There are five types of dogs banned in the UK including XL Bully and Pit Bull Terrier.

XL Bully dogs are the latest edition to the banned list being added in 2023 in England and Wales, with Scotland to follow in August 2024.

It will be illegal to own an XL Bully type dog in Scotland from August 1 but it is already an offence to breed, sell, exchange, offer them as a gift, advertise, rehome, abandon or allow them to stray, according to the Scottish SPCA.

If you are found guilty of owning a banned dog you can receive an "unlimited" fine and/or spend time in jail.

@uktoday_ What is an XL Bully and why are they being banned? #uknews #uknewsheadlines #xlbullies #xlbullybanuk ♬ original sound - UKToday 🇬🇧 Newsquest

Banned dogs in the UK

In the UK, it is illegal to own certain types of dogs.

The following dogs are banned in the UK, according to the UK Government website:

It’s also against the law to:

  • Sell a banned dog
  • Abandon a banned dog
  • Give away a banned dog
  • Breed from a banned dog

The Government website added: "Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.

"For example, if your dog matches many of the characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type."

What to do if you have a banned dog

If you have a banned dog, the police or local council dog warden can take it away and keep it, the UK Government says.

If it is on the banned list, they can take your dog away even if:

  • It is not acting dangerously
  • There has not been a complaint

In certain instances, the police may need permission from a court to remove your dog.

The Government website says: "A police or council dog expert will judge what type of dog you have and whether it is (or could be) a danger to the public."

Your dog will then either be:

  • Released
  • Kept in kennels while the police (or council) apply to a court

You’re not allowed to visit your dog while you wait for the court decision.

@uktoday_ The ugliest dogs in the world have been revealed- but do you agree? #uknews #dogsoftiktok #dogbreeds #uglydog #uknewsheadlines ♬ original sound - UKToday 🇬🇧 Newsquest

If you can prove your dog is not a banned type, the court will order the dog to be returned to you.

If your dog is banned but the court thinks it’s not a danger to the public, it may put it on the Index of Exempt Dogs and let you keep it.

You’ll be given a Certificate of Exemption. This is valid for the life of the dog.

Penalty if you are found to have a banned dog

However, if you can't prove your dog is not banned (or you plead guilty), you’ll be convicted of a crime.


If you are found guilty of owning a banned dog, you could receive the following punishments:

  • You can get an unlimited fine
  • Be sent to prison for up to 6 months
  • Or both

On top of that, your dog will also be destroyed.