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The Bully XL ban: What owners need to know, and the end of breeding

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Parliament introduced new legislation yesterday, set to take effect on 31 December 2023. This legislation will ban XL Bullies, adding the breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This list already includes the Pit Bull, Tosa Inu, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff).

For owners, the clock is ticking. Starting from 1 February 2024, it will become illegal for owners to have an unregistered XL Bully dog. And for the first time, the police and courts have established a standard for identifying the breed

However, registering a dog on the Index of Exempted Dogs is known to be a challenging, upsetting, and time-consuming process. Concerns about potential backlogs are growing, especially considering the number of XL Bullies in the UK. DEFRA has stated, ‘We are not accepting applications for Certificates of Exemption yet. Further details on how to apply will be provided soon.’ However, they have not yet specified a date for when this process will begin. In the meantime, the government’s Index of Exempted Dogs team can be reached at 020 8026 4296 or [email protected]

Once registered, it will be mandatory for XL Bullies to be: 

  • Microchipped
  • Neutered
  • Kept on lead and muzzled in a public place, including in cars
  • Kept in a secure place so they cannot escape
  • Having 3rd party liability insurance cover

In cases where an owner decides to have their dog put to sleep, the government has pledged to provide financial assistance to help cover these costs.

For breeders and the future of the breed itself, the situation is much simpler. From 31 December 2023, it becomes illegal to breed XL Bully type dogs. The law also forbids selling any existing XL Bully puppies. Breeders can register these puppies, then either keep them or find them new legally appropriate homes or choose to have them euthanised. 

The call for responsible canine ownership and compassion towards everyone involved, including the general public, is more crucial than ever. This situation also highlights the huge impacts that new laws can have on an entire breed. The Blue Cross sums it up with their worry: “We continue to be concerned that the Dangerous Dogs Act penalises innocent dogs.”

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