How to Get Banned Pups on Base (Without Breaking the Rules)


It was puppy-love at first sight.

My pre-teen friendship with my Gordon Setter, Taffy (full name: Salt Water Taffy Brite Star), was the kind you read about in books like Where the Red Fern Grows and Lad, a Dog. Military life notwithstanding, I knew that my son should, nay MUST, grow-up with a dog. And so off to the on-post animal shelter we trotted, determined to bring home a loveable mutt.

What we ended up with was Chloe, the most docile towards children, defensive towards strangers and down right vicious to wild bunnies pup you’ll ever meet. She was found wandering around post. They guessed that she was just about a year old and proclaimed her a “terrier mix.”

Which was lucky for us, because after living with her for more than a year, I’m pretty sure she’s a fair part Chow-Chow – one of the many dog breeds often banned by posts and bases.

But there’s no way to tell that she’s a Chow mix  — or anything for the matter — for certain.  We don’t know her mom’s lineage. Who knows who the puppy baby daddy was. The designation of “terrier mix” was based entirely on impressions – that her coat looked  long (we’ve since cut it), that her ears sat this way (they don’t always do that), that she looked like she wanted to dig (she never digs) – not on any actual evidence.

There is equal evidence to being a Chow. That long coat is kinda poofy, too. Her tongue has black spots. She’s kinda Chow like around the eyes.

Yet had the veterinarian written “Chow” on her papers instead of “terrier,” we would be blocked from living on many Army posts while we own her.

Housing breed bans have not been the norm in the military community forever, and it’s difficult to pin-point exactly what brought them about. But the birth of the policy appears to be largely tied to the 2009 privatization of military housing, and the need of those housing management companies to secure insurance. Because aggressive dogs can result in injuries and, therefore, an insurance liability, companies take the easy road out of the problem and ban breeds they consider questionable. It’s not about overall safety for those living in housing – it’s about keeping insurance costs low.

But there is no master list of banned breeds held by all the services and all the bases. Chows, for example, are banned in some places but not others. And, like we have run before here on SpouseBuzz, there’s no evidence that breed bans work at all. Sure, some breeds tend to be more aggressive than others, but evidence shows that breed bans don’t work – it’s holding owners accountable that is needed.

If Chloe had been labeled a “Chow,” instead of a “terrier,” we’d be in a tight, housingless spot. And if living on post was our only real option, we’d be trying to figure out how to make it work without giving up the hairiest member of our family.

So how would we do it? Here are four suggestions on how to get your “banned” dog on base without actually breaking any rules.

1. Call it something – anything – other than the banned breed. Unless you and your Rottweiler are headed to the Westminster Dog Show next month, visual identification of any breed can be faulty, and DNA tests can be wrong. According to this, vets are even moving away from labeling a dog any specific breed at all unless there’s a DNA test to back it up. So call your dog that might be a part-American Pit Bull Terrier a “terrier mix” (since, technically, it is) and you’re not breaking any rules. Just make sure you have vet paperwork to back you up.

2.  Ask your vet or shelter to help you out. We didn’t know that the on-post vet clinic was doing us a solid when they labeled a Chloe a “terrier mix” instead of a “Chow mix.” But they probably knew it. Vets and clinics want you to adopt the dog, and they want you to keep the dog. Labeling it a banned breed makes both of those things less likely.

3. Make your neighbor some muffins. So your possibly part-Doberman dog your vet labeled a “hound mix,” (well played as Dobermans are part of the hound family) is making your neighbors uneasy? Make them some mini muffins, introduce them to your sweet hound-mix girl and count yourself lucky – you now have new friends, you got to eat a muffin, and no one is complaining to housing.

4. Don’t roll over (or play dead). If the mini-muffins don’t work, or the maintenance guy goes back to the office and says your dog looks like one of the banned breeds, go the mattresses. Since no one can prove a breed anyway, your appeal has legs (especially if your vet is on board).

Edit: A petition organized by the group Dogs on Deployment seeking breed-nuetral housing policies is making the rounds and has already collected over 26,000 signatures. To see it go here. To follow the issue’s progress, check out this Facebook page.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Meghan

    Why would I purposely lie to my landlord about the breed of my dog, risking eviction, or even worse, an incident concerning my dog attacking others? Don’t get me wrong, I love my dogs and I think dogs are only aggressive due to how they’re raised but not all owners are perfect…
    My home is my home and risking it for a dog is a little much when those are simply the rules. Especially if your already living on post and want to bring a new dog into the family. If our housing company is like any others, they don’t mince words, especially with so many small children and unfenced yards. This post encourages deceit and the potential for future problems with companies and their tenants. Very irresponsible post…

    • Amy_Bushatz

      I’m sorry you feel this post encourages deceit — I am actually trying to encourage truth. Since there is no way to tell if your mixed breed dog is actually a certain breed, it is unreasonable for housing offices to ban based on that. Like the case I use with our dog — no one actually knows if she is part banned breed or not. Certainly I don’t. I can just make assumptions. But I do know that she is not aggressive (unless you are a wild bunny — then beware) and that we should not be blocked from housing for having her.

      You’ll notice that above I referred to mixed-breed dogs, and specifically said that pure bred dogs are not a part of this. I am not advocating breaking any rules, which I also feel like I made clear. I am advocating innocent owners and their pets be permitted the same housing as everyone else.

      • T Greene
      • T Greene
    • Ophiolite

      Agreed. I had a banned breed and I loved her to death. She died 18 mos ago. She was a pure breed, but even if she wasn’t, I would never lie about who and what she was for on post housing. Was it tough finding a place to live? Yes, sometimes. But in each case the law and the landlord was on my side because I was honest, kept excellent vet records, and got positive references from each landlord for my pet when we moved.
      Those references are far more valuable than deceiving the landlord and housing office.

