Staffie to France? Non!

Last summer, we had a very successful camping holiday in France accompanied by our Staffie Cross, which I wrote about here (Click to read)

We have now been informed that our lovely furry friend is considered to be a dangerous breed and will not be allowed into France.

Obviously we are very disappointed about this ruling, the more so, as we had already booked the Eurotunnel and cannot have a refund.

For any other Staffie or Staffie Cross owners considering venturing across the Channel, I shall copy the Email letter which I received today from the French Consulate in London:

“Dear Mrs Gowen,

I am afraid the legislation in France does not allow entry on french
territory to dogs of the 1st category (so-called “attack dogs” –
staffordshire bull terriers, american staffordshire, bull mastiff and
Japanese tosas) without a pedigree certificate from a national registrar such as the Kennel Club.

This legislation was enacted to curb the import of pit bulls, cross
breeds of molossoids frequently trained as fighting dogs. Personally, I
consider this is obviously unfair to staffies, usually friendly and “big
softies”, and to the people who own them, and frequently have them
rescued from the RSPCA refuges. The law, however, is very strictly
enforced due to a series of unfortunate accidents in the recent past.

The question, if you want to bring your staffie with you, is that of
identification. What is the breed mentioned in the Europeaan Pet
Passport ? If it is Staffie cross, this will obviously not be accepted.
Another formulation could possibly be acceptable (does your dog look
like a boxer or bull-dog cross ? those are not 1st category).

It is also a question of morphology. Does your dog have the typical look
of the staffie cross (typical “stop” between the muzzle nose and eyes,
proeminent jaw on the sides, thin whip-like tail ? If she does not look
like that, the dog could also be acceptable.

Finally, your dog will in no circumstance be put down just because it’s
a staffie cross – French people are animal lovers too, even if staffies
are not as frequent – and popular – there as in the UK. The only risk is
that you might have to curtail your holidays and bring the dog back to
the UK.

I am really sorry for the bad news, but I would like you to have an
exact view of the situation. Should you wish your companion to be with
you during the holidays, remember that 1st category dogs are usually
kept on a lead and muzzled in public places, and on public transport.

Yours very sincerely,

Jean-Pascal CODINE
Customs Counsellor
French Embassy, London”

Our lovely dog was rescued by the RSPCA from a bad place and there is no way we would ever consider putting her back into kennels. She is a gentle ‘softie’ and wonderful with our young grandchildren.

So we shall be enjoying the campsites of England and Wales this summer.

68 thoughts on “Staffie to France? Non!

  1. christy

    well that was a shock! i am just selling my house and have been searching for a home in france for the last few months i was planning to live and study in france with my two dogs, oscar, a labrador and talullah, a staffie cross. talullah loves people and children and is the sweetest, most affectionate dog i have ever known , probably very similar to your own dog. i cant quite believe i’ve just come accross this now, it was never mentioned to me when she recieved her passport a few months ago. is there anyway around this? at the bottom of the letter you recieved from the french consulate it mentioned these sorts of dogs must be kept on a muzzle and a lead, would she be allowed in if she was kept with these?

  2. Lesley

    Hi Christy
    My readiing of the letter is that 1st category dogs must always be muzzled and on a lead in public…. but that they must also have a pedigree certificate to be allowed in in the first place.

    If they DO get in and are then noticed, they would have to be returned to the UK at once.

    I am as mystified as you by the apparent lack of logic that will allow a pedigree Staffie in, but ban a cross breed!

    As you see from my report of our extended holiday in France last year, nobody mentioned a problem then, and I have already paid for a renewal rabies jab this year and her passport is all in order.

    She was seen by the vet in St Omer last June on her way home and there was no warning. Also, she was checked at the entry to the Eurotunnel in Calais the following day and nothing was said then either.

    I think there have been unfortunate incidents in France in recent months, as in the UK, but not necessarily involving Staffies…. which might have precipitated these over reactions.

    I know I read somewhere on the web that there in a big problem in Germany with Staffies too, and the wife of a British soldier came home with her Staffie because local people reacted very strongly to it !

    I hope you can manage to find a way out of the problem, but personally I would not care to take any risks with our lovely Staffie. Good Luck… let me know if you find out any more!

