XL Bully Ban: “Abuse”

We have previously written about the implications of the XL Bully ban for veterinary professionals, and how to navigate them.

A veterinary surgeon who trained in Europe and has been working within the UK for some time, said they felt the new rules regarding the ban of the XL Bully breed constitute “abuse”:

“I am extremely against the euthanasia of XL bully dogs.”

The upcoming ban – which will come into effect on 1 February 2024 across England and Wales – means that owning an XL bully dog will be illegal, unless owners apply for an exemption.

From our research, veterinary professionals are largely against euthanasia, unless there are other factors at play, such as the dog showing clear aggression.

“They are perfect, adorable, and kind animals,” our source went on to say. “As with people, you should never judge a dog by its appearance.”

Speaking about where accountability should fall in cases of violence and aggression, they said:

“It is always a matter of the owner, who often abuse [the dogs] to show how strong they are.”

When questioned about how other countries deal with similar instances, they said:

“Aggression in dogs is much higher in the UK. If British people cannot handle these breeds they should rehome or even export them. Ideally, they shouldn’t get them in the first place.”

Under the new rules, it has been illegal to sell, breed from, abandon, or give away an American Bully XL since 31 December 2023.

“I am highly against euthanasia, especially without a history of attacks, and even is this case I would try to rehabilitate the animal.”

Another vet, currently working in the South of England, agreed that they would not put XL bully dogs down unless they were aggressive.

“They are very friendly, lovely dogs. Its often the owners, or other dogs, who can cause problems.”

In relation to how veterinary practices are currently advising their staff, our source said:

“I’ve not had many practices saying to euthanise them, unless they are aggressive.

“It does depend where you are in the country. In some regions clients are more inclined to euthanise than others. The dogs can often also be in pain from their deformed bodies, caused by breeding these animals.”

The breed – an XL bully – is often visibly muscular and stocky, with strong, defined backs, hindquarters, and muzzles. This is often exacerbated by the way they are bred.

The rules mean owners must comply with certain measures before applying to be exempted from the ban. The rules include including microchipping, neutering, taking out insurance (including third party insurance), and muzzling their pet. A granted exemption would place the dog on Index of Exempted Dogs, for a fee paid for by the owner.

In contrast, the UK government is offering £200 compensation to owners for every XL bully dog that is euthanised.

There is no similar scheme to encourage neutering.

Battersea, Blue Cross, and the RSPCA recently announced plans to provide aid for owners to neuter their animals. The charities’ plan will allow for up to £250 to be provided towards the cost of neutering an eligible dog.


Gardener Llewelyn report on industry-related news and events in a neutral capacity. The goal of this is to inform industry stakeholders. Any views or quotations from guests or third-parties in our content do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation, its affiliates, or employees.