An American XL Bully Dog owner has accused the government of 'bullying' the dogs and their owners after a date was set for the breed to be banned.

The ban comes following a number of attacks by XL Bully dogs.

It will be illegal to own an  XL Bully dogs  from February 1, 2024, and any existing dogs will be required to wear a muzzle out in public and be kept on a leash.

From December 31, the dogs must also be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

Paul Hopwood, who owns three of the dogs, said: “I think the Prime Minister is being an idiot.

“This is an end of an era, they obviously want them out, but they are blaming the wrong end of the leash.

“What is the next breed they will be banning?

“It’s discriminatory to the dogs and responsible owners should not be punished by this.”

Breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing an XL Bully to stray in England and Wales will be illegal from December 31.

Paul said: “I have three of them and would have kept their legacy going because they have a beautiful temperament.

“I run a Facebook group with other owners and people in there wanted to have XL Bully puppies to keep their legacy alive.

The Bolton News: XL Bully dog

“I have friends with these dogs, and one has one for her mental health and it is putting stress on them.”

Since the ban was initially announced, pet shelters up and down the country said they were seeing an unprecedented number of calls about the XL Bully dogs with people desperate to sell them.

Paul said: “I have seen groups that will rescue these dogs and their centres are filling up really fast.

“It is just ridiculous because people are panicking and even dumping them anywhere.

“The prime minister needs to wake up and reassess this ban again.”

Paul is worried the muzzles will make the dogs stressed and nervous as well.

He said: “They will not be used to it and will not understand, and it’s not nice for a dog that has never been muzzled before.”

What does the XL bully ban mean for owners of the breed?

XL bully dogs are set to be banned by the Government, but what does this mean for owners?

The breed has been at the centre of a public outcry following a number of high-profile attacks.

Last month, 52-year-old Ian Price, from Staffordshire, died in hospital after being attacked by two American XL bullies, while, last November, Jack Lis, 10, was killed by one of the dogs at a friend’s house in South Wales.

The ban, which will come into force on New Year’s Eve, aims to prevent further incidents like these from happening.

What is an XL bully dog?

The dog is a variant of the American bully dog, which can come in a variety of sizes, with XL bully dogs bred to be particularly large.

An official definition of the breed has now been published by the Government, with features including a “heavy, large and broad” head and a “blocky or slightly squared” muzzle.

It is also described as being “heavily muscled” with a “large, blocky body giving the impression of great power for size”, and a glossy, smooth and close coat.

What does the ban mean for owners?

From December 31, it will be illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon or allow XL bully dogs to stray in England and Wales.

After this date, the dogs must also be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

The Government recommends that owners start training their dogs to wear a muzzle and walk on a lead before the new rules come into effect.

XL bully breeders have also been advised to stop mating the dogs ahead of the ban.

What will owners of XL bully dogs have to do?

By February 1 2024, owners are expected to have registered their XL bullies on the index of exempted dogs.

From that date it will be illegal to own an XL bully that is not registered on the index.

The dogs must also be microchipped and neutered, with animals under a year old given until the end of 2024 to be neutered while older dogs must be neutered by June.

Will owners face criminal sanctions?

XL bully owners who fail to register their dogs on the index face a criminal record and an unlimited fine. Their dog could also be seized.

What if an XL bully owner does not want to keep their dog?

Owners have the option to have their dog put down by a vet, with the Government providing compensation for those who choose this option.

What other dogs are covered by the Act?

Other dogs covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act include pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, and Fila Brazilieros.