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Understanding Spain's PPP Laws: Keeping Your Canine Companion Safe

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Today, we're delving into an important aspect of dog ownership in Spain – the legislation surrounding "potentially dangerous dogs", often referred to as Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos or PPPs.

We all love our dogs, and they come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and personalities. However, not all pups are created equal, particularly in the eyes of the law. Some breeds and individuals may fall under the category of PPPs due to their physical characteristics and behavioral traits. Let's explore what this means and what you need to know to keep your beloved canine companion safe and in compliance with the law.

American Staffordshire Terrier

What Are PPPs in Spain?

In Spain, certain dog breeds or individual dogs with specific characteristics are classified as potentially dangerous. These breeds include:

  • Tosa Inu

  • Akita Inu

  • Rottweiler

  • Fila Brasileiro

  • Dogo Argentino

  • American Pitbull Terrier

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • American Staffordshire Terrier

It's important to note that this classification is not a reflection of the individual dog's behavior but rather a legal categorization based on breed traits. Even if your dog is not one of the listed breeds, it can be considered a PPP if it has the following characteristics:

  • A broad and muscular neck.

  • A powerful and athletic appearance.

  • A robust, wide, and deep body structure.

  • Strength, agility, and endurance, typical of a muscular and short-bodied physique.

  • Height between 50 and 70 centimeters with a sturdy, broad, and deep build.

  • A wide, large, and deep neck with arched ribs and a muscular, short back.

  • A solid, broad, large, and deep chest with arched ribs and a muscular, short back.

  • Potentially dangerous breeds often have a voluminous, cuboid, and robust head, with a wide and large skull, and muscular, bulging cheeks.

  • Short fur and large, strong jaws. The head is voluminous, cuboid, and robust, with a wide and large skull and muscular, bulging cheeks.

  • Chest circumference between 60 and 80 centimeters. These dogs have a solid chest, wide, large, muscular, and deep neck, arched ribs, strong musculature, and a wide and short back.

Keep in mind that these regulations do not apply to assistance dogs or trained guide dogs accredited by officially recognized centers.

A blue American Staffordshire Terrier wearing an orange harness with a prey dummy in his mouth

Requirements for Owning a PPP

Owning a potentially dangerous dog in Spain comes with specific requirements to ensure public safety. Here's what you need to meet:

  1. You must be of legal age and possess the psychological and physical aptitude required for owning such animals.

  2. You should not have been convicted of crimes related to bodily harm, torture, homicide, or offenses against moral integrity, freedom, or public health. Additionally, you must not have been deprived of ownership rights by a court decision.

  3. You should not have incurred severe or very severe infractions under Article 13, third section, of Law 50/1999.

  4. You are obligated to obtain a civil liability insurance policy with coverage of at least €120,000.

  5. Pass a physical and psychological examination (psicotécnico) to demonstrate auditory, visual, neurological, and locomotor capabilities.

  6. Obtain a license, which is renewable every five years, provided you continue to meet the above criteria.

A brindle American Staffordshire Terrier wearing a black Baskerville muzzle looking past the camera

Compliance and Safety Measures

If you own a PPP, there are specific safety measures you must adhere to, including:

  • Mandatory use of a muzzle in public spaces.

  • Possession of the PPP license and registration with the municipal registry.

  • Restriction of leash length to a maximum of two meters during walks. The leash must be fixed, not retractable.

  • Prohibition of allowing these animals to roam freely; they should be confined within an enclosed space.

  • Walking no more than one PPP at a time per person.

  • Reporting the loss or theft of the animal to the municipal registry within 48 hours.

  • Non-compliance with any of these measures can lead to fines, the severity of which depends on the gravity of the offense, and may even result in the confiscation of the animal.

Regional Variations

It's worth noting that different regions in Spain may have additional rules regarding PPPs. For example:

  • In Extremadura, several breeds beyond the national list are considered PPPs, including the Bullmastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Neapolitan Mastiff, Presa Canario, and Doberman.

  • La Rioja expands the list by including the Dogue de Bordeaux, Neapolitan Mastiff, Presa Canario, Tibetan Mastiff, Majorca Mastiff, and Doberman.

  • In the Comunidad Valenciana, the list extends to include the Majorca Mastiff, Presa Canario, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Doberman, and Neapolitan Mastiff, in addition to the national list.

Complying with the Law for the Well-being of Our Dogs

It has been suggested time and time again in multiple countries that BSL (breed specific legislation) doesn't work. However, while it's entirely valid to have personal opinions about the PPP laws in Spain, it's essential to recognise that these laws exist to ensure the safety and well-being of our dogs Whether we agree with them or not, they are a part of the legal framework that governs our responsibilities as pet owners.

Let's continue to be passionate advocates for our dogs, all while responsibly complying with the laws in place. This way, we can ensure that our four-legged friends lead happy, healthy lives within a framework that prioritizes their safety and the well-being of all.

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