XL Bully owners gather for walk in Margate as new rules due to come into force

XL Bully type dog owners gathered for the Margate walk today Photo Laura Sullivan

Dog owners gathered for a walk along Margate prom today (December 30) ahead of  tomorrow’s second stage of rules related to XL Bully’s being added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Paws4Play Thanet organised the walk which was aimed at coinciding with the last day the dogs could be out without a muzzle – those already exempted were required under the rules to be muzzled.

Photo Laura Sullivan

Around 30 dogs were brought to the walk, all on leads, with people coming from across Kent and participants from Camber Sands and London.

Laura Sullivan, who joined the walk, said all dogs were well-behaved and added that the walk highlighted how many different types of dogs fell under the new rules.

The XL Bully ownership rules come into force in three stages. The announcement for the first stage occurred on 31 October 2023, and the second and third stages take effect on 31 December 2023 and 1 February 2024.

Photo Laura Sullivan

The UK Government has put together official guidance to help define what an XL Bully dog is, which involves checking the dog’s physical characteristics to determine if they fit the type.

Some of the characteristics mentioned include but are not limited to:

A large dog with a muscular body and blocky head.

Height of males from 20in (51cm) and height of females from 19in (48cm).

Heavily muscled body with a broad, deep chest with well-sprung ribs.

For the full list of characteristics, read the UK Government’s official guidance here.

Photo Laura Sullivan

Following the ban announcement on October 31, applications for exemption certificates for XL Bully owners began. Owners have until 31 January 2024 to apply for a Certificate of Exemption to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

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From tomorrow, breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing an American Bully XL dog to stray will be illegal. From this date, the dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

From 1 February 2024, it will then become illegal to own an American Bully XL dog if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Find out how to apply for a Certificate of Exemption on Defra’s website.

There are now five dog types banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which include Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro and XL Bully.

The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) says: “PDSA’s position on the Dangerous Dogs Act remains unchanged – breed specific legislation is ineffective because it has not resulted in a reduction of dog bites or human deaths.

“Whilst we agree urgent action is needed to protect the public from dangerous dogs, we’re disappointed the Government are pushing ahead with breed specific legislation.

“We’d like to see the Government focus on much needed extensive reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act, as we do not believe that adding ‘XL Bully’ dogs to the list of banned breeds will be an effective way of protecting the public.”

Information source PDSA and Dogs Trust


  1. Loving the pics of dogs with illegally cropped ears….suppose that was done “by a previous owner”…another example of how illegality is allowed to go unchecked in our wonderful country. And before you start, I have no problem with XL bullies. I’m a bulldog breed owner. I just don’t like the cruelty of ear cropping for aesthetic value which is purely to inflate owners egos. Have a lovely Xmas and happy new year!

  2. i wonder how many were called ” tyson ” ?, people will never learn these things were developed for one reason , personaly i would not want to be any where near one , however friendly , loving , cuddly he is , as he tries to rip someone to bits

  3. Good for them. I think they need to walk in groups from now on. The vile heartless people who have no regard or empathy for the innocent. They are no better than the back street breeders and the owners who use these dogs and abuse them. Ban the bad owners and back street breeders. Also all XL owners need to carry cameras now. Report the scum who try to intimidate innocent people! They haven’t the balls to target the real culprits! They are no better themselves!!

  4. Not such a good advert for the new Shoreditch-by-Sea, arty farty Margate, showing its true colours by this group of dogs and people.

  5. It’s unfair that always the dogs at fault when the truth is that it’s always the owner. German shepherd dogs were once classed as dangerous but that’s not true.owners are responsible for their animals and that’s were it should end

    • Doesn’t do you much good saying the owners are responsible when you are being savaged though does it? These dogs are bred to kill, they aren’t pets, or babysitters for your kids.

      Even the 18 stone steroid meatheads who have them for protection from rival drug dealers/to look hard cannot control them, let along 5 foot 4 inch, 8 stone women.

      Of course it would take nothing to muzzle them in public, but these people insist on them being able to maul people instead. Like saying that guns don’t kill people but other people do. Well if they didn’t have the gun & bullets they wouldn’t be shooting others would they?

