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Canadian Kennel Club Calls for Removal of Breed Specific Content from Montreal Animal Control Bylaw

For Immediate Release

Pit Bull Not Considered a Definable Breed

Toronto, October 6, 2016 - As the primary registry for purebred dogs in Canada, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) maintains records for 175 breeds and “Pit Bull” is not one of them. That’s because it doesn’t exist. CKC maintains that a “Pit Bull” is not a definable breed of dog and asks the City of Montreal to remove all breed-specific language from its animal control bylaw in favour of well-crafted dangerous dog legislation that targets irresponsible dog owners and any dog that displays dangerous behavior.

“How can you ban something that you can’t define?” said Mike Macbeth, renowned international dog show judge. “It is impossible to accurately define a Pit Bull, which is a phenotype or shape, not a breed.”  Macbeth has expertise with CKC’s 175 registered breeds and can also judge more than 330 purebred dog breeds world-wide at national shows.

Unlike purebred dogs, dogs generically termed “Pit Bulls” refer to randomly mixed breed dogs that do not have a predictable genetic background or consistent distinguishing characteristics.

The current Montreal animal control bylaw identifies three purebred dogs: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. These three breeds are purebred dogs, bred by knowledgeable breeders who are supported and controlled by registries that support ethical breeding practices and:
  • promote spay/neuter contracts
  • educate puppy purchasers in puppy development, socialization and dog obedience training
  • must uniquely identify every puppy they produce.
The only reliable way to identify a purebred dog is through a dog registry like the Canadian Kennel Club. Every purebred dog in Canada registered with the Canadian Kennel Club must be uniquely identified by tattoo or microchip.

Importantly, the CKC Breed Standards should not be used to identify dogs as “pit bulls” for the purpose of enforcing a breed-specific dog law. These standards—a set of guidelines that include size, colour, temperament and activity level—are strictly intended for use by dog show judges for competition, CKC breeders looking to breed to an ideal standard and puppy buyers looking to anticipate predictable breed qualities such as size and temperament. Any attempts to enforce a breed-specific law using these standards would be misguided, misleading and unconstitutional. 

“The City still has an opportunity to make this right,” said CKC Quebec Board Director, Linda St-Hilaire. “Our meetings with the Province have been encouraging and we hope Montreal will listen before it’s too late.”

CKC ultimately opposes fear-based breed-specific legislation in favour of appropriate dangerous dog legislation that is reasonable, enforceable and non-discriminatory, in support of responsible dog ownership. We believe that public awareness and education, stronger enforcement of existing bylaws and stiffer penalties for irresponsible owners is more effective at protecting the citizens of Montreal.
For more information, please visit

About The Canadian Kennel Club
The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) is the primary registry body for purebred dogs in Canada and currently recognizes 175 breeds. As a non-profit organization, the CKC is dedicated to encouraging, guiding, and advancing the interests of purebred dogs and their responsible owners and breeders in Canada and promoting the knowledge and understanding of the benefits which dogs can bring to Canadian society.

The club includes almost 20,000 individual members and over 700 breed clubs across Canada.  The Club registers purebred dogs, regulates dog shows and performance events, and speaks out on major issues concerning dog ownership and the health and welfare of dogs across Canada. For more information, visit or follow @CKC4thedogs on Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Sarah McDowell
Marketing Communications Specialist
The Canadian Kennel Club
416-675-5511 x3314
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