In a significant development, the UK Government has announced its ban on American Bully XL type dogs in England and Wales.

This decision has left many dog owners concerned and seeking information on how to navigate the impending restrictions. To assist owners during this challenging period, charity Dogs Trust is offering support and practical advice. This will help these dogs’ owners ensure a smooth transition into compliance with the new regulations.

Key Dates and Legal Implications

As of Tuesday, October 31, the Government has included the American Bully XL type dog in the list of banned breeds in England and Wales. The ban will have several key implications, and dog owners need to be aware of some dates.

  • From December 31, 2023: Breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning, and allowing an American Bully XL dog to stray will be illegal. From this date, these dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.
  • From February 1, 2024: It will be illegal to own an American Bully XL dog if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Starting from 1 February 2024, it will be a criminal offence to own an these dogs England and Wales. That’s unless you possess a Certificate of Exemption for your dog. Dog owners will have until 31 January 2024, to apply for this exemption. Further instructions on how to apply for an exemption for an American Bully XL dog will be provided by the Government.

Understanding the American Bully XL Definition

To determine whether your dog falls under the category of an American Bully XL, the Government has established an official definition. This definition considers various characteristics such as height, shape, and other features.  It’s essential to note that the law focuses on the type of dog rather than its breed.

Prohibited types are identified based on their appearance rather than their breed name, genetics (DNA), or parentage. Height is a critical factor in this identification. If your dog is smaller than the height outlined in the Government’s definition, they are not considered a type. Height should be measured from the ground to the withers. That is the point of the body immediately behind the neck, at the top of the shoulders.

The official definition of an XL Bully dog can be found here.

Legal Requirements for American Bully XL Owners

If your dog is identified as an American Bully XL and you plan to keep them legally, several requirements must be met:

  • Your dog must be microchipped.
  • Neutering is required. If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 31 2024, they must be neutered by 31 December 31 2024.
  • Your dog must be kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public.
  • They must be kept in a secure place to prevent them from escaping.

As an owner, you must also:

  • Have third-party liability insurance to cover any potential injuries caused by your dog to other people.
  • Be aged over 16.
  • Be prepared to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden. This can be done either at the time of request or within 5 days.
  • Notify the Index of Exempt Dogs if you change your address or if your dog passes away.

Owners of American Bully XL type should ensure their dog is neutered, microchipped, and trained to wear a muzzle. Additionally, obtaining third-party liability insurance is a necessary step. The application for an exemption for an American Bully XL dog costs £92.40.