Support for owners of American Bully XLs

On 15 September the Prime Minister announced plans to ban American Bully XLs in the UK by the end of 2023.

From 31 December 2023 it will be against the law to: 

  • Sell an XL Bully dog 
  • Abandon an XL Bully dog 
  • Give away an XL Bully dog 
  • Breed from an XL Bully dog 
  • Have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle

The Government have now released an official definition of an XL Bully dog to identify if your dog may be an XL Bully. This involves checking the dog’s physical characteristics such as its size and height.

More details can be found on the Government website.

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. You will have until 31 January 2024 to apply for this exemption. 

To keep an XL Bully dog you must ensure it is microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public, and kept in a secure place so it cannot escape. 

You will also need to neuter your dog. 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 that you arrange for your dog to be neutered as soon as possible to ensure that you meet these deadlines. 

As the owner, you must also: 

  • Be over 16 years old 
  • Take out insurance against your dog injuring other people — this is provided through Dogs Trust 
  • Be able to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or a council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days.

From 1 February 2024 you must have a valid Certificate of Exemption to own an XL Bully dog in England or Wales. 

On 14 November, the Government published guidance for owners wishing to seek a Certificate of Exemption for their dog. This includes a form that owners will need to complete online by 31 January 2024 or via post by 15 January 2024. 

Details of the application process can be found on the Government website.

In preparation for the ban, Battersea are hosting a series of free one-hour online classes to support American Bully XL owners. Each standalone class will include advice on muzzles, lead walking, and how you can support your dog behaviourally after they’ve been neutered. 

You can book Battersea’s American Bully XL owner support class by visiting Battersea’s website

To read Battersea’s advice for Bully XL owners, including on muzzle training, neutering and microchipping, visit Battersea’s website.

The Dogs Trust website also offer further advice and free sessions to train your dog to wear a muzzle

Visit the Government website for the latest update advice.