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XL Bully Ban ‘Probably Won’t Work’ Says UK Dog Expert

According to dog expert Mike Barnett from Northamptonshire, U.K., the ban on American XL Bully dogs “probably won’t work.” A former police dog handler, Barnett proposes that educational approaches would be a more productive solution instead of singling out and banning a specific breed.

The XL Bully ban comes in the wake of a number of attacks, some fatal, perpetrated by this breed. Notably amongst these attacks were the unfortunate incidents involving 10-year-old Jack Lis in 2021 and 52-year-old Ian Price in 2023.

Dog expert questions XL Bully ban’s effectiveness

Derived through a hybridization of various bull breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American XL Bully breed exhibits a considerably larger and muscular stature than other Bully breeds like the micro and the classic.

This newly introduced law, which applies to England and Wales, stipulates that possession of an American XL Bully dog is illegal without an exemption certificate. The window to apply for this certificate closed on January 31.

In an interview with BBC Radio Northampton, Barnett, who currently operates a dog behavior consultancy, said that an outright ban on the breed was not the best approach. He further pointed to the past example of similar legislation for Pit Bulls in 1991.

Despite the introduction of these laws, there are over 30,000 dogs currently registered as XL Bullies, which significantly overshadows the routine count of 3,500 on the exemption register.

In highlighting that danger can come from any breed, Barnett recollected a previous case wherein a startled non-banned breed of dog ended up attacking a child out of fear. He says, “We need owner education, to understand some of the signs that dogs [show to] say to human beings ‘I’m not comfortable.’” He acknowledges the need to protect the public, but he believes that effective education serves as the best defense.


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