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Dangerous Dog Collars Australia: Everything You Need To Know

Written By Vedrana Nikolic | Canine Coach, B.A Ethnology & Anthropology, M.A Semiotics.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 8th January 2024

Red and yellow striped collars aren't the usual dog collar you'd buy for just any pooch, their aim is to draw attention, but they aren’t a fashion statement. 

They are a mandatory form of identification for dangerous dogs in Australia. 

But what exactly is a dangerous dog? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about dangerous dog collars in Australia.

If you want to find out what exactly these special collars are; which dogs need to wear them; and where to find one that fits the regulations. Keep reading.


What Is A Dangerous Dog Collar?

Dangerous dog collars were designed to act as a warning sign. The collars are visually distinctive, thus letting anyone easily recognise a dog that might be dangerous.

The idea behind this is to know whether a dog is safe to approach or not from a distance, thus preventing potentially dangerous situations.

"We want the same collar worn everywhere, so we all know what to look out for" - Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner, 9News (1)

Furner was referring to new legislation in QLD that obliges all regulated dogs to wear a prescribed red and yellow collar. The requirement for a ‘distinctive’ collar existed before that, but the look of it was not clearly defined, which caused confusion.

This is why, in recent years, there is a tendency towards making dangerous dog collars an easily recognisable sign Australia-wide, although the rules are still not exactly the same in every legislation (see comparison table below)

Of course, to do so, a warning dog collar needs to be made as apparent as possible. And to avoid any confusion, these collars have a very specific design and strict requirements.

Dangerous Dog Collar Requirements

Every state and territory in Australia has its own legal acts defining the rules and obligations regarding dangerous dogs. Hence the definitions might be slightly different, but the basic requirements for a dangerous dog collar tend to be the same:

  • Colour Pattern: A declared dangerous dog collar must be striped, with alternating red and yellow sections. Not just that, but the stripes are set diagonally to the rim of the collar, with each stripe having a width ranging between 20 and 30 millimetres. Plus, at least one of the two colours needs to be reflective at night.
  • Width: The width of the collar can vary depending on the size of the dog. But still, the minimum width is imposed by the law. The usual rule of thumb is that the collar should be at least 25 mm wide. However, for dogs over 40kg, it’s required that the collar is at least 50 mm wide (2,3)
  • Functionality: Basically, the regulations regarding dangerous dog collars usually state that the collar must be made of durable materials. It also should be possible to keep it securely fastened. In other words, the dangerous dog collar should be a functional dog collar that’s wide enough and features the designated colours.

Who Needs To Wear A Dangerous Dog Collar?

In most parts of Australia, dogs that are potentially dangerous to humans and/or animals (except for vermin) are required to wear this collar. The regulation is relatively new in some states, like Queensland, while states including New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria have had it in place for several decades now (4).

As mentioned, there are differences between legislations, but if we consider them together, there are 3 types of dogs that may be required to wear this special type of collar.

Dangerous Dogs

A dog can be declared dangerous by the council of the municipal district you’re living in. This happens in case of an unfortunate event where your pooch gets aggressive with a person or another animal. Now, exactly how aggressive a dog needs to be to get declared differs a bit from legislation to legislation, but the premises are pretty similar.

For example, according to the VIC Domestic Animals Act 1994, a dog can be declared dangerous in several cases. First things first, dogs that are kept for guarding non-residential premises and will attack anyone that comes trespassing, be it an animal or a human, are automatically recognised as dangerous dogs by this act. The same goes for dogs that are trained to attack or bite a person or anything a person might be wearing.

Related: My Dog Was Attacked By Another Dog: What Are My Rights?

One area that is clear, is it has to be a serious injury, to either a human or an animal. However, there might be cases where the above does not apply, like when it’s been confirmed that the dog was acting in self-defence.

Additionally, hunting dogs may also be declared dangerous, depending on the state. So for instance, that’s the case with the Bull Arab breed, but only in the state of New South Wales (5). Other states don’t differentiate hunting dogs from pets in this sense.

Bottom line - a dog is considered a dangerous/regulated dog once it has been declared as such by the local government. From this moment on, the rules and obligations apply including wearing the special collar.

You should know that once a dog is declared dangerous by the council, the decision can’t be revoked, amended or otherwise altered - at least not in the state it was passed.

Menacing Dogs

Some states, like NSW, VIC, and QLD recognise an additional category of dogs - menacing dogs.

In VIC, under the same Domestic Act of 1994, local councils may also declare a dog to be menacing.

That could happen under two circumstances. First is in the case your canine companion bites a human or an animal, without causing serious injury. And second, if your pooch rushes at or chases someone (including displays of aggression).

Like in the case of dangerous dogs, this doesn’t apply to situations where your dog is simply self-defending or protecting you from someone. That also goes for attacking people trespassing in your backyard. Now, the council needs to first inform you about their intention to declare your dog menacing, to which you can object if you can prove that your canine companion was acting in such a manner.

Now, in NSW and QLD dogs that are declared as menacing need to wear the dangerous dog collar, while in VIC they don’t. However, menacing dogs can get the dangerous dog label if there are are repeat offences.

On the other hand, the definition of a dangerous dog in WA also covers ‘menacing’ dogs - i.e. those who are threatening to attack without actually attacking.

