Will the XL Bully join the UK's banned dog breeds list?

Video report and words by Cree-Summer Haughton, Here's The Story Digital Video Producer

Some animal charities have said no particular breed is the problem after a recent spate of dog attacks in the UK.

But following an increase in attacks involving XL Bully dogs, how close is Britain to an outright ban on the breed?

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said she is pushing for a ban on the breed saying they are a “clear and lethal danger” – particularly to children.

The XL Bully is in the spotlight after it was responsible for nine out of the 21 fatal attacks on humans in the past two years.

Three children were among the victims, including 10-year-old Jack Lis in Wales, whose mom has called for action and change.

A seven-year-old was mauled by the breed in Merseyside, suffering serious, but non life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile police in Birmingham are investigating after an 11-year-old girl and two men were attacked by and bitten by a dog from the breed.

The recent attacks have led to calls from MPs and police about an outright ban, joining four other breeds currently on that list.

Those breeds are:

  • Pit Bull Terrier

  • Japanese Tosa

  • Dogo Argentino

  • Fila Brasileiro

Will the UK ban the XL Bully breed?

Suella Braverman announced she has commissioned “urgent advice” on outlawing the dogs after she highlighted an “appalling” attack on an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham.

However, there are reportedly concerns over the feasibility of such a ban within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which is responsible for the banned breeds list.

Defra is working alongside the Dog Control Coalition (DCC) to identify additional measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible dog ownership.

A spokesman said: “We take dog attacks and anti-social behaviour very seriously and are making sure the full force of the law is being applied.

“This can range from lower-level Community Protection Notices – which require dog owners to take appropriate action to address behaviour – to more serious offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act, where people can be put in prison for up to 14 years, be disqualified from ownership or result in dangerous dogs being euthanised.”

A spokesperson from the Dog Control Coalition said: "Any new approach must be preventative, breed neutral and evidence based.

"Research shows us that no breed of dog is more likely to be aggressive than another, and it is impossible to tell if the reported increase in dog attacks is related to any particular breed as even in fatal cases the breed of dog does not need to be recorded.

This would suggest that if the government take their recommendations an outright ban on the breed any time soon is looking pretty unlikely.

At the moment, the measures in place range from Community Protection Notices that can be served for low level anti-social behaviour, in response to offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act .

Under the Act, serious offences can lead to offenders being imprisoned for up to 14 years, disqualified from ownership, or their dog being euthanised if they allow it to become dangerously out of control.

Kay Taiwo believes stricter laws on breeders and owners are needed. Credit: Instagram / hightailk9s

Dog Trainer and HighTailK9's CEO Kay Taiwo agrees with the charities' approach and says stricter laws on breeders and owners would help the situation.

"The problem is that they need to regulate the breeders, just like a lot of these breeders are just random people who buy dogs for the sole purpose of breeding without actually understanding anything about the genetics, about the composition.

"They're quite docile, friendly, just fun-loving family dogs, even lazy.

"Owners need to realise, number one, the training that's needed for any dog. It's not just about XL Bullies. Any dog - and every dog - should be trained."

However, there is still a huge movement attempting to get the XL Bully breed banned in the UK. Petitions racking up thousands of signatures have the backing of animal charity PETA.

Those calling for a ban argue the dogs are bred for fighting and their strong jaws and bite are more likely to lead to a fatality.

How far the government will go is still up for debate. But an official report is due in the autumn, which will disclose the working group's solutions and findings.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...