  3. rob thompson

    Just found your website by chance and I must say me and my wife are absolutely gutted by what we read. We have recently sold our house in anticipation of an extended tour in excess of 6 months of Europe in our American RV. Having just lost our beloved Lab we got a beautiful Staffie/Collie cross (1yr old) from our local rescue centre just 5 weeks ago. We too have just gone thru the process of the Pet Passport Scheme and no-one mentioned anything about the so called “dangerous dogs” of Staffie crosses travelling to Europe. Perhaps all UK vets should be instructed by DEFRA to be more aware of EC Regulations with regard to the scheme. We agree with many Satffie owners that they are loving and loyal, and we agree with Rich Boakes’ comments on owners. Anyone who goes thru the time, effort and expense of the Pet Passport Sheme must surely be considered responsible owners.
    We now have the dilemma of either taking a chance on the trip as his passport simply says “cross breed” even though facially he resembles a staffie, or making the heart wrenching decision of returning him.
    How where you informed? What sort of checks would we expect to get IF we decide to take him with us.

  4. Lesley

    Hi Rob

    Firstly, I am sorry to hear of the loss of your Labrador.

    Secondly, I think you might have good fortune on your side in that the passport describes your newly rescued dog merely as ‘cross breed’. Our vets had a conference to decide if it would be possible to change our dog’s passport to avoid the reference to ‘Staffie’ but they decided that they could not because she failed the test on the points made by the French consulate.

    As you will have seen, we had no problems last year. We went to France via Euro-tunnel and the only check made on the outward journey was on the gas bottles. During our stay, we were welcomed everywhere and everyone commented on our particularly polite and docile dog.

    The vet at St Omer who inspected the dog before our return was happy to accept her, and nothing was said at Calais when she had her final check before embarkation onto the train.

    Because we had planned to go to Germany this year, we did a random search just to ensure there would not be a problem there. What we found worried us, so we contacted the ‘Caravan Club’ who also came up with the bad news about France.

    I then contacted the French Consulate and received the letter contained in the above posting. We too were staggered.

    Finally, we decided that we could not risk losing our lovely companion, despite the assurance that the dog would not be taken from us, and we cancelled the holiday.

    If you get any updated information, please let us know. We have many friends in France and a rescinding of this strange ruling would mean we could go and visit them again.

    Meanwhile, good luck in the future!

  5. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Judge the deed not the breed

  6. Linda

    I have been trawling through web sites trying to get a definative answer on whether our cross will be allowed on our 2 week holiday booked for 5 weeks time. I am interested in the email you received from the French Embassy as I have also found a letter saying that Staffies are not category 1 in France. This is an official response saying that the inclusion of staffies in the 99 ruling was a mistake as they were confused with American Staffs.

    We are planning to take our dog but are nervous as to whether he will be deported!! I take it from your comments that it was not until you returned home that you were informed that he was banned, or has anyone ever been forcibly removed from France because of their dog? What is the worst that can happen? if we believe that they will not “put the dog down”?

    our dogs passport states “cross breed” with no ref to Staffie, he does not have a typical “stop” between the muzzle nose and eyes, he does have a prominent jaw but nowhere near a pure staff, his tail is thicker, he is taller and less stocky but he is Brindle.

    Any advice or help appreciated


  7. Lesley

    With a bit of luck, Your dog’s passport description will mean you are in the clear! Fingers crossed anyway! I think if we could have had the passport changed, we might have taken the risk…. the letter did, after all say they would NOT destroy the dog, but deport her (and therefore us too) instead

    However, I was sufficiently frightened by the letter from the consulate to change our plans. We had a great holiday in the UK and the French economy has lost out.

    Good luck with your hols, let us know how you get along, please

  8. Linda

    Linda again

    Having reread the note from Jean-Pascal Codine, he seems to indicate in the last paragraph that you can travel with a cat 1 dog, or am I misreading? Also what would happen if the Gendarmerie were to stop you, would you be escorted to the port or would the dog be siezed. Any idead where I can find out more information and also do you have Jean-Pascal’s email address so that I can contact him directly with specific questions? This is so frustrating!!!

  9. Lesley

    Sorry, Linda, because of a complete computer crash after the email was received, I cannot access the email address, however, I’m sure that snail mail might have a result, especially if you write a letter and ask for an email reply (to fit into your time scale requirements)…. I’d be really interested to hear any news you might bring up as I really would like to visit my French friends again soon!

  10. Linda

    It really is a pain!

    I can’t understand how you had no problems at all whilst in France and then when you were home you received the bad news, was it the French vet who passed on details etc?. I am concerned as Cash looks more like a Staffie than your dog. He has more of a staffie body but is more slight, his face is like yours slim and not broad jawed, but he is brindle which makes hime stand out.

