XL Bully Dog Ban Now Effective

Red Star Wealth
by Red Star Wealth

The XL bully dog ban was made effective yesterday, making it illegal to own a dog of this breed without a valid certificate.

What is the Ban?

Under this new law, it is now a criminal offence to own or possess an XL bully dog in England and Wales unless you possess a valid Certificate of Exemption. You also cannot:

  • Sell an XL bully
  • Abandon one
  • Give one away
  • Breed from one

Applications for Certificates of Exemption are now closed, meaning you must get authorisation from a court order for any new exemptions.

The new law comes with a range of other strict regulations. If you own an XL bully you must:

  • Keep it at the same address as the certificate holder – you can only keep it at a different address for a maximum of 30 days in a 12 month period
  • Tell Defra if you permanently change address
  • Have third party liability insurance for the dog and provide proof of renewal to Defra every year
  • Tell Defra if the dog dies or is exported
  • Keep the dog muzzled and on a lead whenever in public spaces
  • Keep the dog in secure conditions to prevent escape

Why Was the Ban Introduced?

The ban has been introduced in an attempt to reduce the number of dog attacks. It comes in the wake of publicised XL bully attacks which have led to severe injuries and in some cases, death. This includes people like Ian Price, age 52 who died in September 2023; 10 year old Jack Lis who died in November 2021; and Bella-Rae Birch, who died in March 2022 when just 17 months old.

NHS consultant, Richard Baker, has commented that XL bullies have very powerful jaws, which is why attacks from them can be so severe. He said, “It’s a crushing or tearing injury. Once they grip they don’t let go.”


There has certainly been controversy around this law, particularly given its short notice for owners, breeders and shelters. Its opponents have argued that action needs to be taken against unscrupulous breeders and irresponsible owners, rather than punishment being carried out on the dog breed.

The Dog Control Coalition, made up of groups like the British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA, said “Banning the breed will sadly not stop these types of incidents recurring.”

In an open letter to Rishi Sunak in December 2023, they outlined a number of concerns, such as:

  • The speed of the ban being introduced
  • Inadequate financial support for owners to comply with the exemption
  • Whether the vet profession has the capacity to neuter tens of thousands of dogs in order to comply with this ban
  • The impact on the rescue sector
  • A lack of enforcement support

Sophie Coulthard, an organiser of the ‘Don’t Ban Me – License Me’ campaign group, said “The problem with this knee-jerk reaction is that it won’t stop dog attacks. We need to focus on licensing and educating owners, with compulsory training and tougher punishments to prevent people from impulse-buying dogs.” 

The group is calling for the government to adopt a similar approach to the Calgary Model in Canada as an alternative to the XL bully ban. The Calgary Model is an educational, licensing and stronger enforcement programme that has been hugely successful, helping to reduce the number of dog bites by 70% and creating a 15% decrease in aggressive dog incidents within 5 years of implementation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *