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Starting off, I don't like it. That said...

I've been in the USA for a long time, but I'm originally from Taiwan. When this first made news, believe me, it faced opposition. I got a lot of angry texts from my family and friends still in Taiwan who are dog owners and lovers fighting this. So far, this has not been passed. Currently, if you own a "dangerous breed", you have to register it with the government. They don't explicitly ban importing "dangerous breeds", but even if you followed proper dog importing protocol, they probably still won't let you. I'll explain the nuances of the latter later.

This was a little while ago, but it got me thinking about how BSL affects other countries with different dog demographics, dog owning culture, and dog owning history. I'll be back later to explain the nitty gritty of this for Taiwan, and other Asian countries in a similar situation, as there's a lot to cover.

So, to international users of this forum, or users who have lived in other countries, what is or what was the situation like? I obviously know that in this forum of dog owners and lovers, most people are rightfully against it. However, I also know that the effects of such legislation are different in different countries, and BSL intersects with a lot of other dog and animal issues different countries have to deal with. I will be back to explain a lot of this later.
 

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Ok I'm back here it goes:

BSL in Taiwan is based on breed, size, and temperament. Some breeds are on the list more for size, others more for breed, and others more for temperament.

For example, Filas are on the list more for size than temperament (I know, stick with me here). Filas are massive, and they're way too big to keep even in the Taiwan countryside. There are dog parks, but most dog owners don't use them. Big dog and small dog owners pretty much self-segregate. Most dog owners in Taiwan don't really care if their dog gets along with other people or dogs, as long as the dog is not actively lunging at other people and dogs, then it's fine. Those are nice extras, but not necessary; if they get along with everyone in the family, then it's fine. There doesn't seem to be much mental anguish over having a dog of any breed with that temperament. When asked about it, the usual reply is "I wouldn't put it past [the dog] if he/she did bite in X situation, but I take care not to put [the dog] in X situation." Talking with dog owners in Taiwan who know about Filas, they were more worried about the size than the temperament. Many Asian breeds bred in Asia have a similar temperament in a smaller package, and that's not lost on most dog owners there. I know a couple of Taiwan Dogs (aka Formosan Mountain Dogs) who are basically Fila-lite in temperament but in a much smaller package. This link on Taiwan Dogs (Taiwan Dog - Wikipedia) is a pretty accurate western source; there's a lot of misinformation on them.

Pits are an example where they are on the list for breed and temperament more than size. Size-wise, pits are medium sized. However, pits are DA in a way that most dog owners there are not used to. They can also be reactive in a way most dog owners in Taiwan aren't used to. For most dog owners in Taiwan, this isn't a big issue. Most dog owners only have one dog, big or small. The rare few that have multiple dogs either adopted a bonded pair or purposely pick dog social dogs (and those dogs are probably small).

Importing dogs into Taiwan, especially "dangerous breeds" and foreign large breeds in general, is a different set of issues that intersect with BSL somewhat. Most dog owners in Taiwan acknowledge that their country is not suited to very large dogs. It will never be. The housing situation, both in the cities and the country side, is not well suited to dogs who are over 100 pounds let alone 70 pounds. Most dog owners in Taiwan own small dogs. Most people who don't own small dogs own Taiwan Dogs they either bought or adopted, and Taiwan Dogs aren't even big they're medium. The few people who do own large foreign breeds own mostly Goldens, Labs, some smaller GSDs, and some Huskies. Even Goldens, Labs, and GSDs are pushing it size wise. That's why even though there's no outright ban on importing "dangerous breeds" and foreign large breeds, it's heavily discouraged. Even if they did let them in, there would be nowhere for them to go. Most people don't go out of their way to own large breeds in general, let alone "dangerous breeds". So if someone wanted to start a breeding program for Dogos in Taiwan, and they tried to import some Dogos legally, customs will still deny entry. I obviously am against BSL within the country, but my feelings are mixed when it comes to importing breeds into Taiwan. Animal smuggling (not just exotics, but domestic animals too) is a problem in Taiwan. A good chunk of the existing foreign breeds in Taiwan, large and small, did not arrive there through scrupulous means. Legal importations of breeds not normally owned by Taiwanese dog owners is still seen as a possible red flag.
 

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as a "pit bull" owner, I check the BSL for every new state I go to. I have only ever lived in the USA and its weird here. There are no state wide, or country wide bans. Most cities will decide to ban dog breeds, but the city right over will allow them. Its confusing.
 

