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RSPCA remind XL Bully owners to exempt dogs before deadline

15 Jan 2024 3 minute read
XL Bully dog

The RSPCA is reminding XL Bully owners in Wales who want to exempt their dogs under the new law that they have just two weeks left to apply online.

The UK Government has set a deadline of noon on Wednesday 31 January 2024 for online applications, and XL Bullies who have not been exempted by this date will be illegal to own and a criminal offence.

Owners of XL Bullies Wales and England can apply for exemption on the UK Government website.

There is a fee of £92.40 per dog and a requirement to have third party public liability insurance for banned breeds.

This type of insurance is available via the Dogs Trust companion club and information is on its website.


As part of the exemption process, XL Bully owners will also have to ensure:

  • The dog is neutered (the dates at which your dog needs to be neutered is dependent on their age and more information can be found on the UK Government website)

  • The dog is microchipped

  • Third party insurance is obtained

  • A certificate of exemption is issued

  • That the dog is kept at the same address as the registered keeper except for up to 30 days in 12 months

  • They notify the agency of any change of address

  • They notify the agency of the death or export of the dog

  • They keep the dog muzzled and on a lead when in a public place

  • They keep the dog in sufficiently secure conditions to prevent escape


A breach of any of these conditions will mean that the dog is no longer exempted and could be seized by police and put to sleep.

Dr Samantha Gaines, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “It is so important that if owners expect that their dog is an XL Bully that they start the exemption process as soon as possible.

“Although the first part of the ban came in on 31 December 2023 which includes the requirement for XL Bullies to be muzzled and on a lead in a public place, existing owners have until noon on 31 January to apply for the exemption which allows them to legally keep their dog so that they are safe. All details about how to do this are on the UK Government website.

“We’re urging XL Bully owners to start the exemption process now and not to leave it too late.

“Whilst there are ongoing legal challenges, we don’t know when these will take place or what the outcome will be but as it stands. From 1 February, XL Bully owners will need to have a certificate of exemption to legally keep them.”

If XL Bully owners do not have a certificate of exemption, their dog will be illegal which means that owners could get a criminal record, their dog could be seized, put to sleep and they could face an unlimited fine.


Dogs aged less than one year old by 31 January 2024 must also be neutered by 31 December 2024, and dogs older than one must be neutered by 30 June 2024.

The UK Government’s definition of the XL Bully can be found on its website.

The RSPCA is part of the Dog Control Coalition which does not agree with the ban on XL Bullies.

Behind the scenes, the Coalition has been working to lobby the governments in the UK to minimise the impact of this legislation on responsible dog owners, behaviourally sound dogs and on veterinary professionals and their teams.

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