Dangerous Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions


Get answers to your questions on dangerous dogs in New Zealand. Our comprehensive FAQ covers topics such as dangerous dog legislation, classification, control measures, and more. Stay informed and protect your community by knowing the facts about dangerous dogs. Read now for more information

How many dog attacks have there been in New Zealand?  

As of 2022, there were over 6,500 reported dog attacks in New Zealand. It’s important to note that this number may not reflect the full extent of the problem as some attacks may go unreported. It’s important to follow local regulations and guidelines to help prevent dog attacks and ensure the safety of people and animals in the community.

  • What is a dangerous dog?

    • A dangerous dog is defined as a dog that has shown aggressive behavior towards humans or other animals. This can include biting, growling, or lunging.

    • In New Zealand, there is no specific legislation that defines “dangerous dog breeds.” Instead, the law focuses on the behavior of individual dogs, rather than their breed. The Dog Control Act 1996 requires that all dogs be kept under control and that owners take reasonable steps to prevent their dogs from causing harm to people, other animals, or property.

    • If a dog is deemed dangerous, regardless of its breed, it may be subject to certain restrictions, such as being muzzled in public or being kept in a secure enclosure.

  • What should I do if I see a dangerous dog?

    • If you see a dangerous dog, it’s important to stay calm and try to distance yourself from the dog. If the dog is on a leash, try to avoid approaching it. If the dog is loose, try to find a safe place to go until the dog leaves the area. If the dog is attacking someone, call 111 for emergency services.

  • How can I prevent dog attacks?

    • You can prevent dog attacks by supervising your own dogs and making sure they are well-trained and socialized. When interacting with other people’s dogs, always ask the owner for permission before petting the dog, and avoid approaching unfamiliar dogs.

  • What should I do if my dog bites someone?

    • If your dog bites someone, you should immediately seek medical attention for the person and contact your local animal control agency. The agency will be able to help you determine if your dog is a dangerous dog and what steps need to be taken.

  • What happens if my dog is declared dangerous?

    • If your dog is declared dangerous, you may be required to take specific steps to secure and manage the dog, such as providing secure containment or obtaining insurance. The specific requirements will depend on the local regulations in your area.

  • Can a dangerous dog be rehabilitated?

    • Yes, it is possible for a dangerous dog to be rehabilitated with the help of a professional dog trainer. However, the process can take time and requires a commitment from the owner to provide consistent training and management.

  • What is the penalty for owning a dangerous dog in New Zealand?

    • Owning a dangerous dog in New Zealand can result in fines, imprisonment, and the seizure of the dog. In some cases, the dog may also be put down. It is important to comply with all local regulations and laws regarding dangerous dogs to avoid legal consequences.

  • What should I do if I am bitten by a dangerous dog in New Zealand?

    • If you are bitten by a dangerous dog in New Zealand, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should also report the incident to local authorities, as this will help to prevent future attacks and to ensure that the dog is properly controlled.

  • What are the responsibilities of a dangerous dog owner in New Zealand?

    • The responsibilities of a dangerous dog owner in New Zealand include ensuring that the dog is properly secured at all times, providing adequate training and socialization, and complying with all local regulations and laws regarding dangerous dogs.

  • What can I do to prevent dog attacks in my community in New Zealand?

    • To prevent dog attacks in your community in New Zealand, you can educate yourself and others about responsible dog ownership, report any incidents of aggressive behavior to local authorities, and work with local organizations to promote public safety and awareness about dangerous dogs.