XL Bulldogs are set to be banned in Scotland as new restrictions have been announced by the Scottish Government.  

It will soon be an offence to own one of the dogs, also known as XL Bullies, without registering it. 

Humza Yousaf announced Scotland would be following England and Wales in implementing the new rules after reports of XL Bullies being brought across the Border.

Read more: Woman helps rescue more than 30 XL Bullies before ban

It comes after the dogs have been linked to a number of attacks on humans, including a kennel manager in Dundee who was killed while trying to restrain one.

But the ban, which is subject to approval by Scottish Parliament, has been criticised by animal welfare organisations like the Scottish SPCA, which said "banning dogs because of the way they look isn’t the answer". 

When are XL Bullies being banned in Scotland?

From February 23, 2024, the selling, gifting, and exchanging of XL Bully dogs will be made illegal in Scotland. 

On that date, owners of XL bullies must ensure their dogs are muzzled and on a lead in public places. 

And from July 31, 2024, it will be an offence to own an XL Bully without an exemption certificate, so owners will have to apply and pay for one by that date. 

The Scottish Government said full details on how to apply for an exemption certificate will be published in the coming weeks. 

What is the penalty for breaking the new XL Bully rules?

Owners who break the new rules once they come into force will face up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000 if they are found guilty in court

What is the definition of an XL Bully?

The Herald: A UK Government example of an XL Bully dogA UK Government example of an XL Bully dog (Image: UK Government)

As XL Bullies are not an officially recognised dog breed, Scotland will use the UK Government's definition of an XL Bully to enforce the new rules. 

They are described as a large dog with a muscular body and blocky head, "suggesting great strength and power for its size". 

The "powerfully built individual" will measure 20in (51cm) at the withers for a male and 19in (48cm) at the withers for a female. 

Will XL Bullies which are seized be put down?

The Scottish Government has not yet confirmed what will happen to XL Bullies which break the new rules in Scotland. 

However, dogs which are seized in England and Wales will be taken to kennels before a court decides if they should be either put down or deemed not a danger to the public. 

People with dangerously out of control dogs can be jailed for up to 14 years and banned from owning animals, and their pets can be destroyed.

The Scottish SPCA has said any XL Bullies in their care after the 23 February rehoming deadline will face being put to sleep rather than spend a lifetime in kennels.