XL Bully dogs

The latest on the UK ban

XL Bully-type dogs have been officially banned in England and Wales. Starting from 1 February 2024, ownership will be illegal unless an exemption has been applied for and granted. They must also be on a lead and muzzled when in public. The law to sell, breed from, abandon, or give away an XL Bully came into force on 31 December 2023.

If an XL Bully is less than a year old by 31 January 2024, it needs to be neutered by the end of 2024. If older, neutering must be done by 30 June. Owners therefore have until 31 January 2024 to apply for a Certificate of Exemption or to have their dogs euthanised, for which they can claim £200 compensation. 

Dangerous dogs legislation is a devolved matter — meaning the decision to ban dogs falls to individual governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland — and officials in both countries are considering their response to the ban in England and Wales. However, the Scottish Government has announced that it will "replicate the controls being implemented south of the border".

Is it illegal to own an XL Bully?

From February 1, it will be illegal to own an XL Bully unless you have an exemption as detailed above. The Dangerous Dogs Act allows the government to ban breeds bred for fighting. Police can seize any banned dog in public.

What should I do if I own an XL Bully?

If you own an XL Bully, continue caring for it as normal. We now know that the licensing process will require dogs to be neuteredmicrochipped and muzzled in public places. Therefore, you can prepare by ensuring your dog is neutered, microchipped, and trained to wear a muzzle. You can also obtain third-party liability insurance, which is available at a reasonable cost to members of the Dogs Trust.

When the ban comes into force, you'll need to apply for a Certificate of Exemption to keep your dog and comply with rules around banned breed types.

What are the rules for exempt dogs?

Under the current legislation, exempt dogs must be neutered, microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public, and kept in a secure place so they can't escape. Owners must have third-party liability insurance, be over 16, and show the certificate of exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden.

For more information and a guide on how to identify if your dog is an XL Bully then please visit My Family Vets.

For the full details please keep an eye on the Gov website.