American XL Bullys: What dog breeds are banned in the UK and why the Bully could soon join them

The British Home Secretary has become the latest to express concern about the dog breed.

Suella Braverman has said she is seeking advice on a potential ban on American Bully dogs, following a video being shared online of a dog attacking an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham.

The girl is recovering after spending a night in hospital, while two men who came to her aid were also bitten.

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American Bullys have been responsible for over half of all deaths caused by dog attacks in the UK since 2021.

In January a 28-year-old dog walker was killed by her pet in Surrey, while a 37-year-old dog carer also lost his life in Leigh, near Manchester, in May, leading to police to seize 15 dogs from two houses.

John Hayes, the MP for South Holland and the Deepings, has been campaigning for a ban since June.

Here's everything you need to know about the American Bully and how dog breeds are banned in the UK.

What has Suella Braverman said about American XL Bullys?

Ms Braverman wrote on X: "This is appalling. The American XL bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children. We can't go on like this. I have commissioned urgent advice on banning them."

What is a American XL Bully?

The American Bully is a modern breed of dog, with the XL variant bred to be larger than average. They were first bred in the 1980s from American Pit Bull Terriers, with the aim to create a stockier and stronger dog using other breeds such as Bulldogs. They are recognised as a breed by a number of organisations including the American Bully Kennel Club, the European Bully Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. They are not recognised as a distinct breed by either the American or UK Kennel Clubs.

Are American Bullys banned in other countries?

A number of countries have restrictions on the ownership of the breed, including in Ireland where they must be muzzled and kept on a lead no more than two metres.

Outright bans are in force in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates

What dogs are currently banned in the UK?

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A total of four breeds of dog are currently banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs act. The breeds are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

Who decides which dogs are banned?

Adding dogs to the banned list is the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It's been reported that Defra chiefs are concerned about the feasibility of banning the American Bully as it is not recognised as a distinct breed in the UK - hence it would be a challenge to define what constitutes a banned dog.

What happens to people who keep banned dogs?

The police have the power to confiscate a dog which is banned by the legislation, either in public or from a home after obtaining a warrant.

Experts will judge whether it is a banned breed and a danger to the public, with people found guilty of owning a banned breed subject to an umlimited fine and a jail sentence.

Are there exceptions to the law?

If an owner can prive the dog is not a danger to the public, it can be placed on the Index of Exempted Dogs and will be given a Certificate of Exemption. The exemption is only for the particular dog and lasts a lifetime. The dog will still need to be neutered, microchipped, kept on a lead, muzzled in public, and kept in a secure place it can't escape from.

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