  • Lexical

    Suggestions 1 & 2 are, at best, unethical. The deliberate twisting of the semantics and lexicon involved in order to obtain a desired result are a poor example for everyone. You are teaching people to change the words they use until they obtain their desired outcome.

    I disagree 100% with breed bans. I think they’re idiotic. Until owners are held accountable, nothing will likely change. And insurance is a money game – they don’t get into the game to lose it. I doubt much will change on the insurance front – their objective is to deny as many claims as possible to increase their bottom line – it’s business.

    However, if a location (post, private housing, rental unit, etc) chooses to ban a specific breed for insurance purposes, you bringing on a mixed breed with banned breed blood in it jeopardizes everyone’s insurance. The (over) reaction is likely a ban on all dogs.

    Beware the law of unintended consequences.

    • Dog Lover

      Imagine the firestorm that would cause to ban all pets in military housing. Bring it on!!!

  • Jason

    Well I for one agree with Amy. We have mix dogs and depending on how it is worded could mean we are restricted from on-post housing. The on-post vet was the one who titled our dogs breed from a best guess so that there was no problems. We also do not know for sure what their ethnicity is. We have lived on post for the last 4 years with out a problem or incident with our boys. I know a couple of other families that have had incidents with dogs that were allowed. It really does come down to how they were raised, just like children. I do not condone lieing at all and do not feel that this article supports it either. Our dogs have prevented our house from being broken into when every other house on our cul-de-sac was.

    • I agree Jason-this article isn’t about lying. I have what we’ve called a husky/sheppard mix for nearly 10 years, because those are the dominant features we see-though, over the years my husband has commented that she likely has some chow since she has those black spots on her tongue. If a vet were to call her a chow mix, when people constantly tell me she looks like a wolf (the siberian husky/sheppard features dominate) then we too would be banned from housing on post-though we’ve never lived on post for many reasons. I think a main point of the article is that most vets who see the “true colors” of a dog are not going to go out of their way to find homes for a dog found wandering on post if they think it could be a danger. Calling her adopted dog a terrier mix is telling the truth if those are the dominant features and no testing can be done.

      • Wisdom Panel DNA test for dogs. It works. I tested it on purebreds and on mixed breed rescues where I knew what they were mixed with for sure. So, there is definitely a way to tell.

  • Lyia

    Wow. My child was attacked on post by a “banned” breed dog, and had I not been close with a stick, things could have been awful. Dogs are not people. And you have lost all credibility in my eyes. People
    Ike you twisting things around, cause damage and sometimes worse, and for all of us. We chose pets according to whether or not we could travel with them, and live on post with them. There are rules for a reason. It’s the military. You really shouldn’t encourage people to be devious.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      I am so sorry that your child was attacked. As a mommy of two little boys, I can only imagine how horrifying that must be.

    • MsCamo

      You can’t condemn a single breed or “banned breeds” simply because your child was attacked. It is a terrible thing, and thank God you were close enough to intervene. That dog didn’t attack because it was a banned breed, it attacked because it was a bad dog with a bad owner. I have had dogs of every shape and every size my entire life. We once had a collie mix who attack anyone that ran behind me or my sister. We knew it and we warned everyone, not to appear to be chasing us or attacking us in any way. The only thing my Pitt Bulls ever did was bodily force their way between me and anyone trying to give me a hug or kiss (that was a no-no in her book). The only dog I’ve ever been bitten by was a Beagle (it was when I was a kid and it was mostly my fault, but the owner was a fault as well). To arbitrarily bann a breed from living anywhere is wrong no matter if it is off base or on. Make the owners responsible for their pets and this would be a non-issue.

      • AmStaff lover

        I was robbed by a black guy once. Does that make them all bad? Doubt it. None of the banned dogs on post are in the top 5 for reported bites per year. Yea, it sucks that your kid was bit. It really does. But that doesnt mean every banned dog is bad. My pit is the most loyal dog Ive owned. The only thing you gotta worry about from him is being licked to death.

  • Rquick

    I’m with Amy on this one. There are way to many breed rules and theyre not even universal. If you commit yo a dog then IMO you need to do everything you can to do right by it. If that means getting liberal with breed type than so be it. Any dog can attack not just bully breeds. All dogs deserve a chance and people shouldnt be punished simply because they made the choice to have a dog as a pet.

    • I agree -the most passive of breeds can become vicious under different circumstances-and it’s still the responsibility of the owner. HOld people accountable, don’t punish breeds.

    • Nichole

      If you can not afford to live off base perhaps you should reevaluate your finances, because financial stability is very important to military life. Perhaps you should not own pets, however much you love them, if you can not support your family financially. I have seen many families that truly and deeply love their pets and then can not afford emergency care, or in some cases the quarantine when their “family” pet bit another person or dog. Working in veterinary surgery and emergency I have seen this a lot. This woman went out and got a dog, that she knew could possible be a banned breed on base and chose to find a way to twist it to her advantage. It is still a lie. Perhaps they should not have gotten another dog as they could not make a responsible mature choice before they were even the owners.
      Pets are considered a luxury item, most people don’t realize that. That is the reason that their prescriptions are not tax free, the government considers them a LUXURY. You made the choice to have the dog you were making a life commitment which means you will have restrictions because of it.

  • ARG

    I disagree w this post. I , as a mom of a little one, would be floored if my child was attacked on base by someone’s dog that they snuck on base via a technicality. I could see a law suit happening- and the base as well as owner getting owned in court.

