XL Bully Updated FAQ

The Scottish Government recently announced a two phase ban on XL Bully type dogs. Here's what we know so far.
Graphic saying: XL Bully Ban FAQ, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

When will the XL Bully ban be introduced in Scotland? 

The Government have announced early details of a two-stage approach to the XL Bully ban in Scotland.  

From 23 February 2024, it will remain legal to own an XL Bully type dog, but all dogs must wear a muzzle and a lead when in public. From this date, it will be illegal to sell, gift, abandon or exchange XL Bully dogs. This also means that from this date, it will be illegal for Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home to take in or rehome any XL Bully type dogs. 

From 31 July 2024, owners of XL Bully dogs must have a Certificate of Exemption or have applied for a Certificate of Exemption. From this date, it will be illegal to own an XL Bully dog without this certificate. 

What does an XL Bully ban mean in Scotland? 

In January, Scottish First Minister, Humza Yousaf, declared that Scotland will ‘in essence replicate’ the XL Bully ban in England and Wales.  

The Scottish Government hasn’t yet released information about the exact details of the exemption certificates but we are monitoring the situation and will share further information as we learn it.  

What is the legislation for the XL Bully ban in England and Wales? 

In England and Wales, as of the 31st December 2023, it’s now illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL Bully type dogs stray.  

Owners can apply for a Certificate of Exemption which costs £92.40 and they must keep their dogs on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public. XL Bully type dogs must also be microchipped and neutered.  

What is an XL Bully?  

There are a few types of American Bully dogs; pocket, standard, classic and XL.  

The XL Bully is the largest of these American Bully type dogs. This type of dog has been bred by cross-breeding several dog breeds and is not officially recognised by the UK Kennel Club. 

How do I know if my dog will be classed as an XL Bully?  

The Government advice is to ‘take a precautionary approach’ and prepare for the ban if you’re not sure if your dog is classified as an XL Bully or if you have a puppy which may grow up to become an XL Bully type dog.  

The classification of XL Bully type dogs will depend on ‘breed type’, this means that it will depend on physical characteristics rather than breed name or DNA to identify whether a dog is a banned breed.  

In England and Wales, any dog which meets a ‘substantial amount of the physical characteristics set out in the conformation standard’ could be classified as an XL Bully and be subject to the ban. If you have any concerns, please reach out to your vet for assistance. 

Find the Official Definition of an XL Bully Dog in England and Wales here.

Exemption Certificates for Scotland 

From the 31st July 2024 owners of XL Bully type dogs will have to have an exemption certificate or have applied for one.  

The Scottish Government have not yet released information about the cost or application process, but we will share this information as soon as we can.  

Muzzle training  

It will be a legal requirement to keep any XL Bully type on a lead and muzzled when in public spaces.  

If your dog has never worn a muzzle before, it’s important that you introduce it to them correctly to avoid any additional stress or displeasure.  

Sign up for one of our muzzle training sessions to receive expert, tailored advice from our dog trainers, or access free support here.

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s Statement on the XL Bully Ban 

We take our legislative responsibilities seriously, including compliance with the Dangerous Dogs Act. However, we believe that any animal welfare legislation should ultimately protect dogs from irresponsible owners who put their health or wellbeing at risk and promote good breeding and training practices. This does not correlate with banning specific breeds.  

Read our full statement here.

What are we doing to support XL Bullys and their owners at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home? 

We will reduce the rehoming fee for any XL Bully dog currently in our care and ready to be rehomed to help new owners with the cost of applying for a Certificate of Exemption.  

All XL Bully dogs will be rehomed with a free muzzle and harness as well as the option of free muzzle training sessions. They will also be offered four free training sessions with further sessions available for 50% off.  

Muzzle Training Resources

Learn more