Moving with a Pit Bull or other (so-called) "Dangerous Breeds"

“We’re moving – we can’t find a landlord who’ll let us keep our dog.” Many landlords don’t allow children either but you’d never give up one of your kids if you couldn’t find the right apartment. — Pit Bull Rescue Central

Last year we decided to move out of our current sweet little house to try out something new. Finding a new place is not difficult, especially right now. I had the feeling that there are more vacancies than renters. The most important things for us are to have a dog-friendly home with enough space for creativity, and in an area where I can reach places by walking. After we checked many different places, we agreed on Downtown L.A.

Our friends had been promoting Downtown as a super dog-friendly, trendy and vibrant city center. So, we focused on Downtown. After all, we’d never had the experience of living in the center of a busy city. It took us many drives and weekends to find the right place, and I have to admit… moving from a house with a backyard to an apartment without even a balcony was a hurdle I had to jump.

I want to describe a very special experience I had while we were looking for the perfect place 🙂 with our two dogs (a French Bulldog and a Pit Bull Mix). One Sunday we visited one of the big nice buildings in the old bank district of Downtown, to take a tour with Lilly (our silly French Bulldog) and to explore the vacant units. We always asked if they have breed, weight or size restrictions and most of them said No. We were pleasantly surprised and I had the feeling that everyone living Downtown owns at least one dog. You can see every kind of breed, mix, size… it was incredible. Pit Bulls en masse everywhere.

RED - enjoying his couch time and being DANGEROUS

But back to the story… we did this tour to see the available apartments and amenities of the building. Lilly was on the leash with us and our Pit Bull Mix Red was waiting in our car outside. We thought it was a good idea to bring both dogs in case they want to meet them both, to show them how cute, friendly and loving our dogs are.

Then, in the elevator on our way back to the lobby, I asked the building manager again about the breed restrictions. This time he elaborated:

“We don’t have any problems with dogs, we love dogs, we just don’t allow THESE DANGEROUS/AGGRESSIVE breeds like: Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chow-Chows, German Shepherds, Mastiffs and actually every dog over 50 pounds.”

He sounded as though he were actually disgusted by the breeds he named.

“A Labrador would be fine,” he continued, “and a French Bulldog is not a problem at all.”

“‘Dangerous/Aggressive breeds’,” I repeated. “Interesting.”

We liked the place but weren’t crazy about it, so David and I didn’t say anything but looked at each other and smiled. I thought it was not necessary to argue with this guy. After we had left we took Red out for a walk to a nice little green spot to sniff the area out. While we where walking around we saw the guy from the building walking with a small dog towards us. He recognized our DANGEROUS breed on the leash and just ignored us by looking in a total different direction. An awkward moment, but it made David and me laugh out loud.

This is Samson - our Mastiff - just passed away last year in September. He moved 5 times with me, even from Germany to the U.S.

Our Red definitely narrowed down the places we were able to rent… and this is a fact if you have a Pit Bull. Many landlords see the Pit Bull breed as a liability issue; they don’t have  experience with the breed or they’re simply afraid of them. Finding a pet-friendly apartment can be tough because some landlords have restrictive apartment pet policies.

After three months we finally found our new home in a historic building close to the Civic Center, a place which of course allows dogs, even Pit Bulls. We had to get renters insurance and pay an additional deposit for the dogs. I even thought about taking classes with Red to pass the Canine Good Citizenship Test which usually helps to convince landlords as well.

If you are thinking about moving, make sure you can take your dog(s) with you. Renting with a pet requires attention, diligence and foresight during an apartment search as well as once you have moved into your pet friendly apartment. Never, never, never give up on them or dump them somewhere because of your own selfish needs. Keep in mind that looking for a place to rent with a Pit Bull or other big breed is not easy, but it is possible… and be honest, don’t sneak your pet in without permission.

I did my research and found some sources I want to share with everyone. I also want to pass along my own tips:

  1. Consider first what you really want and need (a house, apartment, loft, townhouse, house boat…), and give yourself plenty of time to find the right place.
  2. Ask if you can introduce your dog to the landlord. Once they see how well-behaved it is, even a landlord who has said ‘no’ to pets just for an easy life may come to reconsider.
  3. Show your landlord that you are a responsible dog owner. Offer to pay a higher deposit.
  4. Check out PitBull Rescue Central’s website. Nice blog entry from Stubby dog. A pdf file provided by BAD RAP. Get the file here. Also Check Dog Law. Good luck!
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Comments

  1. Curious what apartment you ended up moving to? I’m having a hard time finding an apartment allowing my pup as well.

    • Hi Halley,

      We ended up in Downtown Los Angeles. Most of the buildings here allow dogs without any restrictions.
      Where do you live I might be able to help?

      Cheers,
      Yurda

      • Hi! We had a very similar plight trying to find a place that would allow our 5 year old pitty. It was made even more difficult by the fact that we were living in Chicago and trying to find a place to live in LA prior to relocating. It was very challenging meeting brick wall after brick wall after countless phone calls and emails to apartment building complexes and landlords.

        We settled on SB Lofts on 5th and Hill. The Manhattan across the street is also a no restricted dog breed complex. If it’s not too much of an intrusion, could you tell me what apartment building you eventually settled in? I would like to have as many options as possible in 10 months after our lease is up, and I do like that area near the Civic Center and it would be great to know what building over there won’t give us headaches about moving with our dog. Thanks!

        • Hi Victor,

          Thank you for your comment. I know how challenging it can be to find a nice place. We also looked at places at SB Lofts but settled on the Higgins Building right across the dog lawn in front of the LAPD.
          The Higgins is great and so are the people who live here. Most of the units are owned by ‘actual’ people, no cooperate. You are dealing with a landlord and not with a leasing office which we like. We are very happy here and most of the tenants own dogs (I think we have a total of 70 dogs). It is up to your landlord if he allows dogs or not. We made the experience that an insurance helps a lot. We have several Pit Bulls and mixes living here and never had any issues. You can look the building up in the internet, we do not have a leasing office and it does not have any amenities like a gym or pool. Another benefit living in this area is, it is much cleaner and you have several parks really close. Tuesdays and Thursdays you can visit the Farmers Markets and Little Tokyo is also right around the corner.

          I hope this helps. Good luck! Please let me know if you need anything.

          Cheers,
          Yurda

  2. Hello, Also having trouble finding a apartment or loft in downtown LA. My wife and I have a Lab and an APBT also. I found a few lofts and apartments we like but hit a snag when it comes to our four legged children. Maybe you can point me in the right direction?

    • Hi Jack,

      Yes, it can be challenging. My husband David and I are living the the Higgins Building across the LAPD. You can look up vacant units online or ask the front desk guys if you are in the area (we do not have a leasing office). Most of the Lofts are privately owned and it is totally up to your landlord if he is okay with your dog or not. You can also try the SB Lofts or the Rowen on Spring Street. Most of the buildings allow dogs and you can definitely find a place where Pitbull type dogs are very welcome. Downtown LA is extremely dog friendly.

      I hope this helps. Good luck!

      Cheers,
      Yurda

  3. Hi hopebu get thus on time it has been a while since you post this. I am moving back to LA and having to hardest time finding a no breed restriction for my pit. Please let me know what are you were able to move to. Thanks any recomedation would be aaaawesommmm lol

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