Breed Bans and Service Dogs

There are no breed bans or restrictions regarding service dogs in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any dog ranging from a Chihuahua, to a retriever, to an Irish Wolfhound and all mixed breeds of dogs can be trained and used for providing work as a service dog. The Americans with Disabilities Act has recognized that disabilities and the type of mitigation a disability can require is so diverse, that restricting the types and breeds of dogs that can be trained to do service dog work that a person with a disability may not be able to live an independent life and being able to access all of the public areas and services in their communities and in the United States.

If a person uses a breed of dog that is perceived to be aggressive solely because of breed reputation stereotype, history, or personal experience an observer may have about particular breeds or mixes of dogs, that is not a reason for the person with a disability to not use that particular dog.

Nor is it reason for the dog to not be allowed into public areas as a service dog with its handler. The Americans with Disabilities Act is very clear that the only reasons a service dog can be denied being with its handler in public is if the dog is not under control of the person with a disability and displays aggressive behaviors in public. A Title II entity cannot exclude a person with a disability and the animal from a state or local government program, service or facility. The service dog’s behavior must pose a direct threat to other people’s safety before it can be removed from the property.

The service dog can only be removed if it engages in the behaviors mentioned in CFR 35.136(b) as revised in the final ruling. However, if the service dog constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature and function of the service, program, or activity as described in Title II, the dog could be denied to be with its handler in public access situations.

Individual states and local jurisdictions can impose breed bans and special handling such as muzzles for pet dogs, however, the US Department of Justice does not believe this is consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act to allow local laws restrict or prohibit certain breeds or mixes of dogs based on local concerns that these dogs may have a history or propensity for aggression or attacks. Allowing states and local jurisdictions to have this power regarding service dogs used by people with disabilities would significantly limit the civil rights of persons with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act who choose to use a specific breed or mix of dog to work as their service dog.


Service Dog Supplies