XL Bully dogs in Scotland

Rules you must follow if you own an XL Bully dog.

The rules have changed if you own an XL Bully dog in Scotland.  

It is 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 

Definition of an XL Bully dog 

The definition used for an XL Bully dog is the same as the UK Government.  

If you are not sure if a dog in your care is an XL Bully, use the guide to check if a dog is an XL Bully.  

If you are still unsure about your dog after doing this, you should follow the rules in this guide as a precaution.

Muzzling an XL Bully dog 

XL Bully dogs must be muzzled and kept on a lead when out in public.  

Support for owners on how to muzzle a dog is available at:  

Buying, selling or transferring XL Bully dogs  

It is illegal to rehome, sell, buy, or transfer ownership of an XL Bully dog to another person. Rehoming organisations must not rehome XL Bully dogs. 

Stray and abandoned dogs  

It is illegal to abandon an XL Bully dog or allow it to stray.  

If you find a stray or abandoned dog of any breed, you should contact your local council. They will liaise with Police Scotland if they are concerned that the dog is a prohibited type.  


If you break the law or don't follow these rules the penalties are:  

  • up to 6 months imprisonment  

  • and/or a fine up to £5,000 

Exemption certificates from 31 July 2024 

From 31 July 2024 you must have an exemption certificate - or have applied for one - to own an XL Bully dog.  

Full details about the exemption certificate scheme including the start date, costs and how to apply will be announced soon. 


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. 



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