XL Bully Ban UK

XL Bully standing in a park

The UK Government confirmed the XL Bully ban. This caused dog owners to have many questions and concerns. Beginning December 31, 2023, pet owners need to know these new rules. These rules have legal consequences and requirements for following them. This article aims to clarify the evolving situation, based on the latest announcements from the UK Government.

XL Bully Ban Update January 2024: RSPCA Gains Judicial Review

In a significant update on the XL Bully ban, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has been granted a judicial review hearing. This development could potentially challenge the UK government’s recent decision to ban XL Bully dogs. The review is due to be conducted mid-January 2024.

This breed-specific legislation, part of the government’s effort to address a spike in dog attacks, has sparked widespread debate and concern among dog owners and animal welfare groups alike. Check out further information on applying for an exemption certificate in our detailed guide.

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The XL Bully Ban in the UK

The UK government, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, has banned American XL Bully dogs. Starting on December 31, 2023, there will be a ban on XL Bullies. This ban has two phases. During this time, you cannot sell, abandon, breed, or publicly show XL Bullies without a lead and muzzle. Starting on February 1, 2024, it is illegal to own an XL Bully without a Certificate of Exemption.

In public spaces, dog owners need to do certain things. They should microchip, neuter, and muzzle their dogs. In addition, the law provides payment for euthanasia by authorized vets. It also stops XL Bullies from breeding, selling, or finding new homes.

If you want to know more about the American XL Bully Dog, check out our guide. It has all the information you need about its characteristics and history.

American Bully XL – UK Regulations Update

BreedAmerican Bully XL
Regulation OverviewBbanned in the UK by the end of 2023. The breed is not recognized by the UK Kennel Club but is by the US United Kennel Club. Insuring the breed has become crucial.
Owner AdvisoryOwners should follow regulations, insure their dogs, and can consider additional measures like muzzling, neutering, and microchipping.
Legislation Enforcement (From 31 December 2023)Illegal to breed, sell, advertise, rehome, abandon, or allow XL Bully dogs to stray. Dogs must be leashed and muzzled in public, with training advised.
Registration Requirement (From 1 February 2024)Ownership of an XL Bully is illegal unless registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs. Owners must register their dogs, keep them muzzled, leashed in public, microchipped, and neutered.
Consequences of Non-ComplianceRisks include criminal records, unlimited fines, and possible seizure of the dog.

Is Ownership of an American Bully XL Illegal in the UK?

From 1 February 2024, it becomes illegal to own an unregistered XL Bully dog. Consequently, owners wishing to keep their dogs must register them by the end of January 2024 and comply with strict requirements, including keeping them muzzled and on a lead in public, microchipping, and neutering. Failing to comply could lead to a criminal record, unlimited fines, and possible seizure of the dog.

American Bully XL ban: what to do if you own an American Bully XL

It seems that this ban on American dogs is extremely skewed. We continue to help American bulldogs XL breed owners in their training with a comprehensive program that includes free muzzle training. We will update the website as much as possible.

Understanding the American Bully XL

The American Bully XL, the largest variant within its breed classification, is muscular and robust. Although the UK Kennel Club does not recognise it due to its crossbreed status, the US United Kennel Club acknowledged it in 2013. However, the American Kennel Club has not granted similar recognition.

Identifying the American Bully XL can be challenging because of its varied appearance and similarity to other breeds. The Government’s effort to establish a distinct breed standard aims to clarify which dogs the ban affects.

XL Bully: Context and Classification in the UK

In the UK, classifying the XL Bully focuses more on the dog’s appearance than its breed or genetic lineage. This approach centres on the dog’s physical characteristics and looks as the primary categorisation factor. The Government works with breed experts to define the American Bully XL type.

How To Check If Your Dog Is An American XL Bully

You can find all relevant details on the UK Government’s website on the Official Definition of a XL Bully for detailed information.

In the case you need to contact the authorities to determine your dogs breed, here are the contact details:

Index of Exempted Dogs
Telephone: 020 8026 4296
Find out about call charges

Dogs Index
PO Box 68250

American XL Bully dog standing in a park during autumn.

Steps for American Bully XL Owners

Though the ban isn’t in effect yet, the Government promises an amnesty period, giving owners time to prepare. If you have an American Bully XL type dog:

  1. Consider having your dog neutered and microchipped.
  2. Train them to wear a muzzle comfortably.
  3. Look into third-party liability insurance options.

When the ban starts on 31 December 2023, owners of the banned type will need to apply for an Exemption Certificate, prove their dog isn’t a public threat, apply for a certificate and follow the regulations for prohibited breed types.

For comprehensive regulations understanding, visiting the Government’s official website is recommended.

Requirements for Exempted DogsDetails
Dog Requirements– Must be neutered and microchipped.
– Remain leashed and muzzled in public areas
– Reside in a secure location to prevent potential escapes.
Owner Responsibilities– Maintain third-party liability insurance.
– Be over 16 years of age.
– Present the Exemption Certificate to authorities upon request.
– Notify the Index of Exempt Dogs about any changes in address or the dog’s status.
Additional InformationFor a comprehensive understanding of the regulations, visiting the Government’s official website is recommended.

Existing Banned Breeds in the UK

The Dangerous Dogs Act, established in 1991, allows the Government to ban specific dog breeds. Currently, breeds like the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro are prohibited in the UK. For these breeds, activities such as breeding, selling, or abandoning are illegal.

Without an exemption certificate, even harmless dogs can be seized by a police officer, necessitating a court procedure to determine their threat level and the possibility of obtaining an exemption.