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Oh yeah for sure. When I still had my American Bulldog, I also checked for BSL when I traveled within the country. Every country has got its quirks, some fun and some annoying.
 

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I live in a country with a short list of banned breeds. It's the usual suspects (or at least nothing surprising for these kinds of laws) - APBT, AST, Fila, Tosa, Dogo, Czech wolfdog. I'm honestly fully opposed to BSL simply because the data has shown time and time again that it does nothing to change dog bite statistics, but it is a little different when it's a country-wide ban of breeds that are not already established within the borders. At the very least there aren't family pets being seized and put down, or neighbors claiming someone's blocky-headed lab mix is a pit mix because they're annoyed that the dog barks sometimes. And there DEFINITELY aren't the ridiculous things that can happen in city-wide bans in the US, like how Denver would detain (and potentially euthanize) even service dogs travelling through if they decided the dog looked at least 50% APBT. That's changed in recent years, but harrowing stuff.

So at least the ban here isn't immediately harmful to families who keep these breeds or mixes that may or may not have these breeds in them. The only case I've heard of since moving here was someone breeding alleged APBT mixes for hog hunting (also illegal here - dogs can track animals or blood trails, but hunting that requires them to physically have contact with the prey is outlawed). But it still sucks, imo, because I've found that even very dog-savvy, informed people like my MiL have very skewed preconceptions about the banned breeds, which of course makes them harder than ever to change. MiL honestly thought of APBTs and ASTs as kind of nasty, aggressive, unpredictable animals, until she and I began talking dogs together and I could give her a better picture that they, like many terriers, tend to have high prey drives and a fairly high incidence of dog aggression, but by and large can be extremely sweet and loving towards humans and make excellent pets for many people, so long as they understand the breed tendencies and are prepared for them. Just like lots of breeds, honestly. Would the ban still be in place if more of the Norwegian dog community had an accurate view of these breeds' real temperaments and what owning and managing them was like? I honestly don't know.

There is some talk in the Norwegian dog community of movements to ban certain breeds - or at least ban their breeding - due to how poor their health is. Cavaliers are on that list, and maybe English Bulldogs? I'm not sure off the top of my head (I can read a fair bit of Norwegian but it still takes me a while to muddle through it, so I'm not going to take the time to look it up right now unless someone's very interested, lol). While I agree that these breeds are in crisis and something absolutely needs to be done to improve their health as a whole, this legislation worries me because it sets an uncomfortable precedent for legislation around dog ownership, care, and breeding that could easily get out of hand. Norway takes its animal welfare legislation seriously, which I appreciate, but they do take it too far sometimes (see: BSL and also it was actually illegal to own ANY reptile when I first moved here. Now there's a short list of approved species).

...I know it's a cultural thing, so forgive me if this is in any way insensitive, but I am bemused at the idea of a whole country banning a breed due to size. I've known a couple of the real giants (St. Bernards, Leonbergers, Bernese Mountain Dogs) who are just super laid-back and chill, and do better in small living spaces than high-energy smaller breeds (like my own ~15kg Lagotto Romagnolo, who is being brought out to run around an empty sheep field in a couple hours so he doesn't drive everyone in the apartment crazy). Not saying that's the case for something like a Fila, I don't know the breed well enough to judge, but in my experience size does not always indicate what's a good small-living-space dog. A culture where people expect dogs to tolerate each other but don't go around trying to get on-leash dogs to say hi to each other sounds pretty great, though, wish more places were like that.
 

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I live in a country with a short list of banned breeds. It's the usual suspects (or at least nothing surprising for these kinds of laws) - APBT, AST, Fila, Tosa, Dogo, Czech wolfdog. I'm honestly fully opposed to BSL simply because the data has shown time and time again that it does nothing to change dog bite statistics, but it is a little different when it's a country-wide ban of breeds that are not already established within the borders. At the very least there aren't family pets being seized and put down, or neighbors claiming someone's blocky-headed lab mix is a pit mix because they're annoyed that the dog barks sometimes. And there DEFINITELY aren't the ridiculous things that can happen in city-wide bans in the US, like how Denver would detain (and potentially euthanize) even service dogs travelling through if they decided the dog looked at least 50% APBT. That's changed in recent years, but harrowing stuff.
Absolutely, I'm against BSL as well. Taiwan is in the same situation as Norway in that Filas, APBT, AST, Tosa, and Dogo are not well established within the borders. That's right, in Taiwan people's pets aren't being seized and put down. I made this post with the aim to inform. The effects of BSL are different in different countries, but I still don't like it. Taiwan doesn't have a bunch of bully-mixes that need homes. There aren't large swaths of people who own confirmed or possible bully-mixes. Most of the dogs in Taiwan shelters are Taiwan Dogs or small dogs.



