XL Bully dogs

The UK Government announced that by the end of 2023 the XL Bully would be added to the list of banned dog breeds in the UK, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Key dates

From 31 December 2023 it is against the law to breed, sell, abandon, advertise, give away, or re-home an XL Bully.

From 1 February 2024 it is a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales, unless the owner has a Certificate of Exemption.

If you own an XL Bully you must:

  • Be over 16 years old
  • Have applied for a Certificate of Exemption (external link) before 31 January 2024 
  • Get Third Party Liability insurance. The Dogs Trust are offering this with their Companion Club membership (external link)
  • Neuter your dog. If your dog is already neutered you must get confirmation from a vet (external link) 
  • Microchip your dog
  • Keep your dog on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public. This includes when inside of a car
  • Ensure your dog cannot escape your home
  • Be able to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council Dog Warden, either at the time or within five days 

Identifying an XL Bully

You can use the Government's official definition of an XL Bully (external link) to check whether your dog is classed as an XL Bully. The Dogs Trust has useful advice on interpreting this definition (external link)

Stray dogs

The police are the enforcing body when dealing with dangerous dogs and banned breeds, and any reports should go to them.  The council has a statutory duty to recover any stray dogs in the district. If you find a stray dog please report it to the council

Licenced kennelling, home-boarding or day care of XL Bullies

It is still possible for businesses to provide services for legally exempted XL Bullies. Licence holders must ensure they can maintain all their licence conditions and follow the law for exempted dogs. They should check their insurance provides cover for XL Bullies, and if they are unsure whether their premises constitutes a public place, they should seek legal advice.  

Further advice