XL bully, Luna, on a sofa chair looking very cute

Contact your MP about the XL bully ban

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The government has added XL bully types to the list of banned dangerous dogs. It's now illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon or allow XL bully type dogs to stray in England and Wales. You should also have a certificate of exemption from the government and comply with additional restrictions including keeping them on a lead and muzzled in public, having them neutered and having third party liability insurance.

Scotland has also announced that they’ll bring in a ban from 23 February 2024 at which point dogs will have to be on a lead and muzzled in public with a ban on breeding from, selling, exchanging or acquiring an XL bully. Scottish XL bully type owners will then have until 31 July 2024 to apply for a certificate of exemption for their dog. Northern Ireland has not yet announced a ban, but it is likely that they will in the future.

Blue Cross is extremely concerned that this legislation has been rushed through and will have a negative impact on XL bullies, pet owners, the veterinary sector, and the rehoming sector, without meaningfully addressing the causes of dog aggression.

More about the ban

Vet capacity

The veterinary profession is already under incredible pressure, with a chronic lack of trained veterinary professionals. It is unrealistic to ask charities and private vets to neuter tens of thousands of dogs in such a short timeframe alongside their regular and emergency work.

Blue Cross is urging the government to reconsider the timeframe for neutering of dogs being added to the register.


Advice is also urgently needed from government as to how owners are supposed to identify if their dog is an XL bully type. Although the government has released specifications on XL bully type dogs, they recommend taking a precautionary approach. This creates stress and uncertainty for many owners who are unsure what this means for them and their pet.

Additional information, such as who owners should contact if they are unsure their dog meets the breed specification, needs to be provided. This failure to provide adequate information is causing additional worry to many owners what is already an extremely difficult and upsetting time.

Pressures on the rehoming and rescue sector

Golden XL bully, Luna, waiting on lead for her walk
XL bully, Luna, preparing for her walk

Blue Cross is extremely worried about the impact this law is going to have on the rescue and rehoming sector. Since the end of 2023, we are no longer allowed to rehome XL bully type dogs.

We are now in the position of having to put to sleep healthy animals based purely on the way they look. We are asking the government to allow us to rehome XL bully type dogs that have passed our strict and robust behaviour assessments. We want to these dogs to have a chance at life.

Take action

We know that many XL bully type owners and animal lovers in general share our concerns and are encouraging supporters to contact their MP.

Contact your MP

— Page last updated 11/03/2024