No more breed bans for service dogs aboard U.S. airlines

By Julie Castle

Thanks to an outpouring of support from animal advocates across the country, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently published a ruling that airlines can no longer have breed-discriminatory bans for service animals.

This is important on so many levels. First, profiling a dog based on appearance, which is what the previous bans were based on, provides zero information about that dog’s behavior. As we know, all dogs are individuals and display as much variation in behavior within a breed group as between different breeds.

Second, this ruling is crucial to the hundreds of thousands of pet owners who want to travel with their pets, not to mention military families traveling from overseas with their dogs, and animal organizations that arrange the transport of rescued dogs to receiving groups and individuals across the country.

Bottom line: The ruling will enhance safety, save lives and remove myth-based obstacles for responsible pet owners.

This didn’t happen in a vacuum. The U.S. Department of Transportation had solicited comments on the proposal earlier this year, which prompted the Best Friends advocacy team to organize a grassroots effort to solicit support from our large network of animal lovers.

That effort resulted in well over 1,200 individual comments being sent in — all supporting the rule to prohibit breed discrimination. Those comments represented nearly 12% of the total comments received by the department throughout the year.

As our legislative attorney Ledy VanKavage frequently says, “Politics is not a spectator sport.” To that end, click this link to join our 2025 Action Team.

This ruling speaks volumes about the impact we can have when we use our voices for the animals we care so much about.

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society