Discover Why the UK Is Set to Ban American Bully XL Dogs

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: September 25, 2023
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United Kingdom Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has made an important announcement regarding a breed of dog known as American Bully XL. In an official statement, he described the breed as a ‘danger’ to communities and especially to children. Dog owners in the UK already have a legal responsibility to keep their dogs under control. However, the government has concluded that the current legislation is not sufficient to control the risks presented by this breed. The American Bully XL is not currently a legally defined breed in the UK. Therefore, the first step will be to bring experts together to produce an official breed definition so that the correct dogs can be identified. Then, they will be outlawed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The plan is for this to happen by the end of 2023.

What Exactly Are American Bully XL Dogs?

Dogs described as American Bully XL dogs, or American XL Bullies as they are normally referred to in the UK, are a new breed of dog. They are very courageous guard dogs and can make excellent family pets. The breed originated in the United States in the 1980s. They were created by combining American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and American bulldogs. American Pit Bull Terriers have been banned in the UK since 1991.

The aim was to produce a stocky muscular dog with an affectionate personality. These dogs have short coats and come in a range of colors including black, brown, gray, and fawn. Some adults can weigh as much as 110 pounds. They have an exceptionally strong bite.

The breed was introduced into the UK around 2014 and their popularity has soared. There is no official data on how many of these dogs currently live in the UK. Nevertheless, it is thought to be in the thousands.

Why Are American Bully Dogs Being Banned?

This question is being fiercely debated in the UK right now. The government is taking the proposed action because there were six fatal attacks involving the breed in the last year. There have been another three so far this year. Campaign groups and individuals who believe that the breed is inherently dangerous have been calling for this action for many months. The sheer strength of the dog’s bite means that any attack is likely to be very serious. They argue that this is reason enough to ban them.

On the other side of the debate are several welfare charities and breed enthusiasts who claim that the entire breed should not be blamed for the actions of a few irresponsible owners. Breeding these dogs has turned into a highly lucrative business opportunity. This has sadly encouraged irresponsible breeding, rearing, and ownership.

Only time will tell if the ban will be effective at eliminating American Bully attacks. The experience of the banned Pit Bull Terriers shows that they are still responsible for a high proportion of dog attacks in the UK. There are also concerns that new breeds will be introduced as a result of the ban which could also present a danger to the public.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Liudmila Bohush/

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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