XL Bully Dogs

XL bullies are a variant of the wider American bully breed. Since the 31st of December 2023, breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing an XL bully dog to stray is illegal.

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How to prepare for the ban on XL bully dogs

Since the 31st of December 2023, it is against the law to:

  • Sell an XL bully dog
  • Abandon an XL bully dog or let it stray
  • Give away an XL bully dog
  • Breed from an XL bully dog
  • Have an XL bully in public without a lead and muzzle

From the 1st of February 2024, it will be a criminal offence to own an XL bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a Certificate of Exemption.

If you apply for a Certificate of Exemption online you must complete your application by midday on the 31st of January 2024.

Is your dog an XL bully?

It is the responsibility of the owner to identify if their dog is an XL bully or carries the characteristics of the breed type.

You can ask vets to help you with this. They will refer to the same criteria listed in the link here.

XLB 2 1
XLB 6 1
XLB 5 1
XLB 4 1
XLB 3 1

If, after checking the guidance and photos, you’re still not sure if your dog is an XL bully, you should take a precautionary approach and apply for a Certificate of Exemption.

This includes puppies that may grow up to have the XL bully characteristics.

What do you need to do to keep an XL bully?

Your dog must be:

  • Microchipped
  • Kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
  • Kept in a secure place so it cannot escape
  • Neutered
    • If your dog is less than one year old on the 31st of January 2024, they must be neutered by the 31st of December 2024.
    • If the dog is older than one year old on the 31st of January 2024, they must be neutered by the 30th of June 2024.

As the owner, you must also:

  • Be over 16 years old.
  • Have insurance against your dog injuring other people. This can be provided through Dogs Trust Membership, cost is £25 per year (£12.5 if over 65 years old).
  • Be able to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or a council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days.

When to apply for a Certificate of Exemption for an XL bully dog

As soon as possible. You must apply for a Certificate of Exemption by midday on the 31st of January 2024.

Applications will be subject to a £92.40 application fee.

How to muzzle train your dog

We recommend that owners start training their dogs to wear muzzles when in public and to walk on a lead as soon as possible. 

If you require help with muzzle training, you can contact Joii or an animal welfare organisation.

For further reading on how to muzzle train your dog, click below:

What to do if your dog has already been neutered

You will still need a proof of neutering form.

You will need to have a vet confirm that the neutering has taken place before they finalise the form.

  • If the procedure was done at another vet practice, a copy of your dog’s medical records will be requested.
  • If there is no documented evidence that the neutering has taken place, then an appointment will be needed at a vet practice to confirm the neutered status.

What if you decide not to keep your dog? Putting your dog to sleep

If you choose not to keep your XL bully dog, the new law dictates that you must have the animal euthanised by a vet.

Can they be rehomed or have ownership transferred?

From the 31st of December 2023, it is illegal to rehome, sell or transfer ownership of XL bully dogs. From this date, not even rescue and rehoming organisations should rehome XL bully dogs; the dogs will need to be euthanised. 

Joii’s statement on the XL bully ban

Joii does not support Breed Specific Legislation.

Whilst we agree urgent action is needed to protect the public from dangerous dogs, we’re disappointed the Government is continuing to add further breeds to the banned breed list. 

We’d like to see the Government focus on much-needed extensive reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act, as we do not believe that adding ‘XL bully’ dogs to the list of banned breeds will be an effective way of protecting the public.

The advice given in this article is a summary of the information available on the Gov.uk website and should not replace the need for owners to familiarise themselves with the full details provided there.

Click here to read the government guidance on how to prepare for the ban on XL bully dogs.

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