Aggression and the XL Bully

Contrary to popular belief, XL Bullies are not inherently aggressive. Like all dogs, their temperament depends on genetics, upbringing, training, and socialisation. While they have protective instincts, they’re also known for their loyalty and affection towards families.

It’s important to distinguish between protective instincts and aggression, and generalising any breed can lead to misconceptions. In summary, there are a huge amount of factors contributing to any dog behaviour and whilst genetics have their role to play, recent studies have concluded it is less to do with genetics than first thought.

While genetics plays a role in the personality of any individual dog, specific dog breed is not a good predictor of those traits

Elinor Karlsson, PhD, senior author of the study​

For more information about genetics in dog behaviour, specifically aggression, please read our article on “Is Aggression Genetic or Learned?” for more on dog behaviour.

Muzzling Regulations for XL Bullies

With the introduction of the new law, XL Bully dogs must be muzzled and kept on a lead in public starting from 31 December 2023. Consequently, owners should proactively train their dogs for this change before the law takes effect on 31.

Fitting your XL Bully with a muzzle is a legal requirement once the legislation passes. Our selected muzzle through Amazon is designed for your XL Bully’s comfort and breathability, providing a secure fit while allowing your dog to pant and drink water.

XL Bully UK Petition

Petition 1

The UK Government’s response to the petition against the banning of the XL Bully under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 acknowledges public safety concerns. This is due to increased dog attacks involving this breed.

As a result, strict regulations will be implemented for XL Bully owners from December 31, 2023. The regulations will include restrictions on breeding and selling. Owners will also have to keep their dogs on a lead and muzzled in public.

From February 1, 2024, owning an XL Bully without a Certificate of Exemption will be a criminal offense. This measure aims to address irresponsible dog ownership and improve safety.

For further details, you can view the full government response here.

Petition 2

The new petition, titled “Delay the ban on rehoming and owning XL Bully dogs for 18 months,” requests an extension of the amnesty period for XL Bully dogs. This extension aims to give owners more time to either rehome their dogs or obtain exemption certificates. It’s in response to the impending ban. This ban makes it illegal to own these dogs without an exemption from February 1, 2024.

The petition highlights concerns about XL Bully dogs being abandoned or placed in rescue centres due to the ban. It emphasises the need to prevent unnecessary euthanasia of these dogs.

For more details, you can view the petition here

Sign the Petition
XL Bully dog with a family in a park

Essential Products for Your American XL Bully

As a responsible American XL Bully owner, it is crucial to prioritize your pet’s safety and comfort while adhering to legal guidelines. This is particularly important when it comes to muzzle training and leashing XL Bullies.

To assist you, we have carefully curated a list of essential products. These selections not only comply with the upcoming laws but also guarantee a positive, secure place and comfortable experience for your beloved bully.

Basket Muzzle

Fitting your XL Bully with a muzzle will become a legal requirement starting 31st December 2023. Accordingly, we have selected a muzzle available on Amazon that is specifically designed for the comfort and breathability of your XL Bully. This choice ensures a secure fit, while simultaneously allowing your dog to pant and drink water. You can check out muzzle training guide here.

Top Selling

Basket Muzzle

  • Allows dogs to pant when hot or stressed and drink

  • Can be heat shaped to fit different dog nose shapes

  • Strong Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR)


Training Lead

A training lead provides exceptional versatility. This feature is ideal for various purposes, such as training, walking, or ensuring your bully stays close in crowded or high-traffic areas.

Top Selling

  • Combines a strong connection with an elegant design

  • Includes a padded handle, Ruffwear's unique lockable Crux Clip™ hardware, and a bold design

  • Keeps you comfortably connected to your canine companion



A harness offers better control and evenly distributes pressure across the chest and shoulders. This approach is significantly safer than traditional collars, particularly for robust breeds like the American XL Bully.

Top Selling

  • Front Range Harness is a padded everyday dog harness

  • Easy to put on and comfortable for dogs to wear 

  • Features two leash attachment options


FAQ on American XL Bully UK Ban

What is an American Bully XL or XL Bully?

The American Bully XL, commonly referred to as XL Bully, is the largest variant of the American Bully breed, known for its robust and muscular physique.

Is the XL Bully recognized as a distinct breed in the UK?

No, the XL Bully is considered a crossbreed and is not recognized as a separate breed by the UK Kennel Club.

Are XL Bullies naturally aggressive?

Contrary to common misconceptions, XL Bullies are not inherently aggressive. They are often protective but also known for their loyalty and affection.

Do I need to muzzle my XL Bully when taking it out in public in the UK?

Yes, from 31 December 2023, it is mandatory to keep XL Bullies on a lead and muzzled in public.

Which breeds contribute to the lineage of the XL Bully?

The XL Bully has evolved from crossbreeding several breeds, most prominently blue cross between the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Is it currently illegal to own an XL Bully in the UK?

Owning an XL Bully is subject to new regulations effective 31 December 2023. It will become illegal unless registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs by 1 February 2024.

What should I do if regulations change regarding XL Bullies in the UK?

Stay updated on the latest regulations, ensure your dog is registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs, and comply with the new rules like muzzling and leashing in public.

How can I differentiate between an XL Bully and other similar breeds?

Identifying an XL Bully can be challenging due to the breed’s varied appearance. It’s best to consult with a breed expert or vet for a precise determination.

Are there any specific care requirements for XL Bullies?

Like all breeds, XL Bullies require regular exercise, a balanced diet, regular vet check-ups, and proper training and socialization from a young age.

Where can I find more information about the American Bully XL and its status in the UK?

For up-to-date information, consult the UK Kennel Club’s website.

Muzzle Up Project

Controlling your dog in public – UK Gov

Dangerous Dog Act 1991

Current banned dogs UK

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