6 States That Are Bully-Breed Friendly

Written by Nina Phillips
Published: November 21, 2023
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Bullboxer Profile

Some states are bully-breed friendly, but unfortunately, not all states accept these loving dogs.

©Ipek Morel/Shutterstock.com

There are places throughout the US that have bully-breed regulations. They are known as BSL, or breed-specific legislation. Unfortunately, this means that in the US, it’s sometimes hard to find states that are bully-breed friendly.

Currently, these legislations are implemented for pitbulls and other dogs that fall under the category known as “bully-breed“. However, in the past, these legislations went towards banning dogs that are no longer seen as a problem. That includes rottweilers, German shepherds, and dobermans.

In some states, they regulate or ban certain breeds throughout the whole state, while in other sates, it’s just certain cities and counties that ban these dogs. People and groups are taking steps to fight against these legislations. While there’s been a huge change in opinion on these BSLs, there are still plenty of states and cities that have rules in place to keep away bully breeds.

If you have a bully breed and are planning to visit or live in a new state throughout the US, you need to make sure that it’s a safe place for your beloved pet. Otherwise, you risk endangering your pet with euthanasia or forced removal from your care.

Thankfully, the states below are all pitbull and bully-breed friendly. Most of them even have laws in place so new laws can’t be put in place to ban certain breeds later on either.

1. Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA at the Great Salt Lake

Utah is a gorgeous place perfect for spending the days outdoors with your pet and best friend.

©Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

As of 2015, Utah no longer has pit bull bands. The state made a law that says there can be no other laws to prohibit specific dog breeds, including bully breeds. This law made a huge difference. Originally, 10 cities in Utah had bans specifically on pitbulls.

The 10 cities with pitbull bans were:

  • Delta City
  • Filmore City
  • Duchesne
  • Garland
  • Honeyville
  • North Salt Lake
  • Smithfield
  • Springville
  • South Jordan
  • Morgan City

However, after House Bill 97 passed, those 10 cities’ ban on pitbulls and similar breeds no longer held any validity. Those who pushed the bill on the house floor brought up the fact that there’s no proof that one dog breed bites more than others. They suggested instead of banning certain breeds, taking steps to protect the public from specific violent dogs was a better option.

Now, there’s a push to put limits on dog owners with a history of aggressive dogs. Some owners and previously violent dogs must have insurance, and signs around their home.

2. Maine

Another state that cannot outright ban bully-breeds in any part of the state is Maine.


In Maine, municipalities have the power to add tighter laws anywhere they deem necessary. This includes laws involving animals. However, the municipalities aren’t able to adopt laws against certain dog breeds.

Municipalities in Maine may, for example, create strict guidelines on who has a dog, or the rules for getting a dog. But they cannot say that people in their municipalities are forbidden from getting certain dog breeds. Even if laws are somehow put into effect, they aren’t enforceable.

While stopping dog discrimination now in states does help bully-breeds, that’s not all it helps. Throughout history, different dogs have been demonized, including rottweilers, dobermans, and German shepherds. In the future, it’s likely a different breed of dog will end up the victim of media and irrational fear.

These laws don’t only protect a few breeds, but all of them from being banned and allow people to stay with their pets without fear.

3. Arizona

Fredonia, Arizona signage

Arizona had a few laws to do with dog breeds and the selling of dogs, but it did away with all of them.

©Ken Lund / Flickr - License

Senate Bill 1248 in Arizona prevents any breed-specific laws for dogs. The government claimed that breed-specific laws were ineffective and difficult to enforce, as many people did not know how to properly identify pitbulls and banned bully breeds. Training and enforcing these laws also cost people a lot of money.

Arizona claimed to be a state that loved dogs. They managed to prove that by protecting all dog breeds and allowing families to leave in peace with their pets.

Unfortunately, the laws that banned specific dogs tied in with another law. In Arizona, it was once illegal for pet stores to sell dogs from rescue mills. Even popular pet stores could only sell dogs from rescues.

With the removal of the breed-specific laws, the laws about rescue animals also went away. This presents a huge problem, as stores can now sell puppy mill dogs again. Arizona’s government is taking steps to add further guidelines and security to any dog sold, including more public information about where they came from. However, it still needs some work.

4. South Dakota

Rockford, Illinois

The state of South Dakota made sure that their beloved dogs were kept protected.

©Henryk Sadura/iStock via Getty Images

Overall, South Dakota was a safe place for bully breeds. Only one city, Sturgis, had a restriction on pit bulls. South Dakota took an extra step to make sure that no more parts of the state could add breed restrictions. It also made it so that the restrictions in Sturgis were no longer enforceable.

While every local government can set up restrictions on dogs, they cannot be breed-specific. This means that while pitbulls and other bully-breed dogs can’t be targeted as a whole, violent dogs from these groups can still get in trouble if they attack or injure someone.

5. Rhode Island

Historic Dutch Island Lighthouse in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island

Rhode Island was one of the first few states, number 16 to be exact, that implemented the ban against breed-specific legislation.

©iStock.com/Paul Hamilton

In 2013, Rhode Island issued a ban on breed-specific legislation to allow all types of dogs in the state. This came about because pitbulls were one of the most popular dogs in the state back in 2012.

Despite being a popular dog, many cities had bans against pitbulls, so the state decided to do away with them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as simple as that. Many officials claimed that the law didn’t stop cities that had already implemented the banning of certain dog breeds.

Though it went into effect immediately, law HB5671 took quite a long time to set up and finalize. This was in part due to officials in Pawtucket. They put up the biggest fight. They were sued by a few groups focused on protecting pitbulls for violating the laws.

Though the judge ruled that Pawtucket didn’t have the ride to break the laws, they weren’t willing to back down. They proposed a law that would allow any states with breed-specific laws in place before 2013 to keep them in place. Thankfully, it didn’t pass, and now pitbulls are finally welcome throughout the state.

6. Texas

Welcome to Texas State Sign

The state of Texas is yet another state that has banned any breed-specific legislation now and in the future.

©miroslav_1/iStock via Getty Images

Texas is very strict on dangerous dogs. They have state-wide regulations in place to protect people against aggressive dogs, including requiring increased monitoring and steps to prevent certain owners from buying more dogs.

Additionally, each local government is allowed to enact further rules if they wish against aggressive and violent dogs. These rules have to be more strict than the ones already in place to be enforceable.

However, every situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. There are no overarching or generic rules based on breed or behavior. This is done not only to protect the local community but the individual dog as well.

Because Texas wants every cake to be handled individually, they banned the use of breed-specific legislation. This means that pitbulls and other bully-breeds as a whole can’t be banned, only those that are causing issues or threatening communities.

Summary of the Most Bully-Breed Friendly States

List NumberState
4South Dakota
5Rhode Island

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Natthapot Chantaraviboon/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Nina is a writer at A-Z Animals. Her focus is on wildlife, national parks, and the environment. She has been writing on animals for over three years. Nina holds a Bachelor's in Conservation Biology, which she uses when talking about animals and their natural habitats. In her free time, Nina also enjoys working on writing her novels and short stories. As a resident of Colorado, Nina enjoys getting out in nature, traveling, and watching snow hit the mountains from her enclosed porch.

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