XL Bullys


Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

XL Bullys

A phased ban on the dog type known as the XL Bully will be coming into effect over the course of 2024, bringing Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

The first phase of the ban comes into force on 5th July 2024 and will add the type known as XL Bullys to the list of illegal breeds in Northern Ireland. It will then be an offence to type, sell, exchange, gift or abandon an XL Bully type dog. In addition, while it will still remain legal to own an XL Bully, you will have to keep it muzzled and on a lead in public. The dog must also be kept securely.

The next stage of the ban will come into effect on December 31st 2024. From then on it will be unlawful to own an XL Bully without an exemption certificate. It is not yet clear what the processes will be to apply for a certificate. 

Details will be published in due course of compensation schemes for XL Bully owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs. Further guidance will also be published on how to determine whether your dog/puppy is an XL Bully type dog. However, it will be very similar to the guidance used in the rest of the UK.

What happens if I break the law?

Once the new law is in forced, if you are found to be keeping an XL Bully without an exemption certificate, your dog will be seized and probably euthanised. If you are convicted of an offence, you will be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 and/or could be sent to prison for up to six months.


Dangerous Dogs (Designated Type) Order (Northern Ireland) 2024