    If one cannot live w/ in the bounds of the military then perhaps they should not live on base or perhaps they should look into a different career. There are rules for a reason and I am happy that the military recognizes that some breeds are known to harm children and adults alike and do what they can ( expecting others to be honest) to protect us and make our community safer.

    No amount of muffins would deter me if I saw that someone was lying by omission and sneaking a breed that has been deemed dangerous on to base.

    Base is not just for you- its a community w rules and expectations. One big expectation is honesty! Geeze…..

    • Charles

      ARG Semper Fi. As we used to say when I was in the Marines, if you cant hack it pack it. You don’t openly break the rules and then think you can get away with it. If the lady that wrote this article is a military wife her husband needs to have a talk with her for putting his carrier on the line.

    • Chris

      How about when the rules change after you already owned the dog and raised it since it was a pup..and your 11 year old child sleeps with it every night. Ignorant. I have lived on base for years… got the dog when I lived on base… and now it is banned… And also, some don’t have a choice but, are mandated to live on base… and they have to give up their pets? Your child could easily be attacked by one of the other dogs that aren’t on the list. Maybe base isn’t for me when there are ignorant people like you living there. BTW… more people have a problem controlling their children, than their pets… Maybe someday you will have to live outside of that “protected” environment and you can’t pick who lives next door to you… who knows maybe my part pit will be next door. You can sell your house then.

      • That is why there are “grandfather” clauses…

    • Pit Owner

      you are an idiot certain breeds that you say are dangerous are the most loving and loyal pets ever i have 2 pits that never met kids until they were over a year old and they were very gentle and loving it goes to show how dangerous they are don it well guess what they are not it is some of the irresponsible owners of these dogs that give them a bad name not the responsible ones also on Ft Stewart there was a kid that got badly attacked by a chihuahua I am more afraid of non banned breeds than banned breeds

      • Beth

        YOU are the idiot here. Apparently you did not pay attention in school. Get your children or the neighbor’s children to proofread your writing.

    • michelle

      First of all, suing the military is not as easy as you make it sound. Second of all, suing anyone other than the owner of the dog (whatever breed) is ridiculous b/c it’s no one’s fault but the dog owners for lack of control. Unless of course your child is at fault, which is also a pretty common occurrence. Thirdly, the military or housing company are not recognizing the danger of certain breeds, they are playing the insurance game which is prompted by people like you who feel better with certain breeds based off of lack of research and knowledge. If you don’t know for sure a dog’s mix, there’s nothing wrong with generalizing the type of breed. As long as the owner is responsible the dog is a terrier or hound mix. Most mix breed labels are fairly inaccurate anyhow.

  • Erica

    I think this a good article. I raised chows, and other “mean” breed dogs, never had one every attack me or anyone I know. Had someone with one the “sweet” breed dogs nearly tear my kids face off…it’s all about how the pup is raised. If you do not have papers saying exactly what the lineage is, then by all means put it as broad of a breed it’s close to. There is no reason a family should have to give up a pet (furry family member) just because it happened to be labled as a certian breed. How about instead of jumping down the breed of the dog, the people who abuse the animials and let them run all over the place get into trouble instead of kicking a family with a suspected “banned” breed whose dog has never bit or growled at anyone out of housing.

  • BAC

    To the lady whose kid was attacked. I’m sorry, however it’s not the dog’s fault other than actually inflicting the bite. The real fault lies on the irresponsible owner who did not manage their dog properly. Any dog can bite. If you research dog bite statistics, more kids are bitten by labs and goldens yearly, but you can’t sensationalize that so the media doesn’t report it. Who wants to read that a lab ripped open a kid’s face? No, society has demonized these so called ‘banned, dangerous’ dogs to the point where it is insane!
    Oh by the way, vets do not take classes in dog breed identification so if they are ‘sure’ your dog is composed of certain breeds question them. The truth may be that they have no idea and are going with the popular mixes!
    To the author, thank you for writing an article that will hopefully help more people keep their family pets as opposed to surrendering them to a shelter or turning them loose. Military families have to give up so much, why their cherished family pet too?

    • Charles

      BAC you need to learn more about dogs. There are some breeds that are just more aggressive then others and no amount of training can erase that from their DNA. Sure small dogs might bark or bite more often but would you rather be bitten by a shih tzu or a pit bull?

      • Theresa

        If that was the case, then why does EVERY professional expert in the dog behavior and medical community oppose breed bans and has scientifically shown that they do not decrease dog bites?

    • Vic

      Y’know. a gun doesn’t shoot anyone untill someone (owner/user) picks it up and pulls the trigger but, we are trying to ban certain types because they may cause harm/death. Strangely much of the population is on board with this but not banning certain breeds of dogs because people ‘have the right” to own whatever dog they want? I agree hold the owner responsible in both cases but banning something because it has the potential to do harm is ridiculous. Perhaps we need to do backround checks, safety classes and require registration and permits for pet ownership…..just sayin’

  • Hummingbird

    We have a German Shepherd, which I think is another breed that has been banned from on-base housing. So, we cannot live in housing because of our German Shepherd.

    • Socket

      We have a German shepherd as well and we have never been banned from on base housing. They are not a banned breed. They have a standardized list for all breed bans that span across all branches and bases. They are: Pit bull (also known as American Staffordshire Bull Terrier or English Staffordshire Bull Terrier), Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Chow, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, Neapolitan Mastiff, Wolf and Wolf hybrids.

      • At Malmstrom AFB, these are the banned breeds; Pit Bulls (including American Staffordshire Terriers and English Staffordshire Bull Terriers), Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, Siberian Huskies, Akitas, Perro de Presa Canario, and wolf hybrids.

