XL Bullies  

2nd November 2023

The recent government announcement about the banning of XL Bullies has caused many dog owners to worry about what will happen to their much-loved pets. At Oak Tree we have had many questions asking what an XL Bully is, whether a particular dog is an XL Bully type and what people should do if they have one.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, but we are asking owners not to panic and make knee-jerk decisions. Sadly, an owner was so overwhelmed they left their XL Bully tied to our gate when we were closed. They were obviously a loved pet as a substantial food treat was left with them. We are grateful to the quick-thinking passer-by who spotted the stressed dog who had eaten through his lead and was loose on the road and contacted the dog warden for help. Oak Tree would like to reiterate that abandoning a dog is not the answer in this situation and is an offence. We have a duty of care to our adopters and, with the planned Government changes in legislation to ban the American XL Bully in 2024 under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, Oak Tree is reluctantly no longer able to accept for intake, or rehome American XL Bully types. However, we recognise that many XL Bully owners are concerned about what the ban may mean for their much-loved pet. 

For those who own an XL Bully, our colleagues in Dogs Trust have created a helpful webpage which they will keep updated as the situation develops, here. 

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 husbandry. Breed alone is not the issue. 

Oak Tree can offer advice and guidance regarding the exemption process, muzzle training and limited neutering support to owners in need. Please contact ask@oaktreeanimals.org.uk for more information and advice if you are affected by this and would like some support.

XL Bullies

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