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Potentially Dangerous Dogs in Spain

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Potentially Dangerous Dogs in Spain

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All dogs have different traits and characters, one of which is their bite. This can vary from one breed to another, and can be more serious in certain breeds. As a result of this type of physical differences, the Spanish government created the Royal Decree 287/2002, dated 22 March, amending Law 50/1999, dated 23 December, on the legal regime of keeping "potentially dangerous dogs".

Those breeds of dogs that are considered potentially dangerous as a result of their physical attributes are known as the PPP. How accurate is all this? Well, statistics show that 45% of attacks are mongrels, NOT descendants of the races considered PPP.

We must also ask ourselves why the government takes many measures and hampers both the adoption of these races yet will not put measures in place to prevent the slaughter, abandonment and abuse of these animals. Here are all the details on the law of potentially dangerous dogs in Spain, or PPP.

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Is the breed of dog an indicator of aggressiveness?

Spanish researchers studied 711 independent dogs (354 males and 357 females) - 594 purebred and 117 pedigree and all over than one years old.

Some of them showed dominant attitudes either because they were male, older, small, or as a result of their specific breed. However, animal experts state that these factors represent a minimum bearing on the aggressive behavior of the dog in question. The most influential factors, they say, are the ways the dog is trained and brought up by the owner.

Correct animal behavior is complicated in certain cases, especially in dogs that are trained to fight, for example. However it is not normal for dogs who have received good training and proper socialization to show aggressive tendencies and behavior.

Potentially Dangerous Dogs in Spain - Is the breed of dog an indicator of aggressiveness?

Breeds and characteristics of a dog considered PPP

Dogs that are considered PPP under Spanish law are diverse, and include:

In addition to these breeds, a dog is considered PPP if it is a descendant of any of the abovementioned breeds, or if they display the following features:

  • Strong muscles and a powerful appearance. Robust, athletic, strong and tough.
  • A strong character and great strength
  • Short hair
  • Chest circumference between 60 and 80 centimeters, a height at the withers between 40 and 70 centimeters and a weight exceeding 20 kg.
  • A voluminous and robust head, a wide and large skull.
  • The jaws of possible PPP should be large and strong.
  • The neck should be muscular and wide.
  • A solid, wide, large and deep chest.
  • Strong and muscular limbs with relatively long legs.

So, many people have a dog that could be considered dangerous, but, is it really? That will depend on its education or the behavior it has learnt.

Potentially Dangerous Dogs in Spain - Breeds and characteristics of a dog considered PPP

Requirements for a potentially dangerous dog

As if those potentially dangerous dogs don't already have difficulty in being adopted due to the amount of rumors and false myths, the State adds three more requirements to make it that bit harder:

  • The owner of a PPP dog should have the corresponding license and should renew it every 3 years. (This license costs money).
  • Owners must also hire a civil liability insurance, something that also has a significant economic cost in cases of dogs considered PPP.
  • In addition, the dog should wear a muzzle whenever it is in public spaces, whether it is aggressive or not.

Obviously these requirements hinder the ownership of dogs that are considered PPP, which is why many are abandoned, put down or end up in kennels and shelters. Many of them are rejected by potential adopters that prefer others that do not require frequent economic expenses.

These dogs do not deserve a different treatment as a result of physical qualities. Owners should decide if their pet needs to wear a muzzle or not, or if civil liability insurance is required. It is the owners that are responsible for their pet.

The marginalization of the PPP dogs has provoked outrage from associations and centers across Spain that are fighting desperately to change this reality.

If you want to read similar articles to Potentially Dangerous Dogs in Spain, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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2 comments
Michele Fowler
There is a stray dog in our village, which was dumped by its owner, a regular occurance. We had fed it because we don't want to see it starve. It has become friendly with no aggression to anyone in the village apart from one couple who throw stones at dogs on the street, and attack them with a stick, because they say the dogs are attacking them. Untrue. When our dogs are walked the stray tags along and a neighbour said she was attacked by this dog and has taken an denuncia out against my husband, even though the dog isn't ours. The Guardia Civil say because we have fed the dog it is ours. Our dogs are chipped and inoculated, and the CV say we should get the stray registered as well, but we don't need another dog.
Carolyn
Helllo. Where would I report an attack made by two dogs, off the lead and no collars on. The large GSD type dogs attacked my father and his dog whilst walking three weeks ago. The dog had multiple bite wounds which are still undergoing veterinary treatment and my father had a nasty bite to his hand. Do we need to contact the local police or the guardia?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Carolyn,

It would definitely be advisable to contact local police. If a dangerous dog is attacking people, then it could lead to criminal charges.

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