    If I knew that we would just get asked to take the dog home if we were stopped I would risk it but no one can tell me what would happen. You hear so many bad stories, and like you Cashie is rescue and I would never put him in kennels so we now need to look at gettying a house sitter so more expense

    I will keep you posted on what happends


  11. Malcolm X

    So if I was planning on exporting a pitbull from the uk I could not take it to France?

    What method would you reccomend for exporting a banned dog in order to save it’s life?

  12. Linda

    Dear Lesley

    Well after weeks of frustration and pulling my hair out I seem to have the answer. I copy the emails below from the French Embassy which states categorically that Staffies are NOT classed as dangerous. We visited the vet this morning and he is writing us a letter which states that Cashie does not have features similar to Cat 1 and 2 dogs, i.e. Pitbulls.

    I hope this helps you and you will be able to visit your friends in the future, although apparently Sarcozy is planning to ban Staffies at some point ( not sure why!)

    In response to Malcolm X my understanding is that Pit bulls are definately not allowed but you can follow this up with the French embassy.

    Email trail below

    Dear Linda,

    I had the answer from the french ministry of agriculture who said that the Staffordshire Bull terrier is not considered as a dangerous dog.

    However, if you want to be able to bring your dog to France, you will need to have with you a certificate delivered by a veterinary or a judge’s breed recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World canine federation) (regarding arrêté du 27 avril 1999) saying that regarding his physical aspects, the animal is not assimilated to a dog from the first or the second category (dangerous dogs).


    De : Linda Ashcroft []
    Envoyé : mercredi 22 août 2007 14:07
    À : ARNAUD Juliette
    Objet : Re: URGENT query re holidaying in France with pet dog


    Thank you so much for helping us out on this, we really appreciate it and your quick replies.


    —– Original Message —–
    From: ARNAUD Juliette
    To: Linda Ashcroft
    Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:34 PM
    Subject: RE: URGENT query re holidaying in France with pet dog

    Dear Linda,

    I understand now the problem. To be sure I understand well, the fact is you don’t know exactly which breed is your dog and which famlily he could be identified and you fear that he could be identified as a Staffordshire Bull terrier which seems to be considered as dangerous. I understand that the informations I gave you are incorrect regarding the letter from the “ministère de l’intérieur”. On that fact, even if your dog will be assimilated to a Staffordshire Bull terrier he should not be considered as dangerous.

    I will check these informations with the french ministry of agriculture and let you know as soon as I can.


    De : Linda Ashcroft []
    Envoyé : mercredi 22 août 2007 09:12
    À : ARNAUD Juliette
    Objet : URGENT query re holidaying in France with pet dog

    Dear Juliette

    Thank you for your quick response. I am afraid I am still confused over this issue. The information you listed is incorrect. British Staffordshire Bull terriers are not known as pitbulls and never have been, these are American Bull Terriers. They are about 3 times as big as British Staffordshire Bull terriers and are actually a different family. I know that in the 1971 Dangerous dogs act the breed British Staffordshire Bull terrier was mis quoted (please see below the letter from the French Ministere l’interieur) and are not actually on the dangerous dogs list. I am very confused as to why there is so much conflicting information, it seems that there is a lot of confusion around this act.

    Our dog Cash as I stated is a rescue dog, we have had him for 4 years now. As such we are unsure of his actual cross breed. He does not have the defining characteristics of a Staffordshire Bull terrier he has a smaller frame, is taller but more slight, does not have the “stop” between the muzzel and his jaw is not as prominent as a staffie, the main thing that could be construed as Staffordshire Bull terrier is his colour which is Brindle, this colour is more common in Boxers.

    As I previously indicated the British Consulate informed me that British Staffordshire Bull terriers are not on the list, please see email attached. Also we have been informed that if we do take cash with us and he is siezed he will not be put down, this contradicts your email below.

    Sorry to be so insistent but obviously he is a part of our family and we do not want anything to happen to him, but also we are planning to move to France to start up a business and if we are unable to take Cash with us this will not be possible. Is there any way that we can get him seen by someone to aquire a Visa etc to ensure that no confusion arises when we are in France? When our vet issued his passport he informed us that Cash would be fine to travel in France so we went ahead with the expense, injections etc.

    I am sure you can understand our frustration as our whole immediate future depends on this outcome.

    I await your repsonse and appreciate your help on this matter

    Re: Staffies

    Rectificatif sur le Staffordshire Bull Terrier :

    Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier dit « Staffie » fut un temps inclus dans la loi de janvier 99 par erreur du ministère de l’agriculture, en le confondant avec le Staffordshire Terrier, race qui n’existe plus depuis 1972 ! Suite à plusieurs courriers adressés au Ministère, le jugement est tombé ;

    Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier ne fait pas partie des chiens dits « dangereux ».

