XL Bully Ban UK

XL Bully standing in a park

Understanding the XL Bully Ban in the UK: Legal Implications and Owner Guidelines

The UK Government confirmed the XL Bully ban on October 31, 2023. This caused dog owners to have many questions and concerns. Beginning December 31, 2023, pet owners need to know these new rules well. 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’s.

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

The American Bully XL, or the American Bull Terrier XL, will be banned in the UK by the end of 2023 due to new regulations. This situation makes insuring the breed more important than ever. The UK Kennel Club does not recognize the breed, but the US United Kennel Club does. Owners should follow regulations and insure their dogs. They can also muzzle, neuter, and microchip them.

  • As of 31 December 2023, it becomes illegal to breed, sell, advertise, rehome, abandon, or allow XL Bully dogs to stray in England and Wales. Owners must keep these dogs on a lead and muzzled in public, with training recommended.
  • Owners must keep these dogs on a lead and muzzled in public, with training advised beforehand.
  • From 1 February 2024, owning an XL Bully dog is illegal unless registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs. To retain ownership, owners must register their dogs, keep them muzzled, leashed in public, microchipped, and neutered. Non-compliance risks criminal records, unlimited fines, and possible seizure of the dog.
  • To retain ownership, dogs must be registered, muzzled, leashed in public, microchipped, and neutered.
  • Non-compliance risks 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.

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 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

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 will need to apply for an Exemption Certificate, prove their dog isn’t a public threat, and follow the regulations for prohibited breed types.

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

Exempted Dog Regulations

Exempted Dogs Must:

  • Be neutered and microchipped.
  • Remain leashed and muzzled in public areas.
  • Reside in a secure location to prevent potential escapes.

Moreover, Owners Should:

  • 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.

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

American XL Bully

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 the police, 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.

Dog Aggression Expert

If you are interested in learning more about dog aggression, check out our podcast with Michael Shikashio who is a certified dog behaviour consultant and the founder of AggressiveDog.com, where he helps dog owners and trainers understand and manage aggressive behaviour in dogs.

With over 25 years of experience in animal welfare and behaviour, Michael has a wealth of knowledge and insights to share with us today. In this interview, we’ll be talking about common misconceptions about aggression in dogs, the latest research and techniques for preventing and managing aggressive behaviour, and much more.

Interview between Michael Shikashio and Jim Gillies

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.

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.

Understanding American XL Bully

Key Takeaways on American XL Bully

  • American XL Bullies are distinguished by their muscular build, friendly temperament, and loyalty.
  • Positive reinforcement methods are most effective for training, fostering a trusting relationship between the dog and owner.
  • XL Bullies need regular exercise to maintain physical health and prevent behavioural issues.
  • Proper nutrition is crucial for their development; a balanced diet tailored to their size and energy levels is recommended.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor for health conditions common in large breeds.
  • Understanding the breed’s needs and behaviours is key for a harmonious living environment.
  • Owners must keep these dogs on a lead and muzzled in public, with training advised beforehand.
  • From 1 February 2024, owning an XL Bully dog is illegal unless registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.
  • To retain ownership, dogs must be registered, muzzled, leashed in public, microchipped, and neutered.
  • Non-compliance risks criminal records, unlimited fines, and possible seizure of the dog.

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 muzzling 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 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)


Multi-Clip Training Lead

A multi-clip training lead provides exceptional versatility, offering adjustable length settings. 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

Multi-clip Training Lead

  • Multi-functional double-ended lead that can be used in 7 different ways

  • Made from lightweight premium webbing, giving it both strength and comfort for everyday use in all weather

  • 2 trigger clips which allow for 2 points of connection and other versatile uses



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

Ruffwear Harness

  • Lightweight and durable with reflective trim, designed for all-day outdoor adventures

  • The harness is designed for easy on and off

  • Reinforced webbing at the chest that stands up to pulling and gives additional control, ideal for training


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About Me

Jim Gillies, a Certified Dog Behaviourist and Trainer in Glasgow with over 10 years of experience, prioritises canine well-being through modern, science-backed methods. Handling 4000+ cases of 1-to-1 behaviour training, Jim is fully accredited, insured, and recognised for addressing various behavioural issues including aggression, separation anxiety, and more. Jim holds qualifications in level 5 (merit) Advance Diploma Canine Behaviour Management and level 6 Applied Animal Behaviour. Explore his insightful blog and podcast, sharing expert knowledge on dog training and behaviour. Certified by the IAABC, Jim’s expertise makes him a reliable choice for addressing your dog’s needs.

Contact Information

Should you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact me on:

Email: jim@cbtdogbehaviour.com

Mobile: 07864029933


Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate, and the products recommended in this guide are sold on Amazon. For each product listed, I have provided a hyperlink that directs you to the Amazon page where you can make a purchase. Should you decide to buy any of the products through the provided links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This affiliate commission helps to support my work and continue providing valuable information to my readers. Thank you for your support!

American XL Bully – FAQ

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 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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