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XL Bully Owners in our Community

As you will likely be aware, the UK has recently introduced new legislation concerning XL Bullies, aiming to ensure the responsible ownership and management of this specific breed.

While the RSPCA will continue to campaign and raise concerns around breed specific legislation, we are also here to signpost our community to the most helpful resources and information concerning the new government ruling. 

As a responsible owner of an XL Bully, it's crucial to stay informed and comply with the new guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of both your dog. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the new legislation and offer valuable resources for owners seeking more information.

Understanding the Legislation

The legislation surrounding XL Bullies in the UK is designed to address specific concerns related to the breed. To understand more about the physical markers now given as guidelines on how to identify an XL Bully, you must visit the official government page, here.

We have received a few queries from concerned dog owners who are unsure whether they need to register for exemption or not - stating that their dog is classed as a different breed, but meets all the physical traits listed on the site. As a branch, we are unable to advise you any further on the criteria outlined by the government. If you are concerned, and unsure what to do, please contact DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), who may be able to offer more advice and guidance: 03459 33 55 77

Exemption Registration & Laws

Owners of XL Bullies are now required to follow certain guidelines to ensure compliance with the law. The first is to apply for a certificate of exemption. If you are the owner of an XL Bully, and you would like to apply for a certificate, you must do this before the deadline: the 31st of January 2024. You can do this, here.

Third-Party Insurance

You will also need to obtain third-party insurance for your XL Bully. This type of insurance is crucial to cover any potential incidents involving your dog and provides financial protection for both you and affected parties. You may be able to find more information about insurance options via websites like The Dogs Trust.


If your dog is less than 1 year old on the 31st of January 2024, you must ensure that they are neutered by the 31st of December 2024. If your XL Bully is older than 1 year old on the 31st of January 2024, they must be neutered no later than the 30th of June 2024.

Muzzle Training

As the new law comes into play, all owned and registered XL Bullies will need to be muzzled and kept on a lead in any and all public spaces. Prepare as early as you can. We advise that you seek professional, behavioural advice on muzzle training for your XL Bully if you have not had any previous experience. 

You may find it helpful to research muzzle training videos online, provided by reputable animal charities and organisations. 

Financial Assistance

If you are an XL Bully owner who lives within our branch area (Sunderland, Hartlepool & South Tyneside), are on low income (means tested benefits: council tax or housing benefit), and can show evidence of payment for your exception certificate, you may be eligible to qualify for financial assistance towards the cost of your dog’s neuter. To apply, visit:

For the latest updates and detailed information about any of the above, always refer to official government resources and seek professional advice from qualified behaviourists and trainers.

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