Flying Internationally with Restricted Dog Breeds

Pit Bull dogHi PetRelocation,

I've been researching individual airline guidelines for transporting dogs, and have found that the restricted breeds are often subtitled “brachycephalic or snub-nosed breeds,” which I thought referred to dogs such as Pugs and English Bulldogs.

However, pure bred or any mixed breeds of Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are listed in the restricted breeds, as well. Is this because they are considered brachycephalic/snub-nosed, or is it an additional/unrelated issue? I am considering a move to Europe and will not move without my dog, but also do not want to take any extra risks if it is a greater health hazard for his breed to fly.

Additionally, I was unclear whether dogs transported in the cargo compartment can be flown in the crates that are metal only, or are you supposed to use the carriers that are plastic enclosures with metal doors?

My dog is well behaved in his normal metal crate where he can easily see out, but is often anxious and frightened inside of a plastic crate with the limited number of slits.

Thanks for your help!



Thanks for the question, we'd be happy to offer some guidance. Breeds such as Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers are often listed as “restricted” because of historic breed bans rather than health issues. Though you'll find plenty of evidence to support the fact that these breeds are no more dangerous than any other (as we're sure you already know), their size, appearance and possible strength still dictates the policies of many countries and airlines.

We often refer to breed-specific legislation resources online when helping our clients plan out international moves, as some countries do not allow certain breeds to be imported. For example, we helped a dog named Stan move to the Netherlands in 2013 when his owner found out that he wouldn't be able to go to Denmark, where Pit Bulls are banned. Advance planning and creative solutions might be necessary for your move, as well, so it's great that you're starting the process now.

As far as travel crates, this is up to the airline. United (an airline we often choose to fly with) requires that Pit Bulls and a few other breeds travel in reinforced crates meeting IATA Container Requirement #82. KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways are also airlines that we typically select, so we recommend researching the current rules and procedures of these carriers when planning your dog's move.

We also recommend contacting the Ministry of Agriculture in Bulgaria as well as any local authorities and vets who may be able to shed light on how Pit Bulls are regulated (if at all) there. Every country is different, and it's best to learn as much as you can about laws and cultural attitudes before you go.

Finally, we recommend that all dogs have a period of crate acclimation before traveling. Especially because you mentioned your dog can feel nervous in certain crates, we suggest taking a look at these dog crate training tips soon.

Hopefully this helps! Just let us know if you think you'd like some help arranging this move (you can fill out our online consultation form at your convenience), and good luck with everything.


Pet Travel Details:

Name: Biggie
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: Pit Bull mix (though hasn't had DNA testing)
From: Chicago, USA
To: Bulgaria


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated with new information. (Photo credit: Chris/Flickr)


PetRelocation Team



Snub-Nosed Breeds


United States


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By Kasey on August 3, 2018 at 12:59 pm

We are looking at purchasing a Cane Corso but I am worried that if we get stationed overseas (we are military) that he would not be able to come with us due to airline restrictions. The most likely places we would go are Germany, England or Japan. Is it possible that he’d be able to come with us. I don’t want to get a puppy that we cannot keep forever as it is just not fair to the dog. Thank you for any help/advice.

By on August 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Hi Kasey! Cane Corsos are not specifically listed as a banned breed in Germany, England & Japan at this time. However, if a dog is brought into a country with breed restrictions such as Germany, England & Japan and resembles a breed listed on the banned breed list, it could be reported to the local authority. The dog could then be seized and/or quarantined at the owner's cost. A court appearance may be applicable and a possible fine. Unfortunately, many airlines classify Cane Corsos as a banned breed, so we are not able to assure you that your pup would be granted into these countries at a future time. In our experience, these regulations change frequently. Hope this helps!

By Kenyi on August 1, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Hello, I’m traveling to USA this November, and I have a mix type breed pitbull and Labrador, I will not want to go to USA with my dog/child. Is there any cargo airline that can help me with my dog?Thank you so much I’m really worried

By Kenyi on August 1, 2018 at 7:45 pm

From Peru to usa

By on August 2, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Hi Kenyi! It is likely the only airline that will allow your pup's travel to the US will be a cargo airline that arrives into Miami. Feel free to reach out to us directly for help arranging your move. Thanks!

By Karina on July 25, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Hi, I have a staffordshire terrier that I want to bring with me from Miami to Madrid, Spain. Is this possible? Thanks

By on July 26, 2018 at 1:47 pm

Hi Karina! There is airline routing that can accommodate this breed from Miami to Madrid. However, from what we understand, there are some restrictions when bringing Staffys into Spain, but as long as you have obtained a license for the housing of your pup from the town hall, liability insurance, and a muzzle on your dog when in public - your pup can be imported. If we can be of further assistance with your move, please fill out our Arrange A Move form here. Hope this helps!

By Alexandra on July 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

Hello my name is Alexandra, I recently read some of the option and help you provide to people that have difficulties traveling with their dogs because of their breed so hopefully you guys can help me too. I’m desperate I’ve been searching but unfortunately no airline has given me a positive answer. My family is moving soon from Ecuador to Orlando however we have a pit bull and no airline will allow it since it’s considered dangerous . Can you guys help me ?? What should I do ?! Do you know any airline that could help? I’ll appreciate the help

By on July 24, 2018 at 9:45 am

Hi Alexandra! It is likely the only airline that will allow your pup's travel to Florida will be a cargo airline that arrives into Miami. Feel free to reach out to us directly for help arranging your move. Thanks!

By Judy Machutt on July 10, 2018 at 12:58 pm

I want to take my American Staffordshire terrier from the US to Honduras. what airlines will allow this?

By on July 24, 2018 at 9:45 am

Hi Judy! It is likely the only airline that will allow your pup's travel to Honduras will be a cargo airline that departs from Miami. Feel free to reach out to us directly for help arranging your move.

By Curtiss Mainville on July 8, 2018 at 11:46 am

Hi I am so angry with the airliines and probably insurance companies to, all Im trying to do is get my sweet stafordshire terrier from the U.S. to Costa Rica. It seems impossible to do.I really need some pinpoint info to make this happen, we have been separated for 2 months now and its killing me. I am already here and I have someone in the states that is trying to help. Please,Please,Please help Curtiss

By on July 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

Hello Curtiss! Yes, it has recently become more difficult to transport this breed and others. We have found ways to do it, but they are unfortunately more expensive and much less convenient than in previous years. We are happy to provide a complimentary consultation if you would like to speak with one of our relocation experts! Just fill out this form at your convenience and someone will be in touch as soon as possible.

By Anna Renzi on July 7, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Hello, I have been looking at moving to Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Netherland, Spain or England or other countries depending upon the Uni) for my masters degree the only thing i'm worried about is that I have Pitbull mixed dog or at least you can tell she is somewhat Pitbull. She is a registered comfort animal here in the states and i was thinking of even trying to get her registered/trained as a service animal but i am unsure if that would help/ be allowed, being that she is a banned breed. Any information you have on discrimination of breeds for service animals in Europe would be amazing?! Thank you

By on July 10, 2018 at 11:08 am

Hello Anna! Of all the countries you've listed, the Netherlands is the only one without specific breed restrictions. However, these sometimes vary from city to city as well. I suggest looking into national and local government regulations once you have your university choices narrowed down to make sure you will be able to bring your pup. Hope this helps!

By Jordan on July 5, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Hi, I will be moving back to Guam through the military as my term has ended. I want to take my American bully but all I see are restrictions from the airlines. He is apart of my family and I cannot leave him. Please help!

By on July 10, 2018 at 11:14 am

Hello Jordan,

At this time, there is no direct flight option out of the US to Guam for this breed. We are able to accomplish this move, but it requires two international flights out of the US and then to Guam due to airline restrictions. If you would like to speak with someone in more detail about this move, please fill out this form at your convenience and one of our relocation experts will be in touch!

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