Restricted Breeds

Finally, we have the so-called restricted dogs. This is a term that actually to dog breeds that are considered to be “more dangerous” than other breeds. And aside from Australia, the majority of countries across the world have a list of breeds that are prohibited.

The restricted dog breeds in Australia are:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Presa Canario

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t any dogs from this breed list currently living in Australia. It is forbidden to import them, but not to own them. Depending on where you are, though, there are special regulations regarding these breeds, including the mandate to wear the dangerous dog collar.

Does My Dog Need to Wear the Collar?

Which dogs have to wear the collar? The rules are not the same everywhere. The table below gives you an overview, but to be safe, it’s always to check with your local council, as there might be additional specific rules imposed.

Dangerous dogs

Menacing dogs

Restricted breeds 

NSW

Yes

Yes

Yes

VIC

Yes

No

Yes

QLD

Yes

Yes

Yes

WA

Yes

Not recognised 

Yes

SA

Yes

Not recognised 

Yes

TAS

Yes

No

Yes

ACT

Yes

Not recognised 

No

NT

No

Not recognised

No


#1: Best Dangerous Dog Collar: The Dog Line Dog Collar

The Dog Line Dog Collar
  • Very durable
  • Resistant to water, odour and mould
  • Reflecting coating for nighttime visibility
  • Easy to add holes

The dangerous dog collar by the Dog Line is designed to¨the legislative requirements of all the Australian states that require the use of such a collar.

That’s the first and most important thing, but there are other good things to be said about this particular collar:

First, it comes in four different sizes, so that you can find a suitable one for your pooch. Given that sizes are determined by the weight of your canine companion, the collar might not fit your dog like a glove, but luckily, you can easily pierce the fabric to make more holes if needed.

The Dog Line Dangerous Dog Collar being tested by our independent expert team

The Dog Line Dangerous Dog Collar being tested my our review dog.

That’s the great thing about polyurethane, you can easily cut off the excess part and add holes without causing the material to rip. What’s also great is that it’s resistant to water, mould and odour, so it can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear. The material is further improved with a Flouro coating, which makes it even stronger and reflective at night for better visibility.

Even though it’s tough and durable, you shouldn’t use this dog collar for tethering or keeping your dog on a lead. Since it’s designed purely for identification purposes, you don’t want it getting broken and leaving your pooch without it, which could cause legal issues for both of you.

Pros

Cons

  • Very durable
  • Shouldn’t be used for tethering
  • Resistant to water, odour and mould
  • Reflecting coating for nighttime visibility
Cell
  • Easy to add holes
Cell

My Final Thoughts

Pooches that are declared as dangerous, menacing or restricted must wear a red and yellow identifying collar at all times, be it at home or in the streets.

 Not only does it prevent other people from approaching your dog, but it’s also your legal obligation. Just keep in mind that the collar is there for identification and not for tethering purposes. In that case, your canine companion should wear a regular collar or a harness as well.

FAQ

Can I sell or give away a dog that’s been declared dangerous, menacing or restricted?

That depends on your state as well as the local government. In most cases, you need to notify the council within 24 hours of transferring ownership of a dog that’s declared dangerous or menacing. As for the restricted breeds, selling or giving them away is prohibited, unless under special circumstances and to your related person.

What are other requirements for keeping a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog?

Aside from a red and yellow collar, your dog needs to be microchipped and desexed, as well as wear a muzzle and be on a lead when outside. Furthermore, you need to keep your dog in an enclosure in such a way as to prevent escaping and potentially harming anyone. You must display warning signs about dangerous dogs inside at every entrance to your estate.

What are the penalties for my dog not wearing a dangerous dog collar?

The exact penalties vary, but failure to put the designated collar on a dog declared dangerous is always an offence. In case your declared or restricted breed dog attacks or hurts someone while not wearing a dangerous dog collar, you can get fined and even go to jail.

References

  1. Trajkovich, M. December 16, 2021. “New collars now mandatory for Queensland's dangerous dogs”. Nine News. Retrieved January 15, 2023. https://www.9news.com.au/national/queensland-dog-collar-rules-new-warning-collars-mandatory-for-queenslands-dangerous-dogs/27a818c2-1ba6-49f3-8f07-1828560b1f81
  2. July 06, 2020. “Standard for restricted breed dogs”. Agriculture Victoria. Retrieved January 15, 2023. https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/livestock-and-animals/animal-welfare-victoria/dogs/restricted-breed-dogs/standard-for-restricted-breed-dogs
  3. Dog Regulations 2013, Western Australian Legislation https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_13105_homepage.html
  4. January 11, 2022. “Do Dangerous Dogs Have to Wear Collars By Law?”. PD. Retrieved January 15, 2023. https://www.pd.com.au/blogs/do-dangerous-dogs-have-to-wear-collars-by-law/
  5. Orr, B; Malik, R; Norris, J; Westman, M. October 22, 2019. “The Welfare of Pig-Hunting Dogs in Australia”. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved January 15, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826489/#:~:text=Under%20the%20NSW%20Companion%20Animals,declared%20dangerous%20dog%20%5B37%5D

Vedrana Nikolic


Vedrana Nikolić is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer, Anthropologist & dog lover.

With a Masters Degree in Semiotics & Bachelors Degree in Anthropology, studying the communication between animals and humans, Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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