  • StarlaRose

    I always love the “my dog would never hurt anything” argument. My sisters dog was just that way. He’d never hurt anything except maybe a feisty squirrel who decided to run into the yard… that was until he ripped half of my niece’s bottom lip off, left puncture wounds on her neck, tore off a big chunk out of her arm for trying to defend her 8 year old self. Oh and what was she doing? Playing with her Barbies in the yard. He never was aggressive before the attack. and my sister is a groomer and trainer. What breed was he? Doberman/Lab. Sometimes the most loyal of dogs DO attack without provocation.

    There are MIX breed bans as well. Trying to get around strict rules just because you made a choice to take in a known aggressive breed is a bad one.They can question the breed of dog because you are living on THEIR property. You have the choice to live on post, or off. Though it’s not just on-post housing that restricts pure/mix bully breeds. The do it as well in the civilian world as well.

    But tell people that a pitbull/lab mix is more lab than a pit. Just disregard the other half of it’s breed, no biggie!

    • jules

      I doubt you can prove that he’s a Doberman/lab mix? So… he could be any breed. More chihuauas bite people each year than pit bulls however its simply not reported. Just a lil fun fact for ya.

  • Animallover

    Some of you people are acting like these band breeds are monsters. Should certain humans be band from things, because they are a lot of EVIL humans out there. Oh and the last time I checked small dogs attack more than big dogs.

    • Sam

      “Certain humans” are “banned from things”. Examples: Sex offenders, Convicted Felons

      • DM
  • I was bit as a small child (2 or 3) by a poodle, according to my parents. right in the face. Banning breeds will not stop dog aggression as a species. Education will help people and their children know how to behave around animals and what things can be triggers. Poodles aren’t even a banned breed!

    • Tressays

      I am really not picking on specific breeds or owners. I have no opinion on dogs or what breed they own. I am only commenting on insurance companies and how the rules are made by them. You can blame it on the actuaries. Insurance companies have to balance their risk with whom they insure. Cash coming in versus cash going out. The actuaries determine the risk involved. It is the same with life insurance. If you want to jump out of airplanes recreationally, your life insurance isn’t going to be as cheap as mine. Again, they aren’t banning breeds to pick on anyone. They ban the breeds because it is financially prudent for them to do so.

      • Dog Lover

        Ok, but then would discriminate against a certain race or religion if we found that this particular population causes more damage? What makes it ok to discriminate against certain types of dog owners? When will we fix the root cause and promote responsible pet communities? That’s what I’d like to see.

        • dogliker

          Now you are just being silly. You are comparing banning certain dogs to people? Suprised you didnt throw a Hitler referance in there for good measure. You are comparing apples to hammers.

          • DogLover

            No, I am comparing responsible pet owners of Pit Bulls as compared to responsible owners of other breeds. When the science tells us that banning breeds does NOT reduce bites, then logically we should not be using this as the basis for any kind of policy be that in military housing or in cities/countries. The facts on this speak for themselves, and I encourage you to educate yourself on the subject.

    • dogliker

      The differance is, you were bit by a poodle. Im guessing you still have a face left, now change that same situation with a pit, or another large aggressive dog and come back with your story. It gets pretty old when I hear the same line, “Its the owners, not the dog.” BS, some dogs by breed are just naturally more aggressive, no matter how much you love them. I was a pit owner for 14 years, any time that I had kids over visiting my children I put him up. Why? Because there is that chance that he would bite one of those kids, that I was not willing to take. Anyone that doesnt see this are deluding themselves. Dogs are not people, while totally awesome for the most part, their decision making process is not like ours.

      • Andrea
  • Sam

    You are promoting people to be (and have now bragged about personally being) purposely deceptive. You can play the word game saying “assumptions” and “it can’t be proven”, but really that doesn’t matter. You know what you’re doing. It’s not about your principals and doggie rights, it’s about the fact that you are lying by ommision and encouraging others to do the same. I’m sure your dog is sweet and precious. I’ve met plenty of dogs that would be considered an “aggressive breed” that are just amazing animals. It’s not about that, it’s about a set of rules put in place that you have deceived your way around and that is just plain wrong. Your justifications don’t matter.

  • sarainhawaii

    Someone, somewhere, decided people need to be protected from irresponsible dog owners and the dogs take the fall. My son was attacked when he was very little, by a pomeranian, but those are allowed on post. The rules need to be changed, but until they are, this article was just suggesting ways to get around them. Its up to you whether or not to take the risk.

    And its not lying if you dont know for sure what kind of dog you have. We currently have a mutt. No one can even guess what he is. Looks like a very fuzzy pit with a mohawk, or maybe a giant Jack Russel with a big head. Who knows? The shelter listed him as a terrier mix as well. There are many other dogs at the shelter who are wonderful and loving but because they “look” a certain way they may never find a home.

    Its not about the breed. Its about lack of training, socializing, and not spaying/neutering. These are bigger risk factors in attacks than what your dog looks like. I am a huge advocate for temperment screenings and renters insurance for “aggressive breeds” on military installations. That would relieve housing companies of liability and give good dogs a chance.

  • spouse2000

    I was bit twice as a teenager and did nothing to provoke either bite. If you are going to lie and sneak about your dog what else with you lie about. Perhaps the real answer should be to ban all dogs from government housing.

    • Jamie

      That is just unfair to everyone who is honest and just putting more dogs in pounds and without families. Not all dogs are bad. It sucks to be bitten by dogs. I have been bitten by a dog for no reason but I love them. Dogs can be part of the family. Families can become the dogs “pack” in a sense. My dog currently is more likely to lick someone to death. While she could possibly become defensive (I have yet to see her be aggressive at all even to another dog.), I do not expect her to be very defensive in most situations. I still keep an eye on her around new people especially kids. I have seen some kids be mean to dogs they have just met. While not all kids are like this, dogs can have more of a sense about people than humans do. It is up to the owners to be watchful of their dogs especially in public. I believe that dogs need to be socialized with other dogs and people as puppies and helps influence how they act when they get older.

