German court rules dogs not too big to be miniature

BERLIN — 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 mull terriers and the city.

The city said the two dogs, ‘‘Jagger Bonsai von Amadis’’ and the more prosaically named ‘‘Louis,’’ were both taller than the 14-inch 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 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 protection, and hold $550,000 in liability insurance.


According to the American Kennel Club, the miniature bull terrier usually is about 10 to 14 inches tall and weighs between 18 and 28 pounds.

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