So at least the ban here isn't immediately harmful to families who keep these breeds or mixes that may or may not have these breeds in them. The only case I've heard of since moving here was someone breeding alleged APBT mixes for hog hunting (also illegal here - dogs can track animals or blood trails, but hunting that requires them to physically have contact with the prey is outlawed). But it still sucks, imo, because I've found that even very dog-savvy, informed people like my MiL have very skewed preconceptions about the banned breeds, which of course makes them harder than ever to change. MiL honestly thought of APBTs and ASTs as kind of nasty, aggressive, unpredictable animals, until she and I began talking dogs together and I could give her a better picture that they, like many terriers, tend to have high prey drives and a fairly high incidence of dog aggression, but by and large can be extremely sweet and loving towards humans and make excellent pets for many people, so long as they understand the breed tendencies and are prepared for them. Just like lots of breeds, honestly. Would the ban still be in place if more of the Norwegian dog community had an accurate view of these breeds' real temperaments and what owning and managing them was like? I honestly don't know.
Honestly, despite the rarity of breeds in question, most Taiwan dog owners I know and encounter don't really have skewed perceptions of banned breeds. The internet is a wonderful thing in that regard. I remember when I was back in Taiwan a couple of years ago talking with some family and friends about the "dangerous breeds", and they all weren't really wowed by them as far as breed traits go. It goes back to aggression, either dog aggression or human aggression*, not being seen an automatic negative. They still wouldn't want to own them, not for the aggression, but for size, which I'll explain later in this post.
*I use the phrase human aggression in it's bare bones form. A dog willing to attack a human with intent to harm, that's my definition at least. By this definition, would a human aggressive dog be unstable, that would depend...A lot of guardian breeds are supposed to be human aggressive by this definition. I know people use different words to basically describe the same thing for different breeds and situations they deem ok, like protective, guardy, civil, etc. Can't have protection or guardy or civil without aggression...I know that the usage of this phrase on this forum is mainly reserved for uncontrollable, unstable (a word I don't use lightly) dogs. But this is a completely different discussion...



There is some talk in the Norwegian dog community of movements to ban certain breeds - or at least ban their breeding - due to how poor their health is. Cavaliers are on that list, and maybe English Bulldogs? I'm not sure off the top of my head (I can read a fair bit of Norwegian but it still takes me a while to muddle through it, so I'm not going to take the time to look it up right now unless someone's very interested, lol). While I agree that these breeds are in crisis and something absolutely needs to be done to improve their health as a whole, this legislation worries me because it sets an uncomfortable precedent for legislation around dog ownership, care, and breeding that could easily get out of hand. Norway takes its animal welfare legislation seriously, which I appreciate, but they do take it too far sometimes (see: BSL and also it was actually illegal to own ANY reptile when I first moved here. Now there's a short list of approved species).
Cavs and English bulldogs make me sad. As for whether something needs to be done or not, that would depend on who you ask. There are those that feel they are too far gone and should be left to go extinct. There are those that believe they are salvageable with a lot of thoughtful outcrossing. There are those who think they should be left as is (I vehemently disagree). It would depend on how much breeds going extinct bothers you. It would also depend on your views on outcrossing...
Wow! I didn't know Norway had such stringent rules on reptiles...


...I know it's a cultural thing, so forgive me if this is in any way insensitive, but I am bemused at the idea of a whole country banning a breed due to size. I've known a couple of the real giants (St. Bernards, Leonbergers, Bernese Mountain Dogs) who are just super laid-back and chill, and do better in small living spaces than high-energy smaller breeds (like my own ~15kg Lagotto Romagnolo, who is being brought out to run around an empty sheep field in a couple hours so he doesn't drive everyone in the apartment crazy). Not saying that's the case for something like a Fila, I don't know the breed well enough to judge, but in my experience size does not always indicate what's a good small-living-space dog. A culture where people expect dogs to tolerate each other but don't go around trying to get on-leash dogs to say hi to each other sounds pretty great, though, wish more places were like that.
It is mostly a cultural thing on what's considered the humane amount of space to house an indoor dog. Most people in Taiwan think that you should give a dog as much space as you can. There's only so much space for a little under 24 million people on an island 3x smaller than the state of New York. Most people, both city and countryside, live in apartments. To them, if you live in an apartment, you shouldn't own a super big dog. To them, the only way to give as much space as you can in an apartment is to own a small dog. It's why most dogs owned in Taiwan are small. As you said, there are giant breeds that have a temperament suited to living in a small space. CAN a Leonberger be housed properly in an apartment and be well taken care of? Absolutely. SHOULD a Leonberger be housed in an apartment? I would say it depends, as I've adopted out giant breeds and mixes thereof to screened apartment homes in the US. In Taiwan, most would say no. The biggest dog I've seen kept in an apartment in Taiwan was my brother's adopted 60 lb GSD, and he faced quite a bit of opposition. His neighbors were worried that the dog didn't have enough space to move around inside his apartment.
 

