The Scottish Government have announced that there will be tight safeguards introduced on XL Bully dogs in Scotland to make it a criminal offence to own the breed without an exemption certificate.

The legislation will mirror what has been introduced by the UK Government in England and Wales, and prevent Scotland from becoming a ‘dumping ground’ for this breed.

Under the new rules, existing owners will be required to consider whether they wish to keep their dogs. If they do, they will have to apply and pay a fee for an exemption permit. This will require owners to ensure appropriate safeguards are taken for their XL Bully dogs such as muzzling when in public, being on a lead when in public, taking out insurance and neutering their dogs. 

In addition, it will be illegal to sell an XL Bully dog, abandon a dog or let it stray or give it away.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the Minister for Victims and Community Safety will make a statement to Parliament next week on these new safeguards.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“We recognise that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible animal lovers. However, now that we know the full implications for Scotland of the UK government’s measures, we are urgently bringing forward new safeguards on XL Bully dogs. It is essential Scotland is not adversely impacted because of any loopholes created as a consequence of the introduction of the UK Government’s policy in England and Wales.

“Recent reports of XL Bully dogs being moved to Scotland from south of the border are concerning and it’s important we do not become a dumping ground for the breed, leading to unacceptable risks to public safety and animal welfare.

“We will be working at pace to bring forward necessary regulations to mirror the system introduced in England and Wales as soon as possible. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders going forward and to offer practical support to help owners comply with these new safeguards.”