Deadlines for XL Bully Restrictions Announced

Statement from USPCA on the XL Bully ban for Northern Ireland

Further information has been received from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today regarding the implementation of an XL Bully ban in Northern Ireland. 

The new rules will be introduced in two stages.

Stage One

The first set will come into operation on 5 July 2024.  After this date it will be an offence to:

  • Have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle
  • Breed or breed from an XL Bully
  • Sell, give away or rehome an XL Bully
  • Abandon an XL Bully or let it stray
  • The dog must be kept in secure conditions that will stop it from escaping.

Stage Two

The second stage will come into effect on 31 December 2024

It will be illegal to own an XL Bully type dog without an Exemption Certificate from the 1 January 2025.

To get a Certificate of Exemption for your XL Bully dog, you must: 

  • get your dog microchipped by the time it is 8 weeks old 
  • have your dog neutered by the time it is 18 months old 
  • get third party public liability insurance for your dog 
  • pay the application fee of £92.40 

“The USCPA has been long opposed to breed specification legislation however, as a responsible charity we will of course comply with the NI Executive’s decision. Though it is heartbreaking to think that some dogs will be put to sleep as a result of this measure.

We fully support legislation that protects public safety and hope that in the longer term NI Executive works with the Dog Control Coalition members to introduce measures which will move away from ‘deed and not breed’.

 We would encourage all XL bully owners in Northern Ireland to ensure they meet with the legal requirements by the dates set out. In order to ensure they are able to keep their much loved family pet”.

Further information on the roll out of the XL Bully ban can be found here: