An XL Bully dog owner is holding a protest in Bolton town centre this weekend in a bid to demonstrate the now banned dogs are not dangerous.

Last week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that American XL Bully dogs were to be banned by the end of the year after videos emerged of a dog of that breed attacking a young girl, and a fatal attack on a man in the West Midlands.

But owners of such dogs say it is unfair to punish the dogs for the actions of irresponsible owners.

Paul Hopwood, who lives in Breightmet with his XL Bully Skie, is holding a protest at Le Mans Crescent at 1pm on Saturday to demonstrate the breed is not a danger to the public.

The Bolton News: XL Bully dogs Skie and Karma

Paul said: “I am going to protest to prove that these dogs are in the wrong hands if dangerous.

“I have had mine my whole life and they are nanny dogs, so I want to demonstrate this so people understand.

“The government is blaming the wrong people.”

Paul’s dog Skie  has only been with the family for two months but another XL Bully, two-year-old Karma, has been in the family since she was a puppy.

The dog owner said: “I think it is absolutely ridiculous blaming the dogs because there is no bad dog, only bad owners.

“I have raised dogs all my life and only ever had one dog I could not train because of how badly it was treated.

“But XL Bullies are protective dogs and even when I play with my children, they will get in the middle to make sure they are safe but is not aggressive.”

The Bolton News: XL Bully dog

Paul also owns a Jack Russell who plays with the XL Bully and even sleeps next to him.

Paul added: “They both sleep alongside each other with no problems, and the Jack Russell is the boss of the XL Bully.

“It’s the gangster wannabe’s who want the dogs as an accessory and walk around with them thinking they are hard.

“The government needs to put some laws in place to stop these people from having the dogs.”

If the ban takes place, Paul will need to ensure the XL Bully dogs are neutered and are wearing muzzles when outdoors.

But banned dogs can be taken away from owners if police see them in public and owners will not be able to breed them, and officers will then have to decide whether the dog is a danger in public.

He said: “I think muzzling the dogs is wrong and it’s just not nice.

"I got her because XL Bully dogs are loving and protective dogs.”

In a video statement posted to X last week, Mr Sunak said: “The American XL bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children.

“It is clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.

"I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts, to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with the view to then outlawing it.

“These dogs are dangerous, I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe.”