No Bull: German court rules dogs not too big to be miniature

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A bull terrier named ‘Jagger Bonsai von Amadis’ stands with his owner in front of the Higher Administrative Court in Muenster, Germany, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. In a dispute about whether a large miniature bull terrier can still be considered miniature, two of the dogs were brought in to the Higher Administrative Court in Muenster to be examined. While keeping miniature bull terriers allowed without any special permission, a bull terrier is considered a so-called “list dog.” That means owners of such dogs need special registration and permission to keep them. (Guido Kirchner/dpa via AP)

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BERLIN (AP) — A German court has decided a Duesseldorf dog dispute, ruling Monday that not only size matters in determining whether a dog is officially “miniature.”

The Muenster regional administrative court decision puts an end to years of battles between two Duesseldorf owners of Miniature Bull Terriers and the city in western Germany.

The city said the two dogs — “Jagger Bonsai von Amadis” and the more prosaically named “Louis” — were both taller than the 14 inch (35.5 cm) height generally recognized as the breed maximum.

That, the city argued, meant they were not Miniature Bull Terriers but full Bull Terriers — a breed considered dangerous and subject to multiple restrictions. Those include having to wear a muzzle after 6 months of age unless they pass a “behavioral test” and having to be kept on a leash, while the owners must prove why they need such a dog — citing reasons such as property protection — and hold half a million euros ($550,000) in liability insurance.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Miniature Bull Terrier usually is about 10-14 inches (25.4 to 35.5 cm) tall, and weighs between 18-28 pounds (8.2-12.7 kilograms). The Bull Terrier typically is about 21-22 inches (53.3-55.9 cm) tall, and weighs between 50-70 pounds (22.7-31.8 kilograms).

Two government veterinarians measured the dogs for the judges Monday, determining that they were in a grey zone at about 15.8 inches (40 cm) tall.

But the court ruled that the dogs could not be judged by their height alone.

“Both dogs exceed the height only slightly, and do not have the very compact appearance of a standard Bull Terrier,” the court said.

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