The XL Bully Ban – What This Means for Dogs and Their Owners

The XL Bully Ban – What This Means for Dogs and Their Owners

UPDATED 30 November 2023

The information below is summarised in this video by our Group Practice Nurse Sophie. Sophie recorded this video to help support owners of XL Bully dogs to help them understand the Government guidelines that will be coming into place, and what action they need to take by which dates.

On 31 October 2023, the UK Government made a decision to add the XL Bully breed to the list of banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Dogs will be assessed against this criteria to determine if they fit the classification of being an XL Bully.

When does the XL Bully ban start?

The ban will come into force from 31 December 2023.

At this time, it will become illegal to sell, abandon, give away or breed from an XL Bully. It will also be illegal to have an XL Bully in public unleashed and without wearing a muzzle.

Owners of XL Bullys will need to take the following steps to ensure they’re complying with the law:

  • You must apply for a Certificate of Exemption by 31 January 2024. This will cost £92.40. From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales unless you have a Certificate of Exemption for your dog. 

  • To keep an XL Bully, you must ensure the following:
    - Your dog is microchipped
    - Your dog is neutered
    - Your dog must be kept on a lead and muzzled when in public
    - You need to keep your dog in a secure place where they cannot escape

Neutering guidance for XL Bullys

According to, ‘If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If your dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024.’ 

We recommend XL Bully owners get in touch as soon as possible so we can get your dog booked in for neutering ahead of these deadlines.  

Once your XL Bully dog has been neutered, your Vet will complete the proof of neutering form for you to return to Defra. If your dog has already been neutered, your Vet can still complete the paperwork for you to issue to Defra. 

If neutering was undertaken by a different Vet or at a different practice, your current Vet may have to check that neutering has taken place. You may have to pay a fee for the Vet to do this. Alternatively, you may be able to contact your previous Vet to fill in the form.  

XL Bully owners must also meet the following criteria:

  • You must be over 16 years old

  • You need to take out insurance against your dog injuring other people. This can be obtained via Dog’s Trust membership.

  • You need to be able to show a Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or a council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days.

Vets will not be expected to report XL Bully dogs and their owners to the police. 

Muzzle guidance for XL Bullys

XL Bullys who aren’t accustomed to wearing a muzzle should start muzzle training now, so you’re able to comply with the requirements when these come into force on 31 December 2023. Free muzzle training resources can be found online through the Blue Cross and Dog’s Trust. We also have a Nurse clinics where advice and support can be provided. Please  get in touch if you would like to take advantage of this service. 

Choosing not to keep an XL Bully

The Government recommendation for people choosing not to keep their XL Bully is for the dog to be euthanised, and the Government will pay £200 per dog to contribute towards the cost of euthanasia that takes place before 31 January 2024.

We understand how distressing this decision can be and our team will do their very best to support you at this time.

Please get in touch

If you have any questions, need any support in light of the ban announcement or would like to get your XL Bully booked in for microchipping or neutering, please contact your local surgery.