Camping with restricted dog breeds could end up costing you a chance at getting a campsite at any given campground and even certain municipalities. While some dog owners think this is a discriminatory practice of disallowing known aggressive breeds of dogs, it really is an issue that campgrounds have no control over.
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Why Restricted Dog Breeds are Banned in Campgrounds
A campground’s #1 reason for existence is to create a safe and hospitable environment for everyone to enjoy outdoor recreation. Their most important mission of hospitality is to ensure the safety and well-being of their campers and their pets.
However, when guests bring in restricted dog breeds, it opens up a huge liability. And this is why campgrounds are clamping down on banning known canine aggressors.
It’s not because they are being discriminatory towards ‘your dog’ or your ‘type’ of dog. Campground owners are only acting on what is being dictated to them by their insurance carrier and local and/or state legislations.
According to Michigan State University’s Animal and Historical Center author Linda S. Weiss in her Breed-Specific Legislation in the United States reports:
“Over the years, newspapers and broadcasts across the United States have reported on injuries inflicted by dogs on humans or other animals.
The attacks have occurred in a variety of situations: organized dog fighting, responses of dogs to mistreatment, dogs acting as attack or guard animals, or the unexpected, random neighborhood altercation.
In an attempt to curtail these types of attacks, government officials have adopted a number of measures, including licensing laws, statutes that outlaw organized dogfights, and leash laws.”
What is Dog Breed Specific Legislation
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals),
“Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals.”
Why are insurance companies concerned with dangerous dog breeds?
While the Forbes article, Dog Breeds Banned By Home Insurance Companies, is concentrated on homeowners insurance companies, it does go into depth of why these actions are put into place. Plus, it provides a comprehensive list of restricted dog breeds and % of banned lists with breed.
Actually campgrounds and RV parks have a much stricter liability policy ruling concerning dogs and dog breeds because their service industry is centered around hospitality. So, it makes sense why campgrounds are bound by these legalities.
In other words, it’s not really the campground owners that being are anti-dog or discriminatory towards your dog’s breed intentionally.
It’s actually due to Breed Specific Legislation that forces strict liability insurance to dictate what dog breeds are covered (or not covered) under their policy.
In layman’s terms, should a guest’s dog of a particular banned dog breed bite, injure or kill a person or other’s pet, the insurance will not cover the claim.
Thus, a campground may lose their business all together due to litigation and compensation to the victim.
What are the Restricted Dog Breeds?
Today, the controversial restricted dog breed list is growing. These are the most common dog breeds being banned from campgrounds and RV parks (but not limited to):
- American Staffordshire Bull Terrier (“Pit Bulls”)
- Chow Chow
- German Shepherd
- Doberman Pinscher
Don’t really know what breed your dog is? A Dog DNA test will help answer that question.
What if you lie about the breed of your dog?
I’ve read several dog owners admit they fib about their dog’s breed on camping social media groups. Not only is it unethical, but in some states and municipalities, it’s illegal to pass off your dog as a breed he is not; even as a mixed breed.
By knowingly saying your dog is a breed other than their true bloodline, you could face stiff penalties set by the campground. At the least, the campground will kick you and your dog(s) out for not abiding by the restricted dog breeds policy.
Again, understand that it’s not the campground dictating the ruling. It all comes down from legislation and their insurance company.
“Don’t worry, my dog won’t bite! He’s friendly!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘my dog is friendly. He won’t bite” from dog owners who allow their off-leash dog to run up to people, let their dogs stretch their retractable leash or even letting them just drag the leash behind them.
This is totally unacceptable. In fact, I was a victim of a unprovoked vicious dog attack and suffered a severe dog bite injury from a ‘friendly dog’ who turned into the Tasmanian devil.
And this is just one reason why campground owners aren’t allowing particular dog breeds into their campgrounds or RV parks.
It’s not fair to campers, like myself, who have zero trust in dogs that we don’t know. Especially when they’re a dog breed that’s a known aggressive dog breed.
That said, it is refreshing to see campgrounds taking notice. It’s a sure thing if one particular campground is banning certain dog breeds, others are or have already have certain dog restrictions too.
