It is now a criminal offence to own or possess an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless you have a valid Certification of Exemption.
You can now no longer apply for a Certification of Exemption unless authorised by a court order. Local Authorities cannot supply Certificates of Exemptions or assist with Court Orders.
The Government have now released an official definition of an XL Bully dog to identify if your dog may be an XL Bully. This involves checking the dog’s physical characteristics such as its size and height. Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website: Applying the XL Bully breed type conformation standard (publishing.service.gov.uk)
As of 1st February 2024 you must hold a Certification of Exemption for your dog. Your dog must be microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public and kept in a secure place so it may not escape.
Your dog must also be neutered. If your dog was under a year old on 31 January 2024, you have unti 31 December 2024 to have them neutered. If they were older than a year as of 31 January 2024 they must be neutered by 30 June 2024.
As an XL Bully owner you must also:
- Be over 16 years old
- Have valid insurance against your dog injuring other people
- Be able to show the Certification of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council officer, either at the time or within 5 days.
Official guidance and information on the XL Bully ban can be found on the GOV.UK website.
A number of animal charities are offering support and information for XL Bully owners, including:
Battersea Dogs Home
For further advise you can contact DEFRA via email.