New law banning XL bully dogs in Scotland to come into force from Friday

Scotland's ban on XL bully dogs comes into effect just days after police were called to an incident involving the breed, as ITV News Correspondent Peter Smith explains

Owning an XL bully dog without putting safeguards in place will be illegal in Scotland from Friday.

The measures, which replicate those introduced by the UK government, will require owners to muzzle their XL bully dogs and keep them on a lead when in public.

Additionally, it will be illegal to sell, abandon, give away or breed the dogs, with penalties for any breaches of the new safeguards including up to six months imprisonment and a maximum fine of £5,000.

A second phase of measures will be brought into law in July by the Scottish government, and will require owners to have an exemption certificate.

Scottish community safety minister Siobhian Brown confirmed the safeguards in January, after the Scottish government had initially decided against following the UK government's lead.

Such rules on XL bully dogs came into force in England and Wales at the start of 2024.

Speaking to ITV News, Ms Brown explained the reasoning for the Scottish government's U-turn, saying it had been "put into a corner".

She said: "We've been put into a corner where they've [XL bully's] been banned from the UK government and it's led to a loophole."

Pressed on whether she believes XL bully's to be dangerous, Ms Brown said she does not think "breeds as such can be dangerous, but I do think you have to have responsible ownership".

In recent weeks, police have responded to two separate dog attack incidents in Scotland, which both ended with an XL bully-type dog being destroyed.

When asked if the Scottish government regrets the attacks that have taken place, Ms Brown refused to answer, instead saying: "We do not know if those dog attacks were XL bully's or not."

She added: "All I want to get across today is we are copying the legislation that has been rushed through from England and Wales."

Scottish ministers have confirmed they will use the same XL bully definition as the UK government, which states the large dogs have "a muscular body and blocky head, suggesting great strength and power for its size".

The estimated height of the dogs is approximately 51cm at the withers for an adult male and 48cm for an adult female.

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