Buddy Breed Guide

XL Bully Ban: Everything you need to know

Bianca Amponsah
American XL Bully Puppy Dog

On September 15th, the Prime Minister announced that American bully XL types will be added to the list of dog breed types banned in the UK by the end of 2023.


The government has confirmed that these dogs will be banned from December 31st, 2023.

This means that breeding, selling, advertising, exchanging, gifting, rehoming, abandoning or allowing XL bully-type dogs to roam freely will be illegal.  

If you currently have an XL bully type, you will be required to keep your dog on a lead and muzzled when walking them in public from December 31st, 2023.  

If you want to own an XL bully type dog, you will need to comply with additional restrictions to get your dog exempted, including having them neutered and getting third-party insurance.  

From February 1st, 2024, it will be illegal to own an XL bully type dog without a certificate of exemption.  


What is an XL bully? 

An American bully XL, known as an XL bully, is the largest of the American bully breeds. They are a type of dog that has been bred from several different dog breeds and therefore, they are not a registered breed with the Kennel Club in the UK. 


Are XL bullies banned in the UK? 

XL bullies are currently not banned in the UK, but they will be added to the list of banned breed types listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act by December 31st, 2023.

From February 1st, 2024, it will be illegal to own an XL bully type dog without a certificate of exemption.  


Will my dog be classed as an XL bully? 

As XL bullies are crossbreeds and Kennel Club breed standards do not exist, there are currently no exact specifications for this type of dog.  

The government has therefore created its own specifications for the breed, which include the size of their head and muzzle, their build and the length of their body. Breed name, genetics and parentage are not considered. 

Read about the government’s specifications 


What if I own an XL bully? 


If you own an XL bully, you may be wondering how the upcoming government ban on these dogs will affect you.

The good news is that the government has announced an exemption scheme that will allow owners to keep their dogs if certain criteria are met.


To qualify for the exemption, you must: 

  • Pay £92.40 for a certificate  
  • Ensure your dog is microchipped, neutered, and covered by third-party public liability insurance. 
  • Keep your dog on a lead and muzzled whenever they are in public, including in cars 
  • Keep your bully in a secure place at all times, so they can't escape.  
  • Additionally, you must be at least 16 years old to own an XL bully type. 


Assessing whether your dog is an XL bully-type 
If you currently own an XL bully, crossbreed, or a dog that looks similar, you should check the governments specifications on XL bully type dogs to see if your dog falls under this category.  

If you're not sure, it's best to contact your local Dog Legislation Officer (DLO) for more advice. 


Applying for the exemption scheme 
The government has confirmed that an exemption scheme will be available, but details of how to apply have not yet been released.

You can contact the government's Index of Exempted Dogs team by email or telephone (020 8026 4296) to find out more. 




To prepare for the ban, you should ensure that your dog is microchipped and that your contact details are up to date.  



Your vet can provide proof of neutering, which is a requirement for the exemption scheme. If your dog is not neutered, you should schedule this procedure as soon as possible.  

If your dog is under one year old as of January 31st, 2023, you are required to have them neutered by December 31st, 2024.  

If, on the other hand, your dog has already turned one year old by January 31st, 2024, you must have them neutered by June 30th, 2024.

Please note, failure to comply with these regulations may result in penalties. 


Third party public liability insurance cover 


You need to take out third-party liability insurance for your dog to protect yourself if your dog injures someone. Dogs Trust offers this coverage through their membership program.  


Muzzle training 

In addition to the above requirements, It's important for you to muzzle train your XL bully. 

Your dog will need to wear a muzzle whenever they are out in public, including in cars. 

They will also have to be walked on a lead at all times.  

If you haven't started yet, you can gradually get your dog used to wearing a muzzle by using positive reward-based training, making it a good experience for both you and your furry friend.  

If you need help getting started with muzzle training, you can speak to our lead vet nurse (RVN) Fiona Eldridge. 

Fiona can provide positive and professional training methods to help your dog feel comfortable wearing a muzzle.  

Connect with Fiona instantly on live chat now or in a free online video consultation at a time that suits you, here. 


Breeding XL bully types will be illegal after 31 December 2023. If puppies are born after this date, you must keep them or have them put to sleep by a vet. 


Speak to your Housing provider 

If you live in rented accommodation, you should check with your landlord, housing association, or council to find out their plans regarding the ban. 
It's worth noting that the Dangerous Dogs Act not only makes it illegal to own a banned type unless they are exempt, but it also makes it illegal to breed from, rehome, or sell these dogs. 

This means that rehoming centres will not be able to rehome XL bullies after 31 December 2023, even if they are well-behaved and well-socialised. 

This will result in many XL bullies being destroyed so please, take responsible measures to ensure this doesn’t happen. 

More ways to prepare for the XL bully ban 

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Fiona Eldridge
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Fiona Eldridge
Hi! I'm Fiona, Buddycare's lead Veterinary Nurse and I'm here to answer all of your pet related questions dog and cat emoji
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