    Le Journal Officiel est là pour l’attester :

    Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier ne fait plus partie de la deuxième catégorie (numéro du 5 février 2001, page 774.)

    Rectificatif sur le Staffordshire Bull Terrier :

    Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier dit « Staffie » fut un temps inclus dans la loi de janvier 99 par erreur du ministère de l’agriculture, en le confondant avec le Staffordshire Terrier, race qui n’existe plus depuis 1972 ! Suite à plusieurs courriers adressés au Ministère, le jugement est tombé ;

    Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier ne fait pas partie des chiens dits « dangereux ».

    Le Journal Officiel est là pour l’attester :

    Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier ne fait plus partie de la deuxième catégorie (numéro du 5 février 2001, page 774.)

    Les différents Terriers de « type Bull » :

    – L’English Bull Terrier

    – Le Staffordshire Bull Terrier (dit Staffie)

    – L’American Staffordshire Terrier (dit Am’Staff) chien de 2ème catégorie

    – L’American Pit Bull Terrier (dit Pit bull) chien de 1e catégorie

    The British Consulate wrote

    Dear Mrs Ashcroft,

    hank you for your email. Although I have no specific contacts with the French on this matter, my understanding is that Staffordshire bull-terriers are not considered to be dangerous. I therefore advise you to bring all Cashie’s ID with you and keep him muzzled.

    Kind Regards

    Danielle Ducos

  13. Leanne

    Hi Lesley
    So after all that running around what are you going to do? I have one staffie with pedigree and one staffie cross that I’m planning on taking to France in November and I’m worried about what will happen to the staffie cross – their advice seems to be – if in doubt, don’t. My staffie cross is also brindle but her facial features are not quite staffie. If you had a vet certify them as “cross breed” as opposed to “staffie cross” I wonder if that would help.

  14. handyman

    finally the french do something i like………..probably reduce the amount of British chavs going to France as well.

    Why anyone would want an attach dog as a pet is beyond me, unless you have a need to risk having someones child or dog killed by these things.

    “There’s no such thing a dangerous dog, there are only dangerous and irresponsible owners”
    What an utter load of rubbish. These dogs are killing machines, when they crack, there isnt anything you can do. You keep trying to convince yourself your wee darling is a pet, but one day it may just turn on someone, then how would you feel?

  15. Alan Delavigne

    Can any one help us , we have two 10year old spayed Staffie bitches with no pedigree papers We have traveled through France to Spain for the last six years and have a vet in Bourges who has not mentioned anything to us about this problem they even said see you next time. Their Pet Passports state Staffiordshire Bull Terriers We plan to do the same this April but we have no proof of Pedgree what do we do now. Will we be forced to travel by the much more expensive route Plymouth to Santander/ Bilbao.Thus missing out on the beauties of France. HELP!

  16. Sarah

    The above comment is totally ridiculous and made in such an unnecessarily rude way.
    I work in a large London dogs home and have I’m sure been exposed to far more Staffordshire Bull Terriers and crosses than yourself and they are beautiful, loving companions and so eager to please their owners. They are nick-named ‘nanny dogs’ because they are amazing with children. I agree though that they have a temperament where if they are greatly encouraged and mistreated they can be agressive, especially to other dogs, but this is due to bad ownership.

  17. handyman


    a perfectly sane country has stated that these dogs are attach dogs……….because they are. I have personally seen a loving bull terrier attach another dog (and continue to attack). It has been very well treated by the owner.

    A one off i hear you all cry……….

    On a more positive statement from me, I dont think its right they ban certain (most) cross versions, as this crossing is breading out the aggressive attach instinct of the terrier.

  18. Sarah

    Thanks for your response and I agree that the ban on certain cross breeds needs to be reconsidered.

    I am a Staffordshire Bull Terrier owner and love the breed but I am in no way blinkered to the fact that they can be vicious dogs. In my extensive experience however so can many dogs of various other breeds- spaniels for example are notoriously bad at guarding their food and displaying high levels of possession and I have witnessed several vicious attacks on their handlers. SBT’s have such a bad reputation which I truly believe is down to irresponsible ownership and breeding.

    Just to address one of your points about why anyone would want to own an attack dog… PLease bear in mnd that the umbrella term ‘attack dog’ is what they were originally bred for but this has deminished and they are successfully owned as pets who don’t attack. Collie’s are ‘working’ dogs but many people own them in a non-working capacity, the small terriers (cairns etc) are ‘rat dogs’ but are likewise rarely used for this. The original reasons for breeding dogs are not so needed now so all breeds have become companion and pet dogs.

  19. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Portugal bans ‘dangerous dogs’

  20. flovic

    Me & my partner are travelling to france with our staffordshire bull terrier & Rottweiler in September.
    Our Staffy has no papers, from what i can gather if we get our vets to sign something official we will be ok to take her on holiday, she is a full staffy. What do you reckon our chances are? Again we have already got the passports & then find all this crap out, about staffies being dangerous in France.

  21. Christal

    PLEASE HELP – ANYONE: Firstly (re Linda 31 July 2007), I would like to ask, Linda, if you ever did go to France with your “Cross Breed” dog. We rescued a staff cross called Charlie last August 2007, and after leaving him in kennels for our pre-planned holiday we returned to find a very sad dog indeed. So we vowed never to leave him again. We sold our small car and bought an estate car, thule roof box, camping gear. We got Charlie sorted our with his passport. On the day we collected the passport we were given an internet printout with all the blurb!!!!! We had by then already booked on the Eurotunnel for beginning of May 08. Oh dear. What to do. I think we will just risk it. Charlie is fawn colour all over. His passport did say “Staffordshire Terrier Cross”, but got the vet to change it to “Terrier Cross”. Perhaps we should go back tomorrow and ask for it to say “Cross Breed”?

    We also got our vet to write a certificate saying: “To whom it may concern:

    Re Charlie Porteous, 5 y.o. Cross breed dog. ID no 981000002098495

    I have examined this dog today and believe it to be a crossbreed. The legs and tail are longer than the breed standard for a Staffordshire bull terrier. The head is also much narrower than a Staffordshire terrier and the dog is not as well muscled as is normal for the breed. The characteristics and temperament of this dog are not in line with the type known as the Staffordshire terrier.”

    Please can anyone update me with current news?

    Linda 31 July 2007

  22. wendy borowiak

    Hi anyone,
    whats the latest news on the Staffie being accepted into France ???

    Can a Staffie be accepted even if we have no pedigree papers, he was from the RSPCA

  23. Emma

    Hi there,
    I too am keen to know if there is any news on this? we are moving to france in august and have just been to the vet for his passport and were told that there may be a problem with him being allowed in the country. He is a staffy without papers. I am so confused about this. what is the issue, is it that staffys arent allowed in france, or staffy crosses or staffies without papers?
    i cant bare the thought of not being able to take my dog with us to france, particulary when he is the nicest natured dog i have ever known!
    If someone could clarify i would be so grateful!
    thanks in advance

  24. Lesley

    We have camped in the UK since we heard of the problem with Staffies, afraid of the possible consequences. We know a lot of folks who say: ‘Just go, and take the risk’….. but we value our four legged friend too much…..

    Last week we were at the Stratford Motor-home & RV Show and met people who had recently toured France. They were owners of a large dog, though being an Otter Hound, it does not feature in the ‘dangerous dogs’ lists.

    They told us that on several camp sites, checks were made on the breeds of dogs travelling with campers…. so we shall continue to support the UK tourist industry in preference to that of Euroland

  25. Nicci Chilcott

    Having read all previous reports, I am very disappointed to learn that my family’s planned move to France could now not happen. We have a Staff x with a Ridgeback 8yrs old and a staff 2yrs 6months – no papers. The plan would have been to be able to travel to the uk 2 – 3 times a year with our beloved boys, but now ALL our plans have been put on hold. The house is going on the market on the 25th June and we have crossings booked and paid for to look at properties in 4 weeks time – no dogs on that trip, they do not hold a current passport. I would appreciate any comments or updates on the transportation of staffy breeds to France.

  26. Pat Smith

    I have a SBT who has no pedigree papers- I have photos of her parents- one was KC registered but not the bitch but she appeared to be pure SBT. The vet has written to say she appears to be pure bred in his opinion is of good temprement and shows no malicious tendencies.- there is no mistaking her breed so I cannot smuggle her in under another name. Do you think the vet’s letter and the photos would be enough if challenged?

