The government recently announced that XL Bully dogs will be banned in England and Wales due to a rise in dog attacks over the last few years.

They will be added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

It means that soon the dogs must be muzzled in public and it will be illegal to breed, sell or abandon them.

Advertising, gifting and exchanging the dogs will also be banned, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

When does the XL Bully ban begin in England and Wales?

The ban will begin from Sunday, December 31, 2023.

The government has reminded owners that they can ask a vet to put their pets down and claim compensation.

Previously, chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “New legal restrictions for XL bullies are now less than a fortnight away.

“Owners should read the guidance and ensure they are ready to comply with the new rules, which includes keeping your XL bully dog muzzled and on a lead in public from 31 December.

“From 1 February 2024, it will also be a criminal offence to be in possession of an XL bully in England and Wales unless you have applied for an exemption.

“Please do not risk leaving it to the last minute if you want to keep your dog, you should apply now for a certificate of exemption.

“We recommend a precautionary approach – if you are unsure if your dog is an XL bully or whether any puppies may grow up to be of this dog type, you should comply with the relevant requirements and restrictions.”

Which dog breeds are banned in the UK?

Do you need a licence for an XL Bully in the UK?

The full ban will come into place on February 1, meaning owners have just less than six weeks left to apply for an exemption certificate to keep their dogs, or face potential criminal proceedings and an unlimited fine.

To qualify for an exemption certificate, owners must prove their XL bully has been neutered by June 30.

If the pup is less than a year old by January 31, they must neutered by the end of 2024, and evidence must be provided.

As well as neutering their animals, XL Bully owners seeking an exemption must also pay an application fee, hold active public liability insurance for their pets and ensure the dogs are microchipped.

You can find out how to apply for an exception certificate via the Blue Cross website.