XL Bully FAQ

On the 15th of September 2023, the UK Government announced that American XL Bully type dogs will be banned, in England and Wales, by the end of the year.

On the 11th of January The First Minister said the Scottish Government will mirror measures taken in England and Wales, however we are still awaiting conformed dates or clear information before we can advise owners in Scotland.

Here’s what we know so far for England and Wales. 

What does it mean to ban XL Bullies in the UK? 

We don’t yet know all the details of what a ban on the XL Bully breed will mean in practice. We will do our best to stay up to date with the latest developments and share advice and information as it is released. 

Generally, it is illegal to breed, sell, or own any dog whose breed is banned by the Dangerous Dog Act 1991, however the UK’s chief veterinary officers has said that the Government will adopt an ‘amnesty’ approach when adding XL Bully type dogs to this list.  

She said: ‘Owners will have to register their dogs and take certain actions… [Dogs] will need to be muzzled when out in public and on a lead and insured.’  

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. 

Will my dog be classed as an XL Bully? 

The UK Government plans to consult a group of experts in order to define the XL Bully breed as there currently are no breed standards.  

As this ban will be based on type of dog rather than breed, XL Bullys will be categorised by aspects of appearance such as head and muzzle size and body length rather than genetics or parentage.  

We don’t yet have the criteria for defining an XL Bully, but we will keep this article updated as new information is released.  

I own an XL Bully, what will happen to my dog? 

Once the ban is in place, XL Bully owners will have to apply for a Certificate of Exemption to be able to keep their dogs.  

They can do this via the Index of Exempted Dogs, contact details here: 

Index of Exempted Dogs 

Telephone: 020 8026 4296 

What can I do to look after my dog and prepare for this ban? 

The ban has not yet come into practice and as the Government has stated that there will be an amnesty period when it is introduced, XL Bully owners have time to prepare. 

If you are a concerned owner of an XL Bully type dog, we recommend that you prepare by ensuring that your dog is microchipped, neutered, insured and trained to wear a muzzle.  

We will be offering training classes to support owners on how to positively approach muzzle training as well as continuing to offer 1-1 training for more specific training advice. Keep an eye on our socials for more information on this.  

What is Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s stance on the banning of XL Bullies? 

The past few weeks have been emotional and difficult for those impacted by dog attacks and for those who are responsible owners of well-bred and well-behaved bully type dogs. As a team of dedicated animal lovers committed to the welfare of the dogs in our care, the Dangerous Dogs Act has put us in situations we never dreamed of having to be in. The recent news from the Prime Minister to add XL Bully type dogs to this banned breed list, in our opinion, falls short of understanding the real challenges happening in communities up and down the country where their breeding practices, control and training is not effective. 

Over the years we have cared for some amazing dogs who have unfortunately met criteria out with our control that has determined them to be banned breeds. It has felt unfair and immoral. To now see another breed type be added to this list in our opinion takes us backwards and not forwards in facing up to these very serious and real dog control issues. 

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, and the public, 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. We will continue to work with our national partners on acting as a voice for why dog control through responsible pet ownership should be the focus, not the blanket ban of a breed or type of dog. 

A requirement of ownership for existing owners of XL Bully dogs is for their dog to wear a muzzle. As previously mentioned, we’ll be offering training classes to help owners prepare for the upcoming changes. Keep an eye on our socials for more information. 

Our Statement on the XL Bully Ban

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