04 Jul 2024

It will be illegal to own an XL Bully dog in Northern Ireland without an Exemption Certificate after 31 December 2024.

The ‘Dangerous Dogs (Designated Type) Order (Northern Ireland) 2024’ was made on the 14 June 2024. It adds XL Bully type dogs to the current list of “dogs bred for fighting”. It will require that from 5 July 2024 all owners of an XL Bully type dog:

  • does not use the dog for breeding
  • does not sell or exchange ownership of the dog, including giving it away
  • does not abandon the dog
  • keeps the dog muzzled and on a lead in public spaces and does not permit it to stray.

Owners are also required to keep their dog in a secure place.

Importantly, the legislation also sets an ‘appointed day’ after which it will be illegal to own an XL Bully dog in Northern Ireland without an Exemption Certificate. That date is 31 December 2024. The DAERA press release can be found at New XL Bully Dog safeguards to be introduced in Northern Ireland .  The Department is also putting in place compensation and exemption schemes which will offer compensation for animals euthanised as well as allowing dogs to be exempted from this requirement subject to satisfying conditions. In addition to the earlier stipulations the dog must also be neutered, microchipped and have third party insurance. These conditions will be included in the second stage of legislation which is being progressed at pace to be made as soon as possible subject to necessary approvals.

Further details and guidance are available at XL Bully dogs (indirect) and this will be updated as details on the exemption and compensation schemes are finalised. DAERA’s contact details are:

Jubilee House, 111 Ballykelly Road, Ballykelly, Londonderry BT49 9HP Telephone: 028 77445135 Email: catherine.goligher@daera-ni.gov.uk.   

If you encounter any specific issues or concerns in relation to the new restrictions on XL Bully type dogs which you would like to raise please to contact Animal.Welfare@daera-ni.gov.uk