Published on 19/09/2023. This article is reviewed and updated regularly. Last updated: 31/10/2023.
The Government released a statement on 31st October 2023 confirming that the XL Bully dog breed will be banned from 31st December 2023. This news means that breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing an XL Bully dog to stray will be illegal.
The ban means that if you own an XL Bully breed, you must register them on the Index of Exempted Dogs.
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “We are taking quick and decisive action to protect the public from tragic dog attacks and today I have added the XL Bully type to the list of dogs prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
“It will soon become a criminal offence to breed, sell, advertise, rehome or abandon an XL Bully type dog, and they must also be kept on a lead and muzzled in public. In due course it will also be illegal to own one of these dogs without an exemption.
“We will continue to work closely with the police, canine and veterinary experts, and animal welfare groups, as we take forward these important measures.”
As the ban of the American XL Bully is unfolding and we learn more, this article will be updated with the latest information you need to know. Bookmark this tab for the latest updates.
The American XL Bully breed of dog will be added to the list of breeds that are banned in the UK by the end of 2023, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's announcement on Friday, September 15.
The Government will converse with experts this week (19/09/2023) to define the breed. It will be the job of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (EFRA) to oversee this.
Since then, the Government have announced that “the EFRA Committee’s current inquiry into issues around pets has been highlighted by the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that bully XL dogs will be banned by the end of the year.
“In response to the ban announcement and the recent reports of attacks by these dogs, the Committee has scheduled an additional evidence session on 18 October.
“The Committee will consider the merits of a ban, the means of its implementation and enforcement and any animal welfare issues that may arise from it.”
The Government will seek a 'statutory instrument' which will allow the breed to be listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
What is the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991?
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 act prohibits the ownership, breeding, selling, and exchange of specific breeds. It also imposes strict regulations on the ownership of these dogs, including requirements for muzzling, leads, neutering, and insurance.
The law was put into effect to prevent dog attacks and increase public safety. It has, however, created controversy, with some arguing that it unjustly singles out certain breeds rather than encouraging responsible ownership and training.
Which breeds are banned in the UK?
Currently, the Dangerous Dogs Act specifically targets four breeds: Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, and Fila Brasileiros. If the ban goes ahead as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intends, the American XL Bully will be added to this list.
Who supports the XL Bully ban?
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, said: “Good, get on with it” when speaking about the ban on the XL Bully breed in a recent interview published on Independent TV. The proposed ban is currently supported by both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
The XL Bully amnesty period
Once the law for the American Bully XL to be banned has been passed, there will likely be an amnesty period. But what does this mean for XL Bully owners? The Government has stated that it will implement a 'transition period' for any current owners of XL bullies. The transition period will be from now till approximately 2025. During this transition period, all owners MUST contact the authorities to register their dogs.
Is it illegal to own an American Bully XL?
No, it is currently not illegal to own an XL Bully dog. However, this could change in the near future. We urge you to look after and care for your American XL Bully as you always would. It is now, more than ever, our dogs need our love and care.
Will my XL Bully be destroyed?
No, XL Bullies will not be destroyed. In a recent Government press release, it states: “We need to safely manage the existing population of these dogs, therefore there will be a transition period.
“Further details on how the transition period will work will be provided in due course.
“Current XL Bully dog owners do not need to take any action at this stage however, if XL Bully owners do not come forward during the transition period, they will be committing a criminal offence if they are subsequently found to be keeping one of these dogs.”
It is important to note from this press release that the Government wants to “safely manage the existing population of these dogs”, confirming that if you are the owner of an XL Bully, they will not be destroyed.
What to do if you own an XL Bully
If you already own an XL Bully, we understand how stressful this time is for you. As we have seen in the quote above, no immediate action is required. However, this could change in the near future. Owners of XL Bullies may need to:
- Register for a Certificate of Exemption.
- Have your XL Bully neutered.
- Keep your XL Bully on a lead in public.
- Keep your XL Bully muzzled in public.
- Do not sell your XL Bully.
- Do not attempt to breed your XL Bully.
As we learn more, this list will be updated.
Will I need to muzzle-train my XL Bully?
It is very likely you will need to train your Bully to be muzzle-trained when out in public.
Read our Guide: How To Muzzle Train A Dog
Help stop the ban of the American XL Bully breed
Help stop the XL ban – sign the Official Petition today.
We will update this article when we have more information regarding the upcoming consideration of this debate.