XL Bullies

DEFRA Banning effective 31st December 2023

XL Bullies

Following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully dogs, the government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. 

To help current owners adapt to the new laws, these changes will come into force in 2 stages.

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

  • sell an XL Bully dog
  • abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray
  • give away an XL Bully dog
  • breed from an XL Bully dog
  • have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a Certificate of Exemption.

This has caused worry to many dog owners asking what will happen to their pets. Many questions are being asked, what is an XL Bully, whether a particular dog is an XL Bully type and what people should do if they have one.  Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.  We are asking owners not to panic and make knee-jerk decisions. We would like to reiterate that abandoning a dog is not the answer in this situation and is an offence. With the planned Government changes in legislation to ban the American XL Bully in 2024 under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, Animal Concern Cumbria is reluctantly no longer able to accept for intake, or rehome American XL Bully types. 

We understand that many people are worried about personal safety given the increased number of high-profile dog attacks and our thoughts are with those who have suffered bites. However, there are many factors that can cause a dog to bite including training, breeding and care. Breed alone is not the issue. 

Advice and guidance regarding muzzle training can be given by the team.  Please contact them on accanimalteam@animalconcerncumbria.org or call 07712 338029. 

Cumberland Council Enforcement Team for any concerns regarding abandonment or stray XL Bully types call 01946 598300 or email

Further information can be found at: