Make XL Bully a banned dog breed in the Dangerous Dogs Act

These dogs have been at the centre of numerous attacks of varying severity. I believe there is a need for these dogs to be placed on the list of banned dogs in the Dangerous Dogs Act, so it is illegal to sell, own or breed these dogs.

This petition closed on 25 Feb 2024 with 29,111 signatures

Reticulating Splines

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One campaign group has said it has identified 143 reported dog attacks involving XL Bully dogs in 2023 - over 20% of all dog attacks it has identified.

Petition Signatures over time

Government Response

Wednesday 29th November 2023

Following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully dogs, the Government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

We recognise that dog attacks have horrific consequences, and we take this issue very seriously. We have seen an increase in dog attacks in recent years, including those causing injuries and fatalities, with the XL Bully being disproportionally involved in this rise. That is why we have taken decisive action to add XL Bully breed types to the list of breeds prohibited by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. We firmly believe that this approach is needed to reduce the risks to the public by this type.

The Government has acted quickly to develop a definition for the XL Bully so the breed type can be banned in law. We convened a group of experts to define the physical characteristics of the breed type. This included representatives from the police, local authorities, devolved administrations and animal welfare experts. This definition and guidance can be found on the government's website, here: Official definition of an XL Bully dog:

From 31 December 2023 all owners of XL Bully breed types must comply with strict conditions. Breeding, selling, exchanging, gifting, abandoning or allowing these dogs to stray will be banned. Owners will also be required to keep their dog on a lead and muzzled in public. We are encouraging all owners to start training their dogs to wear a muzzle and walk on a lead now, ahead of the restrictions coming into force on 31 December 2023.

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to be in possession of an XL Bully in England and Wales, unless owners have a Certificate of Exemption. Applications to apply for a Certificate of Exemption are now open:

Owners will need to adhere to strict rules including holding public liability insurance and for the dog to be microchipped and neutered. Dogs that are less than one year old on 31 January 2024, will need to be neutered by 31 December 2024. Dogs that are older than one year old on 31 January 2024, must be neutered by 30 June 2024. We recommend that owners arrange for their dogs to be neutered as soon as possible to meet these deadlines.

Alternatively, where owners do not wish to keep their dogs, they can choose to euthanise them. Government will pay a contribution of £200 towards the costs associated with euthanasia where this takes place before 1 February 2024.

We have also been working hard with the police, local authorities and animal welfare groups to help prevent attacks by encouraging responsible dog ownership, to ensure dog control issues are addressed before they escalate. Owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control are already breaking the law, and the police already have a full range of powers available to them. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, any dog that is dangerously out of control can be euthanised and their owners put in prison for up to 14 years and be banned from ever owning a dog. As part of this work, through our Responsible Dog Ownership taskforce we are also considering the role of education and training (for both dogs and their owners) in reducing the risk of dog attacks through, as well as considering how we can improve data collection and recording and enforcement practices.  

Conclusions from this work are expected soon. These should address all aspects of tackling irresponsible dog ownership effectively, from prevention to robust, consistent enforcement, focussing on owners as well as on their dogs.  

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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