    • ban BSL

      That would be a show! Let me know how banning all dogs works. Also “I did nothing wrong” is a terrible argument. Were you aware of the dogs body language? They show signs before they bite. I was also bit as a teenager and I was able to realize after I was bit that I had my face way to close to the dog. Oh and what breed was this dog you ask? A big, mean 15 pound chihuahua mix! Most bites happen when people don’t read a dogs body language. Why are most small children bit? They aren’t taught how to act around a dog properly and they intimidate the dog by standing over then, climbing on them and chasing them.

  • Pat

    One of our friends have chows and Chloe is definitely not a chow.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Oh I know she’s not pure Chow :-). But she has Chow moments. You’re just going to have to take my word on it. That picture doesn’t do her Chowy-ness justice :-). Most of the time I think she looks like the dog in “Annie,” … so I wanted to name her Sandy. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law is named Sandy, so ….

  • Steve
  • mel

    I always get a kick out of the “what they don’t know, won’t hurt them” mentality. When we lived in base housing I always had 2 cats. Frequently I would come across a cat needing a home and would want to take him in, but base housing rules were 2 pets only. I had plenty of people tell me to just hide one cat when maintenance came in and no one would know if I had 3 cats. I couldn’t live with the thought of the added anxiety of possibly getting caught and being given the choice of getting rid of a cat I grew to love or losing the housing that my family lived in. I chose to follow the rules and only had 2 cats. Now I have 3, but I live off base. Rules are there for a reason. We may not always agree with them, but there it is. If you don’t want to follow the rules, live off base. I have a problem with doing something that I know may be dishonest and I feel a lot better about myself when I don’t put myself in questionable situations. I consider deception to be dishonest and if you aren’t sure that the dog you have chosen meets the rules on base, then either don’t get the dog or move off base and get the dog.

  • tito

    I cant tell you how many times Ive called the SP’s because of loose dogs running around, my wife and children have both been chased by dogs in base housing and my mom was cornered by a snarling mut until I ran it off with a shovel. People want to have dogs fine, but be prepared to be financially and possibly criminally liable for youre propery (dogs are property) just as you would be if you ran someone over with a car. Is fluffy worth a lawsuit? or the embarrasment of being kicked out of base housing?

    • kristiiina

      My pit bull, son, and husband and I were chased a couple times in my neighborhood by a German Shepard!

    • responsibility

      These problems you have listed are not because a responsible owner called their Doberman a hound mix. They are because an irresponsible owner did not watch their dog. Also these problems occur off of base housing too. So what should we do? Ban all dogs everywhere or make people keep them caged? No. People need to be responsible with the dogs they own.

  • Judy

    Sad for anyone who has been bitten by a dog.. But please no need for every dog to be judged by a few BAD!!!! OWNERS!!! We have a Rottweiler yes he is a restricted breed!! (Not banned). My husband gave him to me to help with my Fibromyalgia,, as we ALL know and are familiar with deployments he is gone a lot, we have yet to live on a base, but we are currently on the list. We are aware of the rules and will adhere too them as we all should… But he is a therapy dog not only for me, but also for my husband. It saddens me to be discriminated because of a few irresponsible owners!! Do all Bad kids come from Bad Parenting? My Rottweiler as well as my three children have manners, respect, and are well behaved. I always get complements on all four of my babies lol

    • Judy
      • mel

        You do realize that just because our military sacrifices a lot doesn’t mean that they are exempt from any rules. Whether I agree or not, there are rules about which breeds are not allowed in housing. You have the option or freedom, however you want to say it, to make the choices about which type of dog you want, whether you want to follow rules covering the housing you would like to live in, or living off base. Using the “military’s sacrifices” for getting to do what YOU want to do is getting old. And before you jump all over my ass for not putting the military in god-like status, I have been a military wife for about 24 years and I understand that my husband and I, as members of society, must follow the same rules that everyone else must follow.

  • guest

    Why aren’t we kicking people off post and why are there no rules when the bratty children bite, kick, vandalize or get violent. My neighbors kid has bitten me…twice….and I’ve been kicked by kids in the commissary on numerous occasions. Bad parenting results in bad kids like bad dog ownership results in bad dogs, why is only one punishable?

    • Petra

      I’ve never had kids randomly kick or bite me…maybe it’s you?

      • responsibility

        There’s another “It’s never happened to me so it can’t actually be a problem” people. Most of the time dog bites occur with children when they are not taught how to behave around dogs and they chase them, intimidate them or climb on them.

  • Tara Cates

    This is a horrible thing to promote.

    We own a currently “banned breed” and because of this we live off-post. It’s a frustrating truth and a hardship for many military families; not to mention it’s a completely useless restriction. Bending the rules to suit your own needs punishes everyone involved, and will harm people who are honestly (and through the correct channels) pushing for a re-vamp of the current breed restrictions.

    Responsible people don’t lie, and pet owners that feel it’s OK to do so – negatively impact us all.

  • Nichole L

    This is the most irresponsible article I have ever read as both a military spouse in housing with pets and a former vet tech civilian army. There are rules in place for a reason, and although I have known many of the banned breeds that are in fact sweet and loving I have also had experiences with the ones that are not. I can not believe that spousebuzz and would promote an article that encourages breaking the rules and the liability that could cause another person or a child harm….shame.

    • why?

