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XL Bully Dogs

What you need to know

New legislation in England and Wales adds the XL Bully breed type to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.  This follows the rise in attacks and fatalities which appear to be driven by XL Bullies.

From 31 December 2023

  • It will be illegal to breed, sell, exchange, advertise, rehome, gift, abandon, and allow an XL Bully type dog to stray.
  • These dogs must be muzzled and on a lead in public.

From 1 February 2024

  • It will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully without a Certificate of Exemption, and owners will need to:

    • Be 16 years or older.
    • Take out insurance against their dog injuring other people.
    • Microchip their dog.
    • Keep their dog on a lead and muzzled in a public place.
    • Neuter their dog by 30 June 2024, unless the dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, when it must be neutered by 31 December 2024.
    • Be able to show the certificate of exemption to a Police Officer or Council Officer at the time, or within 5 days.  
  • Alternatively, owners can take their dog to a registered vet to be PTS and there will be a compensation scheme to cover the vet’s costs.

More information is available on Prepare for the ban on XL Bully dogs - GOV.UK (, including how to check if your dog is an XL Bully, applying for an exemption, and guidance for actions that can be taken now. Applications for exemptions will open shortly and owners must apply by 31 January 2024.

Actions that can be taken now

  • Train a dog to wear a muzzle and be kept on a lead in a public place.
  • Get a dog neutered (get a form from the vet as proof of neutering)
  • If a dog has already been neutered, get proof of neutering.
  • Stop breeding activities involving XL Bully type dogs. (It will be a criminal offence to sell, transfer, exchange, gift or advertise these dogs from 31 December 2023.  There is a nine-week period until the ban on selling comes into force on 31 December 2023, to allow puppies that were bred before this legislation was introduced to be legally sold. It will remain the case that puppies must not be sold before they are eight weeks old and individuals that purchased a puppy before 31 December 2023 that is less than eight weeks old at that point, can still collect it legally when it is eight weeks old).