At the end of 2023, new restrictions on XL Bully dogs were put in place by the UK Government. It is now a legal requirement for all XL Bully dogs to be kept muzzled and on a lead in public. It is also illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon, or let XL Bully dogs stray.
We are reminding our residents who own XL Bully dogs that you must apply for a Certificate of Exemption by midday on January 31st, 2024.
What is an XL Bully dog?
A suspected XL Bully breed type does not need to fit the physical description perfectly. If your dog meets the minimum height measurements and a substantial number of these characteristics, it could be considered an XL Bully breed type. This includes:
- if it was not sold as an XL Bully
- cross breeds that look more like XL Bully dogs than any other type of dog.
Will my dog be classed as an XL Bully?
The UK Government has created its own specifications for the breed, which includes the size of their head and muzzle, their build, and the height and length of their body. Breed name, genetics and parentage are not considered.
The government classes an XL Bully as ‘a large dog with a muscular body and blocky head, suggesting great strength and power for its size. A powerfully built dog.’ An adult male dog from 20in at the withers, or an adult female from 19in at the withers.
Blue Cross UK has created a video guide on how to measure your dog’s height from the ground to the withers.
I own an XL Bully dog. What do I need to do?
You’ll need to apply to the government’s exemption scheme and pay for a certificate of exemption which will cost £92.40 before midday on 31st January 2024. You will also need to make sure:
- your dog is microchipped and neutered
- they are kept on a lead and muzzled in a public place, including in cars
- they are kept in a secure place so they cannot escape
- you have third party public liability insurance cover for your dog
You can apply for the exemption scheme here.
I rent with United Welsh and own an XL Bully dog. What does this mean for me?
We know this may be a worrying and upsetting time for owners whose dogs are affected by this new legislation.
Under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act, we consider all requests for dogs. If you want to make a request for a pet to reside with you, please use the TED app.
With XL Bully dogs specifically, you will need to provide the documentation (Certificate of Exemption and proof of insurance) mentioned above, with your request. If you don’t provide the required documents, we cannot consider your request.
If you already own an XL Bully dog and don’t have the required documentation, you will not be permitted to keep the dog, so please make sure you apply for the exemption scheme.
If you live in one of our Living Well properties, any dogs listed in the Dangerous Dog Act (including XL Bully dogs) are not permitted.
Timeline of ban
- 31st October 2023: XL Bully dogs added to the Dangerous Dogs Act
- 31st December 2023: It became illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL Bully dogs stray. All XL Bully dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.
- 1st February 2024: All XL Bully dogs must be registered, microchipped and neutered. Owners must have third party public liability insurance cover for XL Bully dogs
- 1 February 2024: it will become illegal to own an XL bully type dog if you are not registered on the Index of Exempted dogs. Owners must also have third party public liability insurance in place, and dogs must be microchipped and neutered (unless they’re too young, see other dates below).
- 31 March 2024: deadline to have your dog microchipped and give the microchip number to Defra, if your dog was less than eight weeks old when you applied for a Certificate of Exemption.
- 30 June 2024: deadline to have your dog neutered and give evidence to Defra, if your dog was more than one year old on 31 January 2024.
- 31 December 2024: deadline to have your dog neutered and give evidence to Defra, if your dog was less than one year old on 31 January 2024.