XL Bullys and their addition to the Dangerous Dogs Act
The XL Bully Types have been added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This act has been in place since 1991 and addition of the XL Bully to this list means certain activities relating to them will be illegal after. These are listed below but it is important to note that you can continue to have one of these dogs so long as you comply with certain criteria and have a certificate of exemption. We hope the following summary is helpful in clarifying the issues around the new rules.
What does being on the Dangerous Dogs Act list mean?
After the 31st of December 2023 it will be illegal to breed from, abandon, or give away an XL bully type.
Can I still have an XL Bully type dog?
Yes, you can. However dogs would be subject to registration and some restrictions. There are several thousand dogs already in the UK which are listed breeds under the act. To keep an XL Bully type after the 1st of February 2024 owners will need to:
- Have a certificate of exemption from DEFRA.
- The dogs cannot be in public (which includes being in the owner’s car) without being on a lead and wearing a muzzle.
- They would need to be kept in a secure garden (from which they cannot escape).
- Dogs will need to be neutered (see below).
- Owners must also have public liability insurance which can be sourced through the Dogs Trust if other policies will not cover these breeds (https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/
What are the neutering rules?
Many of these breeds will already be neutered but dogs who are over 1 year old on the 31st of January 2024 will have to be neutered after 30th June 2024. For large breed dogs the generally accepted advice is to neuter after they have a more developed skeleton. For dogs who are less than 1 year old on the 31st of January 2024 you have until the 31st of December 2024 to get them neutered.
I need more support (including muzzle training) what can I do?
An excellent vet called Sophie White works as a behaviourist and has set up a support group called The Bully Boardroom. Like with so many things, the advice and opinions online can vary but as a registered vet we feel that Sophie will provide good and balanced advice and can also help with muzzle training. Her group and an advice sheet on muzzle training can be accessed via https://www.
Euthanasia and banned breeds:
The most upsetting and stressful part of this story has been regarding euthanasia. Sadly this is an option for some people who are not able to comply with the new rules. It would also be the likely outcome for seized or abandoned dogs. The government offers a £200 compensation scheme so that if a dog is euthanised as the result of the new legislation, the owners are not out of pocket too. In most cases we would expect that compliance is possible and so this sort of scenario can be avoided.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful issue. We are happy to help with all aspects of the legislation wherever we can. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact us.