    I have German friends who live in the Mozelle region who have checked with their authorities for me and say SBT’s are allowed on leash and muzzled but that may be only in their “province”

  27. Paul Jay

    I have not heard of any of the above problems, I have three Staffies and live in France, none have pedigree papers as all are rescues and the only papers that matter are the ones issued in France, my 3 are registered with the local mairie, Gendarmerie and French Kennel Club equivilent. They are classified as Cat 2, however you must have them muzled in a public place. My vet in France keeps me up to date on the current laws and to date there are no real problems although the French are reviewing the DDA. My 2 females are spayed and my male is castrated. I also travel backwards and forwards between France and the UK and have never had a problem. The best people to speak to are the ferry companies that run between the UK and France as they have to clear all animals travelling on their vessels, so they are up to date with the laws.

  28. Dasha

    Hey, I’ve just returned from St.Raphael, south France (we are from Czech Republic). We’ve been very suprised when we arrived with our Staffie and we were banned from the campsite. Fortunately, we persuaded the personnel that our Staffie is only a puppy (8 months, with papers) and is not dangerous at all, so we could stay. However, when we met some people on their way to the beach or anywhere else, they we scared and were running away from us. It was quite stressful for our dog as well as he is not used to such behavior. He is very friendly with people and other animals (cats, rabbits). We were also told by several people on the street who weren’t afraid to approach us that when he is not on the lead and muzzled in public places and police sees us, they will took our dog and put him down. We were really afraid of the possible consequences, we don’t speak French and it was hard to find someone who would be able to explain the situation to us. Do you think that Staffies are banned in every region of France or does it differ? Otherwise this was our last vacation, so much hysteria over such a kind, sweet and beautiful dog..I don’t get it, I simply don’t..

  29. Paul Jay

    In reply to Dasha, Staffies are category 2 dogs and wait for it, they are still bred in France (I have just got a 14 week old bitch puppy, with papers and I don’t have to muzzle her when she grows up. Crazy isn’t it, however in some places she will be banned. I have 3 adults (and a puppy) and although I have quite a bit land of my own to walk my dogs on, I do sometimes take them out for walks, if you need breathing space just walk through a busy French town with a Staffie, it’s like starburst, there is major hysteria, and everybody panics and runs off. King Kong would cause less hysteria if he walked through a town in France. However people don’t bat an eyelid if somebody walks through a group of primary school children with 3 Dobermans, German Sheppard’s or Rotties. Most attacks by dog in France are carried out by GSD’s which are not categorised, Rotties & Dobermans are “Cat 2” dogs. A ray of hope for Dasha is that not all French Caravan and camping sites ban staffies, there are 2 not to far from me that will allow them in. So not all French are blinded by regulations. At this point I will also say that I have two young daughters 4 1/2 & 3 years of age and they have grown up with our dogs and there has never been a problem, but then I never leave them on their own together.

  30. Ellie J

    A HUGE thank you to all of you (except Handyman) for all your helpful advice. Although I am gutted to read all this I am glad I did. My husband and I sat down this weekend to plan our 6 month trip to Europe next year in our campervan with our gentle 5 year old Staffie. My dream of walking away from the stresses of London, living in our camper van together and exploring Europe whilst receiving IVF treatment overseas are looking like just dreams now.. We know that our dog is a pure breed Staff and could now try to trace his papers – something we were never bothered about doing before. but doubt we could prove it is him – I don;t know.. We adopted him from a friend who relocated to New Zealand and would never ever give him up – he went through enough the first time!
    The other thing I am now worried about is the stress of people’s reaction to him. It upsets me enough when the occassional person makes nasty comments or crosses the road when they see us coming here in London where people are far less hysterical and these incidents are far outweighed by the number of smiles and positive attention he gets.
    Right – off to drown my sorrows with a big glass of wine and a lovely cuddle with my boy (currently sunbathing upside-down in the garden with a big smile on his face!)
    Good luck to all of you and please post any news or experiences you have had that may help.

  31. Druid_uk

    I know this may be a bit late for anyone but here goes. I moved to Switzerland with my Staffy, at the beginning of the year. More and more legislation was coming in of so called ‘attack dogs’ until the point that I had to go through training, have my dog muzzled, not allowed off leash etc etc. To cut a long story short, I gave up my job after the hassle – it was the peoples reaction that got to me, with their snappy ‘harmless’ mutts, crossing to the other side of the street and cussing at me. I had to sit out a couple of months before re-entering the uk because of the six month ruling. So stayed in Aquitane. Not one single problem there, with my dog. Well there was one, when at the last week I was stopped by the police asking about the dogs papers. Luckily I had a copy of the French legislation stating about the Staffy not being a Class 1 or 2 guard dog. The Gendarmarie duly rather confused went on their way. They didn’t ask for pedigree papers etc. This may have been a touch of luck?!
    It was such a relief to come back to the UK. There are people who have their extreme views and its up to you and I to make sure that the sort of confusing legislation that has come into place in Germany, Switzerland, France does not reach these shores. Any dog can be dangerous, (my staff has been attacked by a chocolate lab, huskys(never met a nice one!), etc etc..).
    I, like alot of you get alot of positive and affectionate reactions about our breed, but also get negative reactions. Please Please, don’t get upset from this. These are ignorant people. I have views about things (cats crapping in my garden etc.) Do I want to kill them? No, but turn it around, the people who hate our breed want to kill our beloved pets! Don’t let it happen!

  32. AWS

    I am so glad that I found this site. We have just had a pet passport for our dog-rabies etc and almost paid a deposit on a villa when I read this. Our dog looks exactly like the dog above ( she was also a rescue dog) and we would never put her back in kennels as she spent 6 months in quarantine. Many thanks for the information

  33. donatella

    hi Lesley, I was wondering if there was any update on this thread and if you indeed have made it back thru France.

    We are in the same situation as you found yourself and although our dog’s passport only states cross and he is a lab cross he also indeed has staffy in him and you can see so when he smiles… the rest of the features are not very prominant but was wondering whether there was any update since.

    Also would love to hear from the other worried posters whether they succesfully made it.
    thank you! and to all of you well done for rescuing such loving creatures.

  34. thomas hobbs

    Alan mentioned he had used a vet in Bourges, does Alan or anybody else have a phone number or email for this vet as “cross terrier” staffie mix is going to Spain shortly and we want to book a vet early for our return.
    I am not concerned about my dog and as the passport states cross terrier then I consider that as gospel. There is no mention of Staffie , so he should be fine. As he is always on a lead when out and about abroad, I will not be worried.
    TAM H

  35. morad

    I would like to correct Paul Jay’s incorrect statement by saying no, staffies are NOT category 2, and certainly not 1 here in France.

    They WERE considered category 2 when the first law passed in 1999 but this was corrected not long after.
    On the other hand, staffie cross, and staffies with no pedigree papers ARE category 1 dogs.

    there is confusion as staffies are not a well known breed here ; and you might have to show your dog’s papers to the police every now and then.
    they’re obviously not aware of the subtilities between breeds and easily associate staffies with american staffs or pit bulls.
    But they would have no right to trouble you past that point.
    The law is clear and clearly mentions staffies as NOT cat 1 or 2.

    The first draft of the law back in ’99 did include staffies w/ pedigree in the 2nd category, but i insist, it has been CORRECTED.

    People might bother you though, especially in big cities like Paris, where people still mistake them for amstaffs (god knows bad owners have given the poor fellers a bad rep), and you’ll just have to either ignore or correct them (the first option would be the one i’d choose).

    on that note, have a nice day everyone.

  36. Debbie

    I have a black and white English bull terrier x border collie. He looks like the EBT of old i.e. 100yrs ago. His passport says bull terrier (English). Does anyone think I will have problems getting him into France?

  37. morad


    The law here might make it difficult for you to travel with your dog.
    The law states that if the dog has no pedigree, and corresponds in looks & size to a categorized dog, then it’s automatically assimilated to category 1 (“attack dogs”)

  38. Steve Cook

    I have had the same issues as we are looking to move to France to settle and take our pet SBT that was rescued with us. He has no pedigree, as a rescue and consequently this has caused us a lot of stress…until now!!

    I received this email after much correspondence with the French Embassy and this now clarifies the position of taking a Stafford Bull Terrier to France.


    —–Original Message—–
    From: [REMOVED]
    Sent: 07 April 2010 17:29
    To: Cook, Steve
    Subject: RE: Stafford Bull Terriers

    I received confirmation a few minutes ago that the Staffordshire bull terrier is not classified as a dangerous animal and therefore is not subject to declaration or licence, whether the animal is pedigreed or not.
    It was given to me by :

    Bureau de l’Identification et du contrôle des mouvements des animaux (BICMA),

    Sous-direction de la santé et de la production animales (SDSPA)

    Direction Générale de l’Alimentation (DGAL)

    of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries in Paris.

    Best regards.


    1. Lesley

      But does this this cover Staffi crosses?… Ours, being half Lab, is a bit too tall for their liking, so I would still be afraid of meeting an over officious policeman, despite my having very good french to argue the case…

  39. Steve Cook

    why not email the French Embassy..? I think you’d be okay though as the pedigree on our dog couldn’t be established and therefore his true breed not ascertained.

