Animal care and control

XL Bully dogs and banned breeds of dogs

In the UK, it's against the law to own certain types of dog.

Banned breeds of dog include:

  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Pit Bull Terrier

XL Bully dogs are banned in England and Wales.

It's also against the law to:

  • sell a banned dog
  • abandon a banned dog
  • give away a banned dog
  • breed from a banned dog

For more details, go to GOV.UK: Banned dogs.

XL Bully dogs

From 31 December 2023 it is illegal to breed, sell, exchange, advertise, rehome, give away or abandon an XL Bully dog, or allow an XL Bully dog to stray.

For more information, go to GOV.UK: XL Bully dogs.

XL Bully dogs must be on lead when in public and muzzled when in public or a vehicle. For advice on using muzzles, go to Blue Cross, Dogs Trust or People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).

To check whether your dog is an XL Bully, go to GOV.UK: Check if a dog is an XL Bully.

If you're not sure whether your dog is a XL Bully or whether any puppies you own may grow up to be this type of dog, you must comply with legal requirements for XL Bully dogs.

From 1 February 2024 it is a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales unless the owner has a Certificate of Exemption.

Applications for a Certificate of Exemption must have been made before 1 February 2024 – go to GOV.UK: Certificate of Exemption to keep an XL Bully dog.

Licensed businesses are still allowed to provide kennelling, home boarding and day care services for XL Bully dogs if they wish to do so. If you own an XL Bully dog and wish to use these services, you should make sure the business is aware that your dog is a prohibited breed type. You should show them your Certificate of Exemption and provide all relevant information.

Owners who choose to have their dog put to sleep can apply for compensation. Go to GOV.UK: Claim compensation for an XL Bully dog.

Council tenants with XL Bully dogs

We will not evict council tenants simply for owning an XL Bully.

Our tenancy agreement does not, and will not, give consent for any type of banned dog to be kept in a council tenant's home. However, it is possible to keep an XL Bully if you comply with the law.

If you are a council tenant and wish to continue keeping an XL Bully in your home, you must:

  • successfully apply for an exemption from GOV.UK: Certificate of Exemption to keep an XL Bully dog before 1 February 2024
  • pay a fee to the government for each dog you want to keep
  • get third-party public liability insurance for your dog
  • provide copies of your Certificate of Exemption and insurance documents to your Tenancy Management Officer, and get their permission to continue keeping the dog in your home

Under our tenancy agreement, all tenants with pets must be responsible pet owners and minimise any problems the pets may cause to other tenants or neighbours.

If a tenant does not comply with the law on XL Bully dogs, either in getting an exemption or in the way they walk their dog in public, the police will be informed and legal action will be taken.

Reporting banned dogs

If you think someone has a banned dog or is breeding banned dogs, you should report it to Essex Police. You can also report dogs out of control in public places, and find out what to do in cases of animal cruelty or threats to animals. Go to Essex Police: animal crime.