    • Chris, you are right, some years ago I was walking down Broadstairs High Street when a Staffordshire Bull Terrier suddenly shot across the road and grabbed a tiny Poodle by the neck in its jaws! It was shaking the poodle violently, until a lady from a nearby hairdressers had the good sense to throw a jug of water into the Staffy’s face! The owner of the Staffy, bare chested, didn’t have it under control, like so many others. The year before last some 22,000 people needed hospital treatment from dog attacks, but if anyone reported someone who had a possible dangerous dog to the police, they would take no action!

      I am a former RSPCA Trustee, and its the police who are at fault for not enforcing the Animal Welfare Act that cause many dog attacks, if someone reports a possible dangerous dog! They often refer people to the RSPCA but the RSPCA are NOT a branch of the police, they are a charity, and are not obliged to take action, and frequently do not, and they are not publicly accountable!

      I reported someone to the police who were ill treating 4 Rhodesian Ridgeback Dogs they were keeping confined inside a 2 bed semi-detached bungalow, and they took no action, despite the owners having a small child! In another case after a couple killed their 3 month old baby, and who were out on bail, I reported they were ill treating a Staffy, which could be heard crying, barking, whimpering, and again the police took no notice, and the couple had 2 other toddlers! I despair!

  6. @ Local hero. Why do you assume all these dogs are from Margate. Have you not thought that people might have travelled from neighbouring villages for the walk today.

  7. And just too add I do not support thee breed in any way. Having witnessed a person being ripped to shred by one of these digs earlier this year and providing first aid to the poor guy whose ear was half ripped off I am pleased for these laws are coming into affect as the incident has left me rather traumatised. As to whether the police will be able to police or control I do not know?

  8. Absolutely disgusting comments left on such a lovely gesture! Some people genuinely love their dogs regardless of their breed and see them as their child/family.
    I think the government has gone backwards in tarnishing all by the actions of some.
    We aren’t allowed to categorise people for so many reasons, are taught to allow others chances if they’ve changed, but show zero tolerance to an animal because of its breed.
    This is just sad! And heartbreaking that these strong athletes of a breed will never know what it’s like to roam freely, and feel accomplished.
    They should of ruled to make owners license the dogs, and if the owner doesn’t pass then implement more drastic measures.

    • This is part of the problem – people treating their dog like a child or baby – even to the extent of referring to it as ”my baby” or my ”fur baby”.

      I have read posts from people saying they have ”lost their baby” – and I assumed they were referring to a child rather than an animal.

      Any breed or size of dog can be a problem if not properly controlled and trained.

    • They have roamed freely & mauled people to death or caused life changing injuries. All people needed to do in reality was muzzle them-they refused to, so no it is going to be enforced to protect the public from them.

      This applies not only to these XL Bullies, but Chitbulls, Akitas & any other mammoth slobbering, snarling mass of muscle dog-that sees everybody as a potential threat & prey.

      There have only been four breeds of dog outlawed until now, but the reality is it makes no difference what it is when it locks on your flesh, only experts can tell the difference & even then often not, due to the amount of cross-breeding going on. Nobody can fight these things off & we need protecting from them. I certainly don’t fear most of the dogs out there, but these things scare the life out of me.

    • Your comment made me giggle. I do have a warped sense of humour. However a dog is a dog. I have owned 3 now of different breeds. From large to small. One thing I make quite clear is that all dogs can be dodgy. I never treat them as part of the family. They are a dog that lives with us. I train them properly with a dog trainer and it does make you absolutely responsible for the dogs actions. The idea that dogs are safe is rubbish. All dogs and owners should go to training as part of owning by law in my opinion. No doubt this will annoy some but think before you buy a dog. What do you really want from it. It is not a toy. I never trust any dog to be good.

  9. And the UK’s firearm laws are among the most restrictive in the world, but it hasn’t really dealt with the problem of firearm crime, the criminally minded won’t pay attention to laws be it regarding guns, dogs, motoring offences.
    But rather than deal with those that do transgress sufficiently severely to act as a real deterrent , we’ll listen to the bleeding hearts that come up with excuses for bad behaviour and choose to legislate the law abiding majority ever more.
    Nothing will change that mould has set.

  10. I own a xl bully and if any dog is trained properly then are no threat what about rottweilers and also even a jack Russell can be aggressive so like I say any dog can be a threat and don’t agree with anyone that says anything different

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