  40. Jade Makina

    Hi, my puppy is a Dogue de Bordeaux cross staff, but she looks a lot like a red nosed pitbull. Yep not even a staff cross. Do you think that if the vet put DDB cross and I could show this to any authorities she would be allowed in France?

    I mean it is their own breed of dog, but then without official papers I suppose she could be considered a dangerous dog.

    What if she were muzzled and on a leash??

  41. Buster

    Just read your comments about taking a staffy through france, we want to do the same but it looks like we won’t be able to do so.
    Can you please clarify the last paragraph: –
    I am really sorry for the bad news, but I would like you to have an
    exact view of the situation. Should you wish your companion to be with
    you during the holidays, remember that 1st category dogs are usually
    kept on a lead and muzzled in public places, and on public transport.
    If he’s saying you can go but he must have a muzzle??????

    1. Lesley

      It is my understanding that a pure bred staffie, WITH PAPERS is ok to go to/through France, on a lead, and possibly muzzled too, but a staffie cross is unacceptable. I simply would not risk trying to take our staffie x as she is part of the family and I would not trust the policce to understand that. I could not risk losing her.

  42. Pingback: Anyone taken a Staffie to France yet? - MotorhomeFun

  43. Ceebee

    I have spoken with the French embassy and been directed to their info on dangerous dogs. The Staffordshire bull terrier is most definitely NOT on the list of dangerous dogs. Full details below:
    Taken from the French embassy website:,17660.html

    Dangerous dogs in France are classified in 2 categories :

    Category 1 : attack dogs – They are dogs whose appearance is of American Staffordshire terrier (pit-bulls), Mastiff (boerbulls) and Tosa types (i.e. without pedigree). It is prohibited to introduce these dogs into France.
    Category 2 : defence and guard dogs – They are dogs of American Staffordshire terrier, Rottweiler, and Tosa breeds (i.e. with pedigree), and dogs of a Rottweiler type (without pedigree).

    Since 1st January 2010, by virtue of legislation dated 20 June 2008 and published in the Journal Officiel of 21 June 2008 (Loi du 20 juin 2008 renforçant les mesures de prévention et de protection des personnes contre les chiens dangereux), all owners of dangerous dogs (category 1 and 2) in France must hold a certificate of aptitude for keeping a dangerous animal, delivered by an approved trainer, and a licence (permis de détention) for the animal, delivered by the town hall (mairie) of residence. Until modification of the law to allow for a temporary derogation for category 2 dogs being imported into France, it is advised not to introduce such animals into France, whether on a temporary (holidays) or permanent basis. Sanctions may be incurred for absence of licence.

    Staffordshire bull terriers are not on the list of dangerous dogs in France. An answer to a Parliamentary question put to the Ministère de l’Intérieur (Home Office), published in the Official Journal dated 5 February 2001 (page 774), confirms the amendment to the list published in the decree of 27 April 1999, and excludes Staffordshire bull terriers from the said list.
    Dogues de Bordeaux without pedigree are classified in France as category 1 under the dangerous dogs regulations, and cannot therefore be introduced into France.

    We are moving to France with our wonderful rescue Staffie!

  44. adrian smith

    hello,im english but live in france, had staffies in uk for 20yrs,just bought american staff here for change as not about in uk fully pedigreed,lots of paperwork to be legal its a nightmare and they are on it. bin fined a few times with no muzzle.camping a nightmare as well its like uk was 10 yrs ago when they cracked down on pitbulls.but u can find campsite for cat 2 dogs municiple are good. but get this my wife wanted to take dog to uk for holiday guess what not allowed as not reconised by kennel club.and classed as pitbull.she can get in after a million test to c if vicious and on special licence in extreme cases.what a load of bollock excuse my french

  45. Ma Blimey

    We have just been shown the information on about taking dogs to France by a well known London rescue centre who have just turned us down for a rescue pup because we said we were thinking of moving to France in the future. We already have a staffie rescue (no papers obviously) who is chipped and has a valid pet passport which reads ‘Staffordshire Bull Terrier’.
    I’ve just noticed that in the information, a distinction is made between: American Stafforshire Terrier; Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire BULL Terrier and it clearly states that there are two categories of “dangerous” dogs in France (which then details whether you need a pedigree or not) but that the Staffordshire BULL Terrier is not classified as a dangerous dog in France and therefore falls into NEITHER of the categories. Obviously if our dog isn’t allowed into France we’ll be looking for somewhere else to move to but I just wondered if anyone else could confirm whether the distinction between Stafforshire Terrier; Staffordshire BULL Terrier and American Stafforshire Terrier was a valid one??


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