      It’s not encouraging lying. It’s saying that if you have a mix breed and don’t know for sure what it is why tell people it’s a ban breed.

  • Nichole

    I would like to remind all military members as well that many overseas countries have “bully” breed bans, and it does not matter what is written on your paperwork. If you try to enter a country with a breed ban (Germany being one of them) and the person at the port suspects it is a banned breed despite the paperwork they will give you the option to euthanize the pet immediately or put it on a plane back to the US.
    You may think it won’t happen to you but working for the army vet program we actually had a client that tried and had to put the dog down.
    Having a pet is a luxury (yes the federal gov’t considers pets a luxury) and a responsibility, if you can not accept all of the limitations and financial burdens (living off base and paying higher renters insurance) then do not get a pet.
    If you start choosing which rules should apply to you because you believe deceit is harmless why should anyone else follow rules they don’t like.

  • Lauren

    Are you serious? You risk the servicemembers career, housing privileges and a potiental lawsuit just for a dog? If you want that dog live off post.

  • Lauren

    FYI I will also be forwarding this to Vet clinics and MP shacks.. This is a pathetic article

  • Patrick Eoin Brogan

    FYI, a Doberman Pinscher is part of the WORKING dog group, NOT the HOUND group.

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Hey Patrick! I actually based that statement off of the book “The Encyclopedia of the Dog” where it is in the “Hound” chapter. Guess they are wrong!


    How about just not having a banned breed? I got a call one day while filling in for the SgtMaj about a GySgt from my unit who had shot a Pit Bull in SNCO housing after it had gotten loose, attacked another SNCOs Lab and then attacked the Neighbors wife when they tried to get them apart and wouldn’t let go. He put a 357 in the dogs chest so as to not endanger the Marines wife whose arm was in the dogs jaws. The Pit let go and laid down apparently done for. Then as her husband was helping her to their house for first aid and to call an ambulance, the dog got up again and went after them a second time. My Gunny put a second 357 in his brain as he was far enough from them for a clear shot.


    The victim survived after emergency surgery to reconnect torn muscles and plastic surgery twice later on. My Gunny was not charged as his weapon was registered at PMO and at Cherry Point NC where this took place regs allowed SNCOs and officers to keep private firearms in their quarters.


    The owners of the Pit Bull acted as they all do with shock and surprise and questioning if their neighbors had done something to provoke the Pit and stories about how loving and gentle the dog was. Same O, same O for all Pit owners, blind to reality. They were kicked out of housing for allowing their dog to run free and attack another dog and two residents. They felt wronged of course, Pit owners never want to take responsibility.


    The bottom line is Pits and some other breeds are dangerous and will be for the foreseeable future. They have undergone centuries of breeding to create semi-domesticated fighters and that they will remain. They are not a domesticated animal, their instincts are stronger than their training and discipline on occasion. They are a time bomb, one never knows if they will or won’t or when. So, instead of trying to defeat the regs intended to protect your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines why not accept them and choose either housing or the dog. That’s called responsibility and putting the safety of the families around you first.

  • DogLover

    Very sad the ignorance that exists on breeds. Please read Pit Bull Placebo and you will learn that for decades there has been an animal feared by the masses and used in abusive ways. Let’s please target the root causes of dangerous dogs and hold the owners accountable for an individual dog’s behavior, regardless of breed. If Pit Bulls were the problem, then why were Doberman’s the dog that used to be banned but now permitted in Marine Corps housing. Please talk to vets and canine trainers and you’ll learn that any big dog has the ability to cause harm when unsocialized and denied care. So sad the ignorance that exists on this issue.

  • fred1919

    I hope your spouse has more integrity than you. You have a problem with authority and don’t fit in the military. I hated working with people like this. Everyone suffers when the crap hits the fan over stuff like this….one person being selfish and feeling so special they don’t have to follow rules.

    Don’t play dumb about the rules. It’s embarrassing.

    • Judy
  • MSgt K

    I can understand the responses and having a furry friend who is family. I had to PCS to CA where “Quaker” Parrots are not allowed (there are a few states that are like this). There is no way I was going to give up Mickey so I did not advertise my bird around and kept her right next to me when I went to the pool. 3 1/2 years later we PCS’d to a Quaker firendly state. 1.) The reasoning behind banning Quakers is incorrect 2.) I kept a tight “leash” on my bird. If dog owners would do the same, there would not be such a problem. 3.) I never allowed even a chance for a mishap to happen. If a child came over, I would explain they could look, but not touch. Also, children need to be taught to NEVER touch a dog that is not theirs!

  • MSgt K

    Let me add, I would never own an attack dog or one who had a bad rep. Of course if the majority of bases banned my Quaker then I would not have adopted Mickey in the first place or know I was always going to live off base and have a back up care plan when I deployed…which I did and used. Thank goodness I am now retired so I have more choices…but service before self when you’re in!

  • marvin93437

    Geez. Way to lead the spouses. Just follow the rules. Life is simpler for everyone involved except the lawyer the victim hires to sue you if your dog should ever bite anyone. Yes, the truth will come out when that happens. Don’t expect the vet you had fudge the paperwork to stand up for you when it all goes down.

    Like I tell my troops. The rules are there for a reason. Follow them or change them, but never disregard them unless you are willing to live with the consequences. Is it worth it?

    The best thing to do is live off base until you can get the rules changed.

    • DogLover

      Think the larger issue here is how are we breaking a rule in the case of a mixed breed animal when that animal’s lineage cannot be verified through visual appearance and or DNA testing. Neither method is scientifically accurate. This story simply says to avoid a banned breed label so you can NOT face housing discrimination. Makes a lot of sense to me!

