XL Bully dog owners are being urged to prepare for new rules which are expected to come into force on Friday 23 February – subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament. 

New laws laid for consideration in Scottish Parliament will make it an offence to: 

  • have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle 
  • breed or breed from an XL Bully dog 
  • sell an XL Bully dog 
  • abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray 
  • give away an XL Bully dog 

The penalties available to a court upon conviction for breach of the new safeguards are up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £5,000.

The definition used for an XL Bully dog is the same as the UK Government who have produced a XL Bully conformation standard to check if a dog is an XL Bully.

This is the first stage of safeguards being introduced. The second stage will mean from 1 August 2024 it will be an offence to own an XL Bully without an exemption certificate or having applied for an exemption certificate. Full details on the exemption applications process and the support available will be announced in the coming weeks. 

New safeguards about XL Bully dogs were announced by the Community Safety Minister on the 18 January 2024. This is a consequence of reports of dogs being moved to Scotland after controls were introduced in England and Wales. 

Local authorities have existing powers under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 to serve Dog Control Notices that set out what dog owners must do to bring their dogs under control to combat ‘out of control’ dogs at an early stage.