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  • Writer's pictureBecky Faulks

BREAKING NEWS Scotland to Replicate the UK Ban on XL bully dogs

The facts, the ban and what owners can do when facing these situations


The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will soon be a criminal offence to have an XL bully dog in Scotland unless it is on the exemption register. The ban, which is already in effect in England and Wales, also requires any XL bully dog to be on a lead and muzzled ta all times in a public place, including in a private car. It will be illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL bullies stray in Scotland.

Credit: stiv xyz/Pexels


Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent, Mike Flynn, said:


‘Today is a sad day. We are very disappointed that the Scottish Government has chosen to implement these “safeguards” in Scotland. As a responsible charity, we will of course comply with the Scottish Government’s decision, but we hope very much that they have learned from mistakes made by the UK Government in a number of areas. We are looking for workable, enforceable solutions.’


The Scottish ban comes after a contentious few months since the UK ban was announced in October, coming into effect on 31st December, 2023. Reactions from many of the public have included concern over the timescale, expense and process of exemption, and panic over whether they will be able to keep their pets. The police, in turn, have had worries over enforcing the law, and vets have been rushed off their feet neutering thousands of animals. There has also been heartbreak over the ban from professionals and owners alike, as rescue centres and vets have been forced to put down healthy animals, with some vets refusing to do so.


‘Through all of this, we welcome the Scottish Government’s decision to work with the SPCA and other key stakeholders to help with the implementation and uptake of these restrictions,’ Flynn continues. ‘We also want to reassure Scotland’s caring owners that we’ll support you in this journey as much as we’re able. We recognise that the Scottish Government feel that they have had little choice in implementing these “safeguards”, but we are concerned that these regulations are being rushed through.’


The Scottish Government has blamed the UK Government for not preventing XL bullies from being brought to Scotland from the rest of the UK in order to escape the ban. At the moment, the XL bully is the focus when it comes to public safeguarding, but the SPCA and the public have raised concerns that, the breed is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, the XL bully ban is part of a much wider issue.


‘We do not want to have the same conversation next year about plans to ban yet another type of dog,’ Flynn states. ‘Now is the time for change. Now is the time to tackle the root cause of these issues: irresponsible dog ownership, and irresponsible dog breeding.’



What owners can do


Whether UK-based or not, this report may well raise concerns for many responsible dog owners around the world, with some wondering whether theirs could be the next breed of dog to be targeted. So what steps should you take if your dog is facing a ban? The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home recommends:

  • Find out whether your dog meets the criteria listed on the government website by checking its physical characteristics.

  • Microchip it, muzzle it while out in public and keep it in a secure place so it cannot escape.

  • Arrange for it to be neutered as soon as possible.


The organisation also reminds owners that they must be over 16 years of age, take out insurance against their dog injuring other people, and be able to show a Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council warden, either at the time or within five days. In effect, owners should find out and closely follow the rules set out by the ban to ensure they and their dog have the best chance of being unaffected.



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