in certain stores.
Malaysia has a law where they require the German Shepard along with eight other breeds to be muzzled in public but not nearly as strict as Romania with a psychiatric examination. Malaysia is even less strict on the type of breed you cannot own. The normal list is about 40 or so dogs but Malaysia has only 8 dogs on that list. The few German Shepards that can be found in Malaysia are unsurprisingly found in field and patties and being used in a farming capacity which is what the breed is meant to be used for. Just be sure that if you have one in Malaysia that your dog is not on the restricted list otherwise they may end up captive to the Malaysian police.
Traditionally, the German Shepard is kept on a leash and muzzled when in public in Singapore. Although, with an additional requirement in Singapore, the dog must be microchipped at all times and must also be spayed or natured as well. This makes perfect sense for not wanting to overpopulate the breed in Singapore but seems rather cruel to the dog. Furthermore, to add insult to injury the owner must take out an insurance policy on their dog as well. The Insurance policy should cover a minimum of $100,000 which is rather steep but based on the damage that a German Shepard can do it is understandable. Furthermore, the German Shepard must never leave the premises and have obedience training as well. There is a special permit needed for a privately owned dog to be taken out of the household, otherwise in Singapore they are used for police matters.
If you decide that Iceland is a great destination for you and your furry friend than I suggest you try elsewhere if your pet is on the restricted list. The German Shepard is restricted in Iceland unless purchased in Iceland, otherwise, you will have no way of getting your dog into Iceland. Iceland is very strict on their pet policy due to their unusual climate which ironically would benefit a German Shepard. Iceland though will remain strict on this policy and nothing will change in the foreseeable future. So go to Iceland because it is beautiful but stay away from the idea that you can bring your German Shepard there.
Finally, we have arrived at the last country. Bermuda is a difficult enough place to get to, Bermuda Triangle reference, there. However, in Bermuda you think certain places are complicated when it comes to dog restrictions. In Bermuda, there are 3 different categories when it comes to restricted breeds. The first, is prohibited, meaning they are not to breed, imported, or otherwise seen on the premises. The second is that a breed can be imported btu there are certain restrictions on ownership. The last would be the non-restricted breeds which can parade around as pleased. 20 breeds are banned as of 2003, the German Shepard was not added until 2011. Ever since then, jail time has been a stipulation of being found to own or breed certain species a German Shepard is on that list so don’t bring them to Bermuda with you.
Just make sure...
German Shepherds are beautiful dogs no matter which way you slice it. They can be aggressive and protective and sometimes dangerous. However, in personal experiences they have not been so dangerous. They have had their fair share of incidents outside the United States though which makes sense why they are restricted and banned elsewhere. Just make sure that when you are traveling or even moving that you look up the list of restricted dogs before moving their because this entire article was more of a learning experience than a “how to do” list. Ironically though many of these countries are not ideal for the German Shepard due to not having colder weather that suits their heavy coat. Just make sure that you and furry friend have a safe haven before traveling.
Liz Westwood from UK on September 17, 2020:
I didn't realise that German shepherds were so closely regulated in these countries. Generally, I have noticed that travel for dogs within Europe tends to be easier now than it was over a generation ago.