      • Wisdom Panel DNA test for dogs. It works. I tested it on purebreds and on mixed breed rescues where I knew what they were mixed with for sure. So, there is definitely a way to tell.

  • pmayz

    If they can extend benefits to domestic partners they can let me pick my breed of dog! Its my benefit to live on base, I earned it.

    • mel

      Every benefit we receive has rules and guidelines that must be followed to continue receiving the benefit. Housing can kick you out if you choose not to follow their rules.

  • Brown Shoe

    By golly, this is a non-issue. If the military wanted you to have a dog (or a cat) it would have been issued to you. Pet ownership isn’t a right, so consider yourself lucky. Stay within the benevolent spirit of the limited privilege that has been granted you, or risk losing it altogether.

  • Wisdom Panel DNA test for dogs. It works. I tested it on purebreds and on mixed breed rescues where I knew what they were mixed with for sure. So, there is definitely a way to tell.

    Personally, I do not agree with lying about anything. Even if it is a “little white lie”. Lying is lying. It only leads to more lying. I do not agree with breed bans, but some breeds are definitely predisposed to aggression. Not usually the ones that get banned, ironically enough. XD

    • DogLover

      The Army vet community issued a letter calling into the science behind DNA testing. My understanding is that they are not considered a 100 reliable indicator of breed and since Pit Bull is not a breed but a type, I would seriously question relying on these tests.

      • Army vets aren’t exactly geneticists. The main inaccuracy lies in the fact that more obscure breeds are not included. Amstaff is included in the test though. An APBT would come back as an Amstaff I picked Wisdom Panel because they had the largest breed database out of any available dog DNA test. I’ve heard someone claim that their bulldog mix came back as a pitbull from a DNA test. Not this test though. They wouldn’t claim to be able to differentiate between a bulldog and an Amstaff if they didn’t have specific genetic markers to look for. Definitely more accurate than a visual guess.

  • D Riley

    I’m trying to figure out why people are so upset that about this article when there are dangerous dogs living in base housing right now. No, I don’t mean restricted breeds are living in base housing (though, yes, some are). I’m talking about the Golden Retriever who bites children, the Poodle who snarls at passerby, the Pomeranian who runs at large and charges people and dogs, and the Lab mix who attacks other dogs.

    I lived in base housing for 3.5 years and walked and jogged, with and without dogs, for all of those years. I regularly encountered dogs running at large. By and large, they were usually people-friendly and therefor mostly people-safe. A lot of them were poorly socialized and poorly trained. A number of them were scared. I’ve been charged, lunged at, growled and snarled at, and bitten, too. My dogs have been attacked.

    Why isn’t anyone taking these dogs and these incidents seriously? Why doesn’t anyone care that the Goldie in the cul-de-sac is a known fear biter allowed to run at large? Why is no one concerned about the fat Lab mix who bit my dog and runs at large? Why is the Pomeranian who picks fights allowed? What about the neighbor with three intact dogs, two of which are males that fight over the female, and have even fought with each other ON TOP OF A CHILD?

    Time to toss out notions of breed restrictions and go after owners who fail to responsibly contain and maintain their dogs. Because right now, on every single military installation is a dog who is a ticking time bomb through no fault of their own. They’ve been let down. And it’s just a matter of time before a perfect storm of events occurs that sets that dog up to be in a position where he or she feels the panicked need to bite (or worse).

    Shame on everyone fussing over breeds and lineage when people are getting bitten by all breeds and sizes. Shame on everyone ignoring the victims of dog bites and dog attacks to fuss over restricted breeds. Take the blinders off and realize people are getting hurt due to irresponsibility and nothing is being done.

  • Shame on you. Lying and cheating the rules. Not everyone is responsible as it is, for their so called “banned breed” dogs, so why make it easy for them? You know you’re not supposed to have the breed so why do it? Live off post. This is coming from a former Rott mama.

  • Guest

    A key point that no one has pointed out is the lack of consistency across housing on what is considered a “banned breed”. It is clear that all housing developments do not operate under the same rules. So lets just say, a family adopts a dog that is accepted in one housing facility. When the family goes to move, they find out that the dog is considered “banned” at their next housing assignment. What is the family to do?

    I agree that dogs should not be stereotyped based on their breed or how large they get. As a groomer of nearly 15 years, I can honestly say that I have been bitten more by small dogs than large dogs. Not discounting the fact that large dogs can bite as well.

    Perhaps a better solution would be for housing developments to implement the same breed restrictions across all bases. In addition, I firmly believe, “banned” dog or not, if a dog exhibits aggressive tendencies, they family should be held accountable.

  • Heather

    Well, it is people like you, who find themselves being sued in the long run. Where I live, there was a case where a banned breed dog, attacked a child. That child and the Parent’s are suing housing. They put down that the dog was a shepherd mix. When it was a Rott. Doesn’t matter how you lie and change the name of the breed of your pet. If it is mixed or is obvious it is mixed with a banned breed, your in trouble. I am hearing that soon base housing will just ban all pets. Because people like you, LIARS are making it worse for people who follow the rules, and have breeds are are allowed. So stop trying to give others, your sneaky “tips” to get a BANNED breed on base. Pretty sure, after this law suit is settled, you will see a whole new pet rules and breeds in your lease.

  • Casey

    Ugh, all the ignorance and anger in these comments from people who know nothing about these breeds except what they hear from sensationalized media.

    I’ll let you guys know a little something– no one on base cares about a dog’s breed as long as it’s well-behaved and you pick up its poop. There are all kinds of “banned” breeds on our base: pitbulls, rotties, Dobermans, german shepherds, etc. You can find them all at your friendly base dog park. I see these dogs play together with other dogs all the time with zero problems, because good owners have good dogs. Period. Some of you people need to seriously educate yourselves about dog breeds before forming an opinion, because this cycle of perpetuated myths and fears results in many great dogs losing their lives.

