The XL bully ban explained…

The UK Government has officially announced the inclusion of XL bully dogs in the list of banned breeds in England and Wales as of 31st December 2023.

At The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home, we are dedicated to the well-being and safety of all animals. This news has had a significant impact on those who have embraced XL bully breeds as loving companions and we empathise deeply with all those affected.

CDCH does not agree with breed-specific legislation, however, we must comply with the law and we are here to support our XL bully community.

What should I do if I suspect my pet is an XL bully type?


XL bullies are crossbreeds and there are currently no exact specifications for this type of dog. The government has therefore created its own specifications for the breed, which include the size of their head and muzzle, their build, and the height and length of their body. Breed name, genetics, and parentage are not considered.


A suspected XL bully breed type does not need to fit the physical description perfectly. If your dog meets the minimum height measurements and a substantial number of the characteristics in the official definition, it could be considered an XL bully breed type.

You can read more information about the definition of an XL bully type on the GOV UK website HERE. 

  • Apply for the exemption scheme on the GOV UK website by January 31st 2024.

         This can be done HERE.

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped, with the correct keeper details, and registered to your current address.

If you are unsure if your dog’s microchip details are up to date or unsure of the chip number, take your dog somewhere they can be scanned (such as a vet or here at CDCH). A veterinary practice or CDCH will be able to provide you with the information you need to register your pet for exemption.

  •  Your pet must be neutered

 You will need to ask your vet for proof of neutering. This then needs to be submitted on the GOV UK website HERE

  • · Your dog must be kept on a lead and muzzle in all public places, including your car.

CDCH has put together a useful muzzle training guide which you can find HERE 

We would only advise using the Baskerville ultra muzzles as they allow for panting, drinking, and treating through them.

  • · Your pet must be kept in a secure place where they are safe from escape.

For example, if your dog has access to your garden, your garden must be fully secured.

  • · You must have third-party public liability insurance.

You can obtain public liability insurance with Dogs Trust HERE

Key Dates


31 December 2023 – XL bullies will need to be kept on a lead and muzzle in public.

All XL bullies will need to be microchipped and the keeper details be accurate and up to date. It will be illegal to sell or rehome an XL bully.


31 January 2024 – You will need to apply for an exemption on the GOV UK website.

You will also need public liability insurance.


30 June 2024 – The deadline for submitting proof of neutering to GOV UK if your dog is older than 1 year on 31 January 2024 


31 December 2024 – The deadline for submitting proof of neutering to GOV UK if your dog is younger than 1 year on 31 January 2024

CDCH would like to offer support to anyone who has a dog they believe to be affected by the XL bully ban.

This will include support with the exemption process, appropriate muzzle fittings, muzzle training, loose-lead walking and more.

More details can be found HERE or by speaking to our team on 01453 890014.

We are also providing financial support for eligible persons through our low-cost veterinary clinic whose pets may be affected by the ban. For more information on how to access this support, please click HERE.


Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have. We are here to assist you and your companions however we can.

Rehoming XL bullies


Unfortunately, we are currently not taking in XL bullies for rehoming. We believe that the likelihood of finding a new home for them by December 31st is minimal. Keeping a dog in rescue during its final weeks is not in the best interest of their welfare.

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