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American XL Bully: The Controversial Breed That the UK Wants to Ban

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Author: Jacob Kay

The American XL Bully has gained much popularity in recent years due to various celebrities and influencers. However, the breed is also controversial on the other hand as it is involved in many deadly incidents that have injured or even led to the death of humans as well as other animals.

american xl bully banned in the uk

Following the serious attacks by the dog breed, the UK government has announced that it will ban the breed by the end of the year. The news regarding the ban of the breed has been viral all over the media. But, what were those incidents and why does the government want to ban this breed? Let us explore some facts about the incidents that took place in the UK and the breed associated with it — American XL Bully: The controversial breed that the UK wants to ban.

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American XL Bully: Origin and Features

The American XL Bully is a cross-breed dog derived from the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. It was developed in the 1990s in the US and later introduced in the UK in about 2014. However, it is not officially recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club UK.

Some common features of American XL Bully are:

  • Large head with a wide muzzle
  • Powerful jaws
  • Short and glossy coat
  • Muscular body with a broad chest and a low-slung back
  • Height of 50 to 70 cm and a weight of 45 to 68 kg

Dangers and Aggression of American XL Bullies

The XL Bully has been a controversial breed all over the world due to many fatal incidents in the UK and other countries. Although aggression is not inherent to the breed, it can develop through improper training or socialization.[1] Moreover, due to the lack of recognition of the breed, there is no guarantee that the dogs are bred responsibly.

american xl bully

Some of the reasons why the breed can be dangerous are:

  • The breed has a strong prey drive and a high energy level that can make it chase and attack anything that moves.
  • The dog has a powerful bite force that can inflict serious injuries or even death on its victims.
  • It is stubborn and dominant, thus difficult to train and control.
  • It can be territorial and possessive and can react aggressively to strangers or intruders.
  • The dog can be influenced by its environment, upbringing and owner’s behaviour, making it more prone to aggression if it is abused, neglected or poorly socialized.

Ban on American XL Bullies in the UK

The recent horrific attacks by the American XL Bully shook the country and have put the breed in a controversial arena.

On 9th September 2023, an 11-year-old girl named Ana Paun was attacked by the breed in Birmingham, where the dog broke free from the collar and mauled the girl. As a result, she had serious injuries on her shoulders and arms. Moreover, when two men tried to help her and get the dog away, they were bitten too.

This incident grabbed the public attention and left the government baffled as to whether to ban the breed.

Another incident took place on September 14 2023. A 40-year-old man was attacked by two dogs in Birmingham causing multiple injuries and the death of the man at the scene.

Following this attack, PM Sunak announced the next day to legally define the breed of the dog behind the attacks so it can be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. The dog breed was labelled as ‘dangerous and harmful‘ for the community, especially children. Thus, the UK will ban the American XL Bully by the end of this year.

The Dangerous Dogs Act applies in England, Wales and Scotland and makes it an offence to own, breed, gift or sell the banned breed.[2] Earlier, Pitbull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro were banned dog breeds in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Other Fatal Incidents by American XL Bullies

The American XL Bully has been involved in several fatal incidents in the UK and other countries in recent years. Here are some of these incidents that took place in the UK where the victims were attacked by XL Bullies owned by their friends or family members.

victim of attack by american xl bully

Fatal incidents by American XL Bullies:

March 2023BradfordA 12-year-old boy was mauled to death. The dog belonged to his uncle who was visiting from London. He suffered multiple injuries to his head and neck.
February 2023CornwallA 9-year-old girl was killed by an American XL Bully at her home. The girl had severe injuries to her face and neck.
January 2023BirminghamA 35-year-old woman was attacked and killed. The dog belonged to her partner who had bought it online as a puppy. The woman was found with multiple injuries to her body and head.
December 2022GlasgowA 4-year-old boy was bitten and killed. The dog belonged to his father who had acquired it from a friend. The boy had fatal injuries to his throat and chest.
November 2022ManchesterA 28-year-old man was savaged and killed by an American XL Bully at his home in Manchester. The dog belonged to his friend who had left it with him for the night.

Some Views on the Ban of American XL Bully

The ban on American XL Bully has set everyone in a dilemma. On one hand, some people support the ban as an initiative to prevent further risks and tragedies whereas others oppose it, terming the ban as an ineffective solution. Many animal welfare groups and pet owners support this decision because they might have faced many challenges and difficulties in raising and managing their dogs.

However, dog breeders strongly oppose the ban and claims that American XL Bullies are not inherently violent, but rather loyal and loving companions. They accuse the owners of not properly nurturing the animal, causing the dog to be aggressive. They appeal to the public to not judge the breed by its appearance or reputation but by its individual personality and behaviour.

At last, the general public has varied opinions about the ban, depending on their knowledge and perception of American XL Bullies.


  1. Why are XL bullies being banned?

    Many incidents of dog attacks have taken place in recent years leading to fatal and serious issues. The American XL bully is involved in this rise of incidents. That is why the UK government is planning to ban the XL Bully breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

  2. What will happen to XL bullies when banned?

    When the UK prime minister announced that XL Bullies would be banned by the end of the year, it scared the dog owners who would have to put their beloved pets down. But Chief Veterinary Officer Professor Christine Middlemiss has reassured those with an XL Bully that they will not be destroyed if they are deemed safe.

  3. What do I do if I own an XL Bully?

    If you own an American XL Bully, you will need to register your American XL bully. Also, you are required to keep your dog neutered, muzzled and on a lead when in public. You will also need to be insured. If you fail to comply with this, you may face a fine, imprisonment or destruction of your dog.

Final Thought

To conclude, the American XL Bully is a controversial breed that has been banned by the UK government due to its involvement in several fatal attacks on humans and other animals. The ban has sparked a lot of debate and controversy among animal welfare groups, dog breeders, owners and the general public. It has also raised questions about the nature and nurture of the breed.

However, this is not a simple or straightforward solution to the problem of dangerous dogs. It requires careful evaluation of various factors. The ban on American XL Bullies is the beginning of a long journey towards finding a balance between human safety and animal welfare.


  1. Kleszcz, A., Cholewińska, P., Front, G., Pacoń, J., Bodkowski, R., Janczak, M., & Dorobisz, T. (2022). Review on selected aggression causes and the role of neurocognitive science in the diagnosis. Animals. MDPI
  2. Participation, E. (n.d.). Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. UK Legislation.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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