XL American Bulldogs have been banned in England and Wales, with restrictions now in place for the dogs.

The dogs have now been added to the banned breeds list in the Dangerous Dogs Act in England and Wales, where breeding, selling, advertising and rehoming XL Bullies was made illegal from December 31, 2023. 

And it will become illegal to own an XL Bully from February 1, 2024, in England and Wales if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs. 

It comes after the breed has been linked to a series of fatal attacks on humans.  But where does that leave XL Bullies in Scotland?

Are XL Bullies banned in Scotland?

The Herald: An American XL Bully dogAn American XL Bully dog (Image: PA)

XL Bullies are not currently banned in Scotland. The ban has only come into effect in England and Wales. 

However, the Scottish Government has been urged to "stop dragging [its] heels" on the issue. 

Conservative MSP Jamie Greene told the Herald: "The UK Government’s swift action to ban dangerous XL bully dogs is welcome in light a spate of horrific fatalities.

Read more: SNP urged to act as XL Bully dogs are banned in England and Wales

“The SNP Government need to stop dragging their heels on this issue. Ministers must confirm if – and when – they will be following the UK Government in banning these dogs, to give Scots the reassurance they need.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said it is "carefully considering the evidence" as to whether changes to ban the XL Bully dogs and breed will be applied in Scotland.

Previously when asked about the subject, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “We have not made a firm decision yet.”

What is the advice to XL Bully owners in Scotland?

The Dogs Trust told XL Bully owners in Scotland to "stay calm" and not panic, and is advising people not to surrender theses breeds to rescue centres.

The charity said it has suspended its intake of XL Bully rescues while awaiting an update from the Scottish Government.

A spokesperson said: "At Dogs Trust we are urging American Bully XL owners in Scotland to stay calm and not panic.

"We believe the best place for a dog is at home with their family. Until the Scottish Government announces any changes to the law in Scotland, we have made the difficult decision to pause the intake of dogs suspected to be an American Bully XL-type into our rehoming centres.

"Taking a dog that could potentially be typed as an American Bully XL into our kennels may be detrimental to the dog’s future as, if a ban is announced in Scotland, we may be unable to own or transfer ownership of these dogs."

Dogs Trust is providing behaviour advice to XL Bully owners through its Behaviour Support Line and has further information on its website.

What has the SSPCA said about XL Bullies?

The Herald: Aliza Jamil, 10, holds her four-month-old XL bully Stormi, during a protest against banning the breed Aliza Jamil, 10, holds her four-month-old XL bully Stormi, during a protest against banning the breed (Image: PA)

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has released a statement as part of the Dog Control Coalition which has criticised the UK Government's approach. 

It said: "The Dog Control Coalition agrees that urgent action needs to be taken to protect the public from out-of-control dogs, but we are disappointed that the Government hasn’t taken the opportunity to completely overhaul the Dangerous Dogs Act.

"With its continued focus on specific breeds, rather than a focus on prevention and implementation of tougher penalties for those owners not in control of their dogs, it is not fit for purpose."

Read more: American XL Bully breed to be banned from December

The organisation said it had "serious concerns" about the "very short amount of time" owners will have to comply with the new rules to muzzle, neuter, register and insure their XL Bullies.

It also raised concerns about Defra's new definition of the American Bully XL breed, which it said is "hugely subjective" and "open to interpretation". 

The Dog Control Coalition said: "There is currently no clear understanding of how many tens of thousands of dogs could be fall within this breed specification, and we urge the Government to ensure that the teams responsible for enforcing this law - the police and local authorities - have the resources and training they need before the ban begins to avoid any more dogs than absolutely necessary from being caught up in this. "

The Dog Control Coalition comprises Battersea, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA and Hope Rescue.