XL Bully owners ‘panicking’ as their breed gets banned says north Wales dog trainer

The ban on the breed comes after a series of dog attacks on people across the UK.

Owners are “panicking” and are “so worried” following the announcement that the XL Bully breed will be banned by the end of the year, according to a dog trainer in north Wales.

Jackie Hughes from Dyffryn Nantlle Dog Training Club says she has a long list of XL Bully owners who urgently want sessions for their dogs. 

She told the current affairs series, Y Byd ar Bedwar: “People are so worried, they don’t want to admit that they have an XL Bully.”

The ban comes after a series of dog attacks in the UK, with the XL Bully responsible for 70% of dog-related deaths since the start of 2022.

However, the breed itself represents less than 1% of the country’s dog population.

Nevertheless, Jackie is worried that the new legislation won’t mitigate the number of dangerous dogs.

“We must remember that it’s not just the XL Bully’s that are to blame. Banning the pitbull didn’t work, because they’re still around. 

“Irresponsible people will continue to breed with the biggest dog, the nastiest dog which looks the most intimidating. They’re the wrong people, who don’t love their dogs.”

Kayley Ireland from Porthmadog is an XL Bully owner and breeder, and has arranged her first training session with Jackie. 

XL Bullies have been responsible for 70% of dog-related deaths since the start of 2022.

She believes that punishing the irresponsible owners is the way forward, not banishing the breed entirely. 

“People who breed these threatening dogs are not going to worry about registering them,” she said. 

“I’m upset and frustrated, because everyone gets punished due to people not looking after their dogs and raising them to be nice.”

More than 400 people have been injured by dogs in North Wales this year already, with more than 10% of those being serious injuries. 

Kayley, who owns two XL Bully’s, finds the recent headlines worrying: “99.9% of me wants to believe they’ll never do that. 

“But if they showed any signs of being nasty to people, I would seriously consider getting them put down. They’re too big and too strong to take the risk.”

There are four breeds that are currently banned by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, including the pitbull terrier. 

Owners will have to apply for an exemption certificate if they want to keep the dog, in order to prove that their animal is not a danger to the public. 

However, one leading lawyer who specialises in dog law, Jennifer Kabała, is critical of the legislation. 

Jennifer Kabała says the legislation to ban XL Bullies is a "big mistake".

“What happened when the pitbull was banned was that it made it more attractive to the types of people that we’re really worried about having any kind of dog to be perfectly honest, because suddenly it became a status symbol, it was illegal and therefore it was more intimidating,

“The dangerous dogs act has been around for 32 years, and there’s actually a surprising lack of evidence to support that breed specific legislation works.

“I think it is a really big mistake to effectively repeat the mistakes of the past, because the Dangerous Dogs Act in the first place was brought through Parliament extraordinarily quickly, in response to a number of very high profile dog attacks.”

In a statement, the UK Government said it’s “taking urgent action to bring forward the Prime Minister’s commitment to ban XL Bully dog types following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities, which appears to be driven by this type of dog.

“Current owners of American XL bullies do not need to take any action now. There will be a transition period and further details on how this will work will be provided in due course.”

Watch Y Byd ar Bedwar with English subtitles on Monday, 20:00 on S4C and BBC iPlayer.

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