Banned

I’d like to talk about the American XL Bully, if you are happy to indulge me.

You probably already know that the American XL Bully isn’t a specific breed. They come in many different shapes and sizes. Taking my Zeke as a well-established KC breed example, there is a breed standard for a Labrador. Labs are predictable in the way they look. Accepting there are differences between the English (show) Labs, and the American (working) Labs. When you see a Labrador, they tend to look like a Labrador.

It is said that one of the first American XL Bully dogs imported into the UK was a mix of an American Pit Bull Terrier and an American Staffordshire Terrier.

As you know, I volunteer at a rescue centre and I’ve trained lots of Bull types. Some of the happiest little souls I’ve encountered. However, since being imported, the XL Bully has been further mixed and bred for muscle mass. Due to the lack of health checks undertaken by unscrupulous back street breeders, many are bred from dogs with congenital hip issues (particularly), and their bodies not able to sustain such an artificially bulky frame. How much pain they must be in.

Like most of us who care about dogs, I believe it’s the minority who have caused this. Are this minority going to be the ones who register their dogs, take out the insurance, muzzle their dogs, have them spayed/neutered? Excuse my cynicism, but I suggest no.  

What is on my mind, and I can’t help ruminating, is that the interpretation of the guidance for the ‘type’ of dog (because it isn’t a breed) is potentially pulling many other dogs into this classification. I can think of Mastiff X breeds who would fall into this type. Perfectly happy well trained dogs, with responsible guardians. But when and how will people know? When they’re spotted on the street? What happens if they end up in rescue in the meantime?

I already worry for rescue centre staff, exhausted and run off their feet and at capacity with surrendered lockdown dogs, cost of living dogs. And now this.

What has been in the media about dogs causing death, physical and psychological trauma, is horrific. Please don’t think I’m suggesting that dogs bred to harm can be left to wander the streets. But I also question what has fundamentally changed by adding the American XL to the banned list that already includes the American Pit Bull, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino, and the Fila Braziliero.

I suspect the next mix is already being bred in a backstreet near you.

Until next time

Jen

The RSPCA have previously reported their views on breed specific legislation

Dogs Trust have a good summary for American XL Bully Guardians here

The government guidance is here

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I’d like to talk about the American XL Bully, if