Definition of XL bully dog is unclear according to the RSPCA ahead of new legislation (I disagree)

NEWS AND COMMENT: The RSPCA has criticised the UK government for their failure to ensure that the definition of an American XL bully dog is clear ahead of the introduction of new legislation to ban the breed. Having read the official guide, I disagree with the RSPCA. It looks clear to me.

XL bully dog as per the UK government's guidance
XL bully dog as per the UK government’s guidance. Image: UK gov.

The RSPCA said that XL bully dog owners remain unclear on whether their dog companions are going to be prohibited under the current guidance.

Last month, the government published guidance which lists a series of characteristics particular to the American XL bully dog. For instance, the dog has a “heavily muscled body”. And a “heavy and broad head” and a “broad deep chest”.

Some of the characteristics are very specific such as the minimum height at the withers which is the tallest point below the neck and head (see below). This should be pretty much a black-and-white situation in order to be able to classify a dog as an XL bully but of course it is one characteristics which must be taken with others which we are told are unclear.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “There remains confusion around the government’s definition of an XL bully.”

In response, a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “If owners are unsure whether there dog is an XL bully, they should comply with the relevant restrictions as they come into force.”

The full and formal UK government’s definition of an XL bully dog can be found on the government’s website. Please click on this link if you want to read it.

Comment: I have read the description of this dog breed as per the government’s article entitled “Guidance – official definition of an XL bully dog”

It applies to England and Wales and I think the description is adequate. It looks pretty detailed to me.

They add that a suspected XL bully breed doesn’t have to fit the description provided fully. They add that if the dog meets the minimum height measurements and a “substantial number of the characteristics in the official definition” it can still be considered an XL bully breed type.

In other words, if your dog meets the height measurements and matches up to a “substantial amount” of the physical characteristics then it may be an XL bully dog.

Perhaps the issue is that it is very hard to solidly identify any dog breed by description alone. And the word “may” is used in the above sentence.

FYI: the adult male XL bully height is stated as “from 20 inches (51 cm) at the withers”. And for the adult female “from 19 inches (48 cm) at the withers”.

On the webpage there are also photographs to assist in identifying your dog and a glossary of terms (one is used on this page). I think it’s pretty good and it should be adequate so I would disagree with the RSPCA at this juncture except for the caveat as mentioned in the highlighted paragraph above.

Leave a Comment

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Dogs > dog breeds > American Bully XL