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Yeah, I can't speak to it from a personal perspective because I've never lived there permanently, but the UK breed ban was (and is) a much bigger mess because of the amount of banned breeds and possible mixes in the country when it happened. That's where I've heard lots of stories of family pets that aren't even confirmed bully mixes being seized and euthanized. Total nightmare.

You're probably right about the perspectives on aggression, which is super interesting. Norway definitely has a more Westernized outlook (just to clarify, not saying that's a necessarily good thing, lol) - maybe a little better than the US in understanding that dogs are animals who do animal things, but that could also be that I spend more time with dog-savvy people here than I did in the US.

I do think there's a difference between dogs who show aggression towards humans in a way that's seen as appropriate by their owner and local community and ones who show it in a way that becomes a problem for their owner and community, but the line is too fuzzy for any label to be really accurate. While there absolutely are dogs who are too unstable and unpredictable to be safe in any circumstances, you definitely also have dogs who would be perfectly correct in their temperament if they were doing their ancestral 'job', but become a menace when an unprepared owner decides they want to own one in a suburb or city. That's why I like dangerous dog laws over BSL - they don't punish people keeping and managing the breed appropriately because someone else thought they could bring a Komondor into their townhouse and it'd just be a big, sheepy lab.

I'm an outcross person. Outcross everything (...with purpose and appropriate testing and everything, not just willy-nilly). Open stud books. This idea of permanently closed studbooks is going to have every purebred in jeopardy eventually. To be fair, the discussion happening in Norway is after several years where the government gave breeders time to try to improve the standard of health in the problem breeds, but it just hasn't happened. I won't speculate as to why, since I'm not involved in those breed communities.

I can definitely see where the idea of big dogs in small living quarters being inhumane came from. It absolutely can be in some situations, though as I said before, there's definitely some giant breeds that do better in small living spaces (assuming they get exercise outside the home of course) than smaller breeds, so it's not universal. Reminds me of how some cultures have banned crates and will vehemently argue that they're always cruel when they save the life of many dogs (because they can't get into dangerous things in a crate, because crating can be an important part of managing and resolving problem behaviors that may get the dog surrendered to the shelter system or euthanized, etc). They can absolutely be abused, but that doesn't make them inherently cruel.

But I'm also aware that I grew up in a country with a serious dog overpopulation problem, and that dogs being given up on due to a behavior issue is often a death sentence for them, because there's so many adoptable dogs in the US shelter systems who DON'T have a known serious behavior issue. And that people in apartments or other small-space living arrangements owning dogs of all sizes in an ethical and humane way means more dogs get homes. So my perspective is absolutely skewed as well towards "if it keeps a dog in a stable, responsible home, that's more humane than life in a shelter kennel and premature euthanasia". Which... well, I hope some day I won't have to look at things that way, you know?
 

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Yeah, I can't speak to it from a personal perspective because I've never lived there permanently, but the UK breed ban was (and is) a much bigger mess because of the amount of banned breeds and possible mixes in the country when it happened. That's where I've heard lots of stories of family pets that aren't even confirmed bully mixes being seized and euthanized. Total nightmare.
I agree. Even when hearing about it, I just shake my head. A big mess indeed.


You're probably right about the perspectives on aggression, which is super interesting. Norway definitely has a more Westernized outlook (just to clarify, not saying that's a necessarily good thing, lol) - maybe a little better than the US in understanding that dogs are animals who do animal things, but that could also be that I spend more time with dog-savvy people here than I did in the US.
There's probably more similarity than differences in outlook honestly. Animals doing animal things. Don't bother the dog then he/she is eating, sleeping, or wants to have alone time. If the dog bit you, it's most likely your fault. Different dogs aren't going to react the same to the same stimuli etc. These things are understood by most dog owners and lovers all over the world. The difference lies in how dog owners navigate society with their dogs and what they do with their dogs. Auxiliary structures for dogs like vets, shelters and rescues, breeders, kennel clubs, registries, etc and how they're structured and tackle problems are also affected by the latter.