    And just for the record, the most aggressive and unfriendly dogs I’ve encountered on base have never been a banned breed.

    • jojo613

      I agree with you! We are training my dog to be a therapy companion dog. She is a “dangerous breed.” She is a Siberian Husky. The reason the breed is considered dangerous is because of their propensity to kill small animals– admittedly she has killed small animals. She is a hunter and behaves more like a cat than like a dog, and all the animals she has killed have been animals that come into our yard– this includes a cat. But before you berate me for owning such a horrible dog, she defended my autistic child and killed a rattle snake (we live in FL). We don’t live on base, but the meanest dogs I have EVER encountered are Dashunds. Two neighbors have them, and they are under the opinion that because they are small “harmless” dogs, they don’t need to be leashed, and they actually laugh when the dogs go after me while I run by them. I have worked in a rescue before, and many of the rescue agencies say that the dangerous breeds list is kind of a lie, as the dogs that are more likely to bite are small breeds, their bites are just not reported, because they don’t cause near the damage as larger breeds. Since my dog is a “therapy” dog, we cannot be denied base housing or any housing, because of her. Though, if she does attack, we can be asked to leave, and she would lose her therapy dog status. I would never lie about her breed (I couldn’t because she’s a pure bred dog), and I think it’s wrong for people to lie about breeds to get them on base. I also think that the vast majority of issues with certain breeds are they are “status” dogs, and the owners don’t train them appropriately.

  • bethany

    How to Get Banned Pups on Base (Without Breaking the Rules)

    If you bring a banned breed on base, you are breaking the rules….period You can’t do it without breaking them. It doesn’t matter if your dog is good. If it’s banned, then it’s banned. I’ve got Great Danes and they weren’t allowed in one location. You know what? I lived off base. Freaking whiners. My dogs are gentle giants, but no one is permitted in their yard alone. If I am with the person, that is a different story and they don’t move or bark. They are very protective and do not like aggression of any kind. I’d turn anyone in that isn’t following the rules. Rules aren’t made out of thin air for sh!ts and giggles. Those rules are there for a reason. Comply or go. No time for garbage like that. We’ve got bigger problems to tackle. But it doesn’t mean that we ignore the little things. If you can’t follow the little rules, how in the h3ll are you going to follow the big ones?

    People tried fighting the seat belt rule in states that didn’t require use. It stuck, just like these rules will.

    • jojo613

      Actually, you can bring banned breeds on base without breaking the rules– it’s called service dogs. If your dog is a certified service animal, according to the law, they cannot be discriminated against. I have a dog that’s working on her certification right now, she is considered a “dangerous” dog, when she is wearing her vest or with my son, legally she cannot be denied entry anywhere. That being said, if she exhibits any dangerous dog traits, she will lose her vest, and we would be asked to leave.

      • bethany

        And that’s not breaking rules. That is an exception. Decided at a higher level than the housing office or the base commander.

        Even the service dog rules have rules, just as you stated. Any dangerous acts and the vest is pulled. And that ‘discriminated against’ rule only works in public places or property open to the public, not private property or property where access can be denied by the owner without cause. There are other stipulations when it comes to stuff like that, and much too detailed for this forum.

        Do you think it would be ok if a service dog exhibited dangerous behavior, but maintained its cert just because someone didn’t like the rule?

        This isn’t about specific dogs or owners or incidents. It is about a general policy and compliance. And those who think their interests are more important than all those others who do comply and who think they are an exception to everything. I would bet anyone fudging records and lying about a dog to live on base exhibits the same self-centered and selfish behavior regularly.

        On a side note, I can’t wait to see the rules about pot on base since two states legalized it in conflict with fedral law.

  • bethany

    Did anyone bother to read about the author at the end?

    “About Amy Bushatz
    Amy is the managing editor of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times”

    Subject Matter Expert of what? Army wife, mother, editor of a blog, or how to break rules? LOL!!!

  • Cryptokity

    I agree that BSL is not effective because military members are now circumventing BSL on base by reclassifying their pit bull mix pets as terrier mixes or even lab mixes. Thus, BSL will not prevent military members from fraudulently smuggling banned breeds on base. Over time, we will start to see an increase in the attacks of lab mixes and terrier mixes on base. Thus, the military can keep increasing the list of banned animals, or, they can do something more effective like require all cats and dogs living on base as pets to be spayed or neutered by one year of age or upon adoption if the animal is over one year. If the pet is not spayed or neutered within these guidelines, the military veterinary treatment facility (VTF) should deny service and report the military member to the commander if living on base. 70% of dog bites involve a dog that has not been neutered. Enforcement of the spay/neuter policy will help reduce the aggressive tendencies of whatever breed you decide to call your pet, reduce the likelihood of attacks on base, reduce the medical expenses and liability incurred as a result of these attacks, as well as prevent military members or dependents from abusing VTF resources to profit from breeding animals. Anyone who doesn’t like the policy can live off base and use non military veterinary care. I wish I could request that all dogs be muzzled when in public areas on base, but that is probably asking too much. At the very least though the pets should be spayed or neutered.

  • Guest

    When you live on a U.S. military installation you are living on US Government property. When you sign your lease to live in that housing on US Government property you are signing a contract. And when you sign the contract stating you will NOT have any banned breeds on that US Government property, you are in for a world of hurt if you do. The government put the banned restrictions into place for a reason. If you are just a complete idiot that will push to sneak your banned breed on post, karma will come bite you in the @$$- but hopefully your banned breed doesn’t bite someone else.