How can dog owners alleviate the dog breed restrictions at campgrounds
If you own a dog that’s on the banned breed list, please stay away. I know that isn’t the answer certain dog owners are looking for, but frankly it’s the truth.
Don’t lie or fib saying your 100% ‘banned breed’ is a ‘Heinz 57 dog’ or he’s a ‘mix’.
We get it, you’ve already chosen that dog that you love and ‘to you’, he may be friendly and full of licking kisses. But owners of banned dog breeds need to understand that it’s more than the ‘feel good policy’ campgrounds put in their campground rules regarding pets.
Insurance companies are experiencing a high rate of claims that result from restricted dog breed attacks.
By having a dog on the banned dog breed list, you may have to go boondocking in your RV or use dispersed camping where your dog is welcome. But that doesn’t erase the responsibility of restraining your dog even in open space. All it takes is a split second for something to go horribly wrong.
Advice for Those who Camp with Dogs
Research the campground’s website
First, before making any RV park or campground reservation, read their website in entirety; especially their pet policies. If you have questions regarding their list of banned breeds, phone them for more details and information.
NEVER lie about your dog’s breed
That’s not fair to the dog, the campground and their guests. You’re only implicating yourself by telling them on the phone you have a mixed breed and checking in with your dog that’s obviously not a mixed breed.
Never assume restricted breeds or even ‘mixes’ are acceptable
Even if you are honest in reporting that the dog is an actual mixed breed that you won’t be denied a reservation. If part of your dog’s mix includes one or more of those listed on their banned list, you very well may be told no.
Banned Breed Service Dog exemptions
If your dog is a service dog but still one of the banned dog breeds, let the campground know when making a reservation or before arriving.
NEVER try to fake your restricted breed dog as being a service dog just to gain access to the campground or RV park.
Not only is that a disservice to those who actually need specialty-trained service.
According to Cesar’s Way, it’s illegal in California and 18 other states have laws concern service animal fraud (2021).
Where are Dog Friendly Campgrounds?
It’s a given that most campgrounds do allow dogs. However, it’s important to read the fine print on which breeds aren’t welcome.
Also, some RV resorts, RV parks and campgrounds may limit how many dogs (pets) and size and/or weight of your dog. Some campgrounds and RV parks even have pet-only sections which is amazing for both pet owners and those who prefer to camp without pets.
Our friends at GoPetFriendly.com provide great resources and pet friendly guides that include dog breed restrictions and rules.
Also, check out their The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip: A Guide to the #1 Pet Friendly Attraction in 48 States & Washington DC.
Is dog ownership in your future?
When people go out and procure a dog; most aren’t even minutely aware that their dog breed choice will place limitations on them from perception to legalities.
If you are thinking about adopting or purchasing a dog from even a reputable dog breeder to go camping with you, you’ll want to think long and hard about which breed you wish to add to your family. You need to choose wisely if you intend on camping at private and even government owned campgrounds.
All of this said, campgrounds aren’t the only business or establishments that disallow certain dogs. Now, even group events, including RV clubs are experiencing banned dog breeds are causing problems.
So, as a future dog owner, you need to learn about which dogs are banned breeds before acquiring a dog.
That even extends to your own renters’ or homeowners insurance policy. General policies typically may only cover claims up to a certain dollar amount, if any, should your dog bite or attack someone.
Most liability insurance companies now require dog owners to have specialized dog breed coverage (which is pricy!).
However, not all insurance companies offer that dog bite liability protection. So, buyer beware on both counts; selecting a dog and selecting your insurance company.
Either way, I highly recommend carrying an umbrella policy in case your dog, banned breed or not, bites someone and/or their pet.
Final thoughts or why campgrounds have restricted dog breeds
We hope dog owners of banned dog breeds take this information very seriously. There are several reasons why campgrounds and locations are restricting certain dog breeds.
If your precious dog is on the list of banned breeds and bites or attacks a person or pet, you will face serious repercussions. Horrific events could land you a steep fine and/or imprisonment. You will also lose your dog, Why would banned breed dog owners want to chance any of that?
Other good articles about camping with dogs and cats
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