I do think there's a difference between dogs who show aggression towards humans in a way that's seen as appropriate by their owner and local community and ones who show it in a way that becomes a problem for their owner and community, but the line is too fuzzy for any label to be really accurate. While there absolutely are dogs who are too unstable and unpredictable to be safe in any circumstances, you definitely also have dogs who would be perfectly correct in their temperament if they were doing their ancestral 'job', but become a menace when an unprepared owner decides they want to own one in a suburb or city. That's why I like dangerous dog laws over BSL - they don't punish people keeping and managing the breed appropriately because someone else thought they could bring a Komondor into their townhouse and it'd just be a big, sheepy lab.
I agree.


I'm an outcross person. Outcross everything (...with purpose and appropriate testing and everything, not just willy-nilly). Open stud books. This idea of permanently closed studbooks is going to have every purebred in jeopardy eventually. To be fair, the discussion happening in Norway is after several years where the government gave breeders time to try to improve the standard of health in the problem breeds, but it just hasn't happened. I won't speculate as to why, since I'm not involved in those breed communities.
I am also an outcross person. I do wish there was more general type breeding in the West. I don't blame people who think the crisis breeds should go extinct, even if it's not a belief I hold myself.


I can definitely see where the idea of big dogs in small living quarters being inhumane came from. It absolutely can be in some situations, though as I said before, there's definitely some giant breeds that do better in small living spaces (assuming they get exercise outside the home of course) than smaller breeds, so it's not universal. Reminds me of how some cultures have banned crates and will vehemently argue that they're always cruel when they save the life of many dogs (because they can't get into dangerous things in a crate, because crating can be an important part of managing and resolving problem behaviors that may get the dog surrendered to the shelter system or euthanized, etc). They can absolutely be abused, but that doesn't make them inherently cruel.
Crates are definitely contentious in Taiwan too. They're not banned, but a good chunk of people don't use them. Lots of apartments are closed concept, which means it's very easy to close off rooms you don't want the dog to go to. Pee pads (all varieties) are also more widely used in conjunction with the latter. The dogs don't really have problem relieving themselves outside despite being housetrained using pee pads. I think most people in Taiwan see crating as "Well if you HAVE TO, I guess it can't be helped." Even the dog owners in Taiwan who do use crates try to minimize the time their dog spends in it. It goes back to: if the same thing can be accomplished, whether it be resolving behavioral issues, housetraining, and/or just confining safely, with more space, then that option should be used. Even if you choose to use a crate, it's really not that big of a deal. It's a contentious issue, yes, but the general consensus is it's really minor compared to other dog issues in Taiwan.


But I'm also aware that I grew up in a country with a serious dog overpopulation problem, and that dogs being given up on due to a behavior issue is often a death sentence for them, because there's so many adoptable dogs in the US shelter systems who DON'T have a known serious behavior issue. And that people in apartments or other small-space living arrangements owning dogs of all sizes in an ethical and humane way means more dogs get homes. So my perspective is absolutely skewed as well towards "if it keeps a dog in a stable, responsible home, that's more humane than life in a shelter kennel and premature euthanasia". Which... well, I hope some day I won't have to look at things that way, you know?
The US, at least now and nation-wide, isn't really true overpopulation anymore as I understand it. It's gotten A LOT better since I came here a little over a decade ago, and I've lived in states where it was really bad. It's more retention nation-wide. There are definitely areas in the US more afflicted than others, that's true. There's still work to be done.
There are definitely people in apartments and similar living situations who keep their dogs properly. That's why our shelter is case by case for situations like this. Taiwan, dog-wise, is a weird mix of dog ownership (at least in a way people on this forum understand it) being new, lots of strays, shelters and rescues in the works, and people abandoning their pets on the street. Luckily, the situation there seems to be stabilizing. If anything, dog owners in Taiwan got a head start. They know that puppymills are bad, petstores that sell dogs are bad, home-raised puppy is good if they want it, shelters and rescues should be a safety net for dogs and a perfectly good place to get one, needlessly euthanizing is bad etc. from the US dog situation. And they're working on it.
 
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