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Fighting dog breeds

The restrictions on fighting dog breeds in air travel and in several European countries can come as a surprise to Finnish travellers, as these breeds are not restricted in Finland. These certain dog breeds, back in the days in Finland as well, were historically used in dog fights, but nowadays many of these breeds are kept as household pets and used for various hobbies, just like any other breeds. Dogs listed under this category are subject to specific transportation requirements, and some European countries completely prohibit the import of certain breeds belonging to this category.

What are the fighting dogs?

Fighting dog breeds often include bull-type dogs, but sometimes also breeds like Rottweiler and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Many of these dog breeds were historically used in dog fights, and some individuals of these breeds can be more likely unpredictable and even aggressive towards other dogs. This makes traveling with them more challenging in busy places, as if both the dog and the owner need to waste energy constantly to avoid other dogs. The term "fighting breed" easily sounds negative, even though the individuals of these dog breeds can be very affectionate towards humans, especially people within their own families. However, owners of these dogs must be vigilant and capable of properly training them, as their temperament is generally tougher compared to, for example, retrievers or poodles. Some dogs in this category are just as friendly towards other dogs and humans as any other breed. Owners have a great responsibility in deciding whether it is wise to bring their dog to public places where they may encounter other dogs. Owners must know their own dog and be able to honestly assess what is reasonable for that particular dog. Despite the restrictions, these fighting dog breeds are still commonly seen in European countries, especially in places like Spain, where they may even be seen unleashed on the streets.


Different countries and airlines have each listed breeds that are not allowed to be transported or imported into the country at all. Crossbreeds of these breeds are often prohibited as well. Some breeds are subject to stricter transportation requirements to ensure that individuals of these breeds cannot bite or scratch through the transport crate under any circumstances. In some countries, dogs in this category must wear a muzzle when in public places.


Examples of dog breeds that may be counted as a fighting dog

  • American Bulldogg

  • American Bully

  • American Pitbull Terrier (Pitbull)

  • American Staffordshire Terrier

  • Boerboel

  • Bullterrier

  • Caucasian Shepherd Dog

  • Central Asian Shepherd Dog

  • Dogo argentino

  • Fila brasileiro

  • Kangal

  • Karabash

  • Rottweiler

  • South Russian Ovcharka

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Tornjak

  • Tosa Inu

Fighting dog breeds in the aircraft

Fighting dog breeds are generally always transported in the cargo hold or as freight, as representatives of these breeds are often weighing over 8 kg (the most common maximum weight limit for cabin travel). The requirements for transport crates may vary between airlines, so always check before your trip that your transport crate meets the airline's requirements. Many airlines follow the recommendations of IATA.

Below are listed the specific features of transport crates for fighting dog breeds. You can read more about general requirements for transport crates here!


Specific features of transport crates:


  • The transport crate must be made of wood, metal, synthetic material, welded metal mesh, or metal wire.

  • Plastic is not allowed as a material for the crate, and there should be no plastic parts at all

  • The crate's door opening must be made of sturdy metal mesh, metal, or reinforced wood, and it should be securely locked to prevent accidental opening during transportation.

  • Sufficient ventilation holes must be present in the crate to ensure proper airflow, but they should be small enough that no part of the dog's body (even a paw or snout) can fit through them.

  • The dog can not be able to bite or scratch through the crate in any circumstances

  • The crate's roof should not be made of metal mesh, but it can have openings to ensure ventilation

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