UK: American XL bully dogs to be banned by end of year

American XL bully dogs will become a banned breed in the UK by the end of 2023, Rishi Sunak has announced.

It comes after a raft of reported attacks by the breed, which has so far included one fatality.

In a tweet on Friday the Prime Minister said: "It’s clear the American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities. "I’ve ordered urgent work to define and ban this breed so we can end these violent attacks and keep people safe."

He said in the short video clip: "The American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children.

"I share the nation's horror at the recent videos we've all seen. Yesterday, we saw another suspected XL Bully dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality.

"It's clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs. It's a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.

"While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control. I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.

"Today, I tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks with a view to outlawing it.

"It is not currently a breed defined in law. This is vital first to step must happen fast.

"We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year."

Last week the family of dog attack victims criticised the government for not doing enough in previous years about the breed.

Emma Whitfield’s son, Jack Lis, was attacked by a Bully XL dog named Beast in Caerphilly, South Wales, two years ago.

Writing on X, previously known as Twitter, Whitfield said: “It’s crazy how this video has gone viral and now politicians are coming out of the woodwork saying how bad it is.”

She went on to question why the government have not acted sooner to ban the breed, saying: “Where were you when my son was killed? Where were you when other innocent people were killed?

“Where were you when I was at parliament asking for change? Nowhere."

Brandon Hayden and Amy Salter were later jailed after admitting being in charge of the out-of-control dog that killed Jack.

In response to Whitfield, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford commented further on the situation. He stated how he met the police officers who attended after the attack on Jack to discuss what happened.

Drakeford reiterated his call for the breed to be banned and also questioned why the government has not acted sooner.

“I think the UK government should get on with it, and get on with it as fast as possible,” he told reporters at a Welsh government press conference.

“The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act is non-devolved and it’s in the hands of the UK government.

“I think they should have acted already, and I certainly think they need to act now.”

Concerns for the future

Adding the Bully XL to the banned list is the responsibility of Environment Secretary Therese Coffey’s department, where there are concerns over the feasibility of the move.

The dog, which is developed from the American pit bull terrier, is not a recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club.

It could be hard to define and some fear a ban could inadvertently outlaw a range of other dogs.

It is against the law to own, breed or sell dogs on the list drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

But it is also against the law to have a dog that is dangerously out of control, which can be punished by prison sentences and unlimited fines.