UK Officially Bans XL Bully Dogs After Recent Attacks

American xl bully dogs to be banned in UK

As a follow up from our recent article on the UK’s proposed banning of the American XL Bully dog breed, it now looks as though the UK government has pressed ahead and put in place official banning criteria ahead of the end of 2023.

The UK government has announced a ban on XL bully dogs following a series of attacks and deaths involving this breed. Owners who choose to euthanize their XL bully dogs by a vet will be compensated with £200.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak labeled the XL bully breed a “danger to communities” after a suspected attack in Staffordshire resulted in a man’s death.

The XL Bully ban will be phased in gradually:

  • From December 31, 2023, breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning, and allowing an XL bully dog to stray will be illegal in England and Wales.
  • Starting on the same date, XL bully dogs must be muzzled and on a lead in public.
  • By February 1, 2024, it will be illegal to own an XL bully dog unless the owner applies for registration on the Index of Exempted Dogs and complies with strict rules, including muzzling, neutering, microchipping, and keeping the dog on a lead in public.
  • The UK Bully Kennel Club expressed its dismay, particularly for the thousands of XL bully dogs in shelters and rescues across the country now at risk of being euthanized. They urge the public to consider adopting these dogs based on behavior rather than appearance.

Owners considering euthanasia will also receive £200 in compensation, with details on how to apply forthcoming.

Breeders have been instructed to cease mating XL bully dogs immediately in preparation for the upcoming law change. Failure to comply may result in the seizure of the dog and an unlimited fine.

Four other dog breeds are already banned in the UK: pit bull terriers, Japanese tosas, dogo argentinos, and fila brasileiros.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey emphasized the government’s commitment to taking “quick and decisive action” to protect the public from dog attacks.

An official definition of the XL bully breed has been published, describing them as having a “heavy, large, and broad” head with a “blocky or slightly squared” muzzle, as well as a “heavily-muscled” body.

Critics have questioned the effectiveness of the ban, suggesting that more attention should be focused on the owners of dangerous dogs rather than the breeds themselves.

Recent victims of suspected XL bully attacks include a 29-year-old woman in North Tyneside, an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham, and Jonathan Hogg, 37, who died after being mauled while looking after a friend’s XL bully dog.

Additionally, a man and a woman were jailed last year for being in charge of an XL bully that fatally attacked a 10-year-old boy in 2021.


In light of the UK government’s ban on XL bully dogs, opinions on the matter remain divided. While proponents argue that the ban is a necessary measure to protect communities from potential harm, critics point out that the focus should be on responsible dog ownership and addressing the behavior of individual dogs rather than banning entire breeds.

It’s important to note that dog biting statistics in the UK vary, with incidents involving various breeds.

The effectiveness of breed-specific bans in reducing overall dog bite incidents is a subject of ongoing debate.

Ultimately, the ban reflects the government’s commitment to public safety, but its long-term impact on dog-related incidents and responsible ownership will continue to be scrutinized and discussed.

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