Ban on XL Bully dogs

The government has announced plans to ban the breed of dog known as the XL Bully under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act. 

This ban will come into effect on 1 January 2024.

What this means

The ban does not necessarily mean that you must give your dog up.  

You may be able to keep your dog for the duration of its life, but you must obtain an exemption certificate and have your dog entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs.

There will be a transition period, which is now open and runs until 31 January 2024. During this time owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply for a Certificate of Exemption.

How to prepare for the ban

Defra has provided additional guidance on how to prepare for the ban.


Alternatively, owners who choose to have their dog put to sleep can apply for compensation.

Further details on how to apply for compensation.

The XL Bully

The type of dog known as the XL Bully is not a recognised breed - it is a cross breed containing a number of different breed types.

The government definition of the dog is quite broad and may include breed types whose owners have not realised includes their dog.

We do not have the authority or responsibility to determine individual dogs breed type and whether it matches the definition.

The government expect individual dog owners to be aware of the definition and to make appropriate decisions on their dogs based on whether they believe that their dog meets the definition or not.  

Government definition

The government has published its definition of an XL Bully dog.

Dog abandonment

If you decide not to keep your dog, under no circumstances should you abandon it.

Your dog would become confused, frightened, and anxious if abandoned and may pose a serious risk to the safety of the public. 

Abandoning a dog is a criminal offence with significant penalties which can include imprisonment.

Advice and guidance

Many animal charities have provided guidance for owners:

Some dog charities and welfare organisations can help owners of XL Bully dogs by taking in their unwanted pets.

However, there is often a waiting list so if this is something you are considering you should act quickly and contact one or more of the charities listed above, or other dog rescue centres.