animal dog pet dangerous

The UK has announced a ban on the American Bully XL dog breed after a spate of violent attacks. What is an American Bully XL? Why are they being banned? What is a dangerous dog? And is banning dangerous dogs the best approach to dealing with this problem? Let’s discuss all this today!

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  • Ban (noun) – A formal prohibition or restriction.
    • The UK has announced a ban on owning American Bully XL dog breed.
  • Breed (noun) – A group of animals or plants with common characteristics, often created through selective breeding.
    • The American Bully XL is a dog breed known for its muscular build.
  • Cull (verb) – To selectively remove or eliminate animals from a population.
    • Even though the dog breed will be banned, there will be no cull.
  • Temperament (noun) – A person or animal’s natural disposition or character.
    • Understanding the temperament of a dog is crucial in determining its suitability as a family pet.
  • Imposing (adjective) – Having an impressive or commanding presence.
    • The imposing size and build of the American Bully XL can be intimidating to those unfamiliar with the breed.
  • Amnesty (noun) – An official pardon or forgiveness that allows individuals or groups to be exempt from penalties or legal consequences for past actions or offenses.
    • The government’s amnesty program permits dog owners to comply with new regulations without facing punishment.
  • Characteristics (noun) – Distinctive qualities, traits, or features that define or distinguish something or someone from others.
    • The characteristics of the American Bully XL include large size and muscular build.
  • Socialization (noun) – The process of learning and adapting to social norms and interactions.
    • Proper socialization plays a vital role in reducing the risk of dog aggression.

Dangerous Dog Attacks

Earlier this month, an 11-year-old girl in the English city Birmingham, along with two other people, was viciously attacked by an out-of-control dog. After biting the young child, the animal chased down other people on the city streets.

A few days later, two dogs of the same breed attacked and killed a 52-year-old man in another part of the UK.

After footage of these incidents was spread across social media in the UK, outrage grew.

People questioned how this was allowed to happen. Why are clearly dangerous and out-of-control animal allowed to freely exist on the streets? These two incidents were not the first reports of attacks, bites, or aggressive behaviour by the same breed of dog.

The UK has laws restricting, or banning, ownership of dangerous dog breeds – and people were demanding that the UK government do something.

This breed of dog is known as an American bully XL. In response to the outrage, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that these dogs were “a danger to our communities” and announced that the American bully XL would be banned by the end of the year.

This announcement sparked a debate across the country. What actually is an American Bully XL? What will a ban on the breed actually look like? Are other dogs banned in the UK? And is banning entire dog breeds the correct approach to solving this problem?

Let’s discuss these questions today!

What is an American Bully XL?

An American Bully XL, often simply referred to as “XL Bully,” is a specific size variation of the American Bully dog breed.

The American Bully is a relatively new breed that was developed in the United States. It was first identified in the 1980s after the American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers were cross bred.

The “XL” designation is used to describe American Bullies that are larger and heavier than the standard-sized American Bully. While there is no universally accepted size classification for an XL Bully, these dogs are typically significantly larger and more massive than the standard-sized American Bully.

They often have a more substantial bone structure and a more imposing physical presence than other American Bullies. The dogs can weigh over 60kg and easily overpower adults.

Importantly, the “XL” name is not an officially recognized category by major kennel clubs in the United Kingdom (although it is in the United States). Instead, it’s a term often used within the dog owning community.

While owners of this dog, and dog associations in the US, claim it is a very affectionate and family-friendly dog, it also has the potential for aggression. This aggression, combined with the dog’s size and power, can make in very, very dangerous in the right conditions.

The Ban

After the incidents of violence and dog attacks, Prime Minister Sunak has announced that the breed will be banned across the UK this year. But what does this actually mean?

First thing… it doesn’t mean that all American Bullies in the UK will be taken away by the police and culled. In fact, the government’s chief vet has said there will definitely be no cull.

Instead, the UK will run an amnesty approach.

If you own a dangerous dog, you will not have to give away the dog. You will, however, have to follow some safety steps.

All American Bully XLs will need to be registered with the government. The dogs will need to be neutered (meaning they can’t have children), they will need to be kept on a lead and muzzled (there mouth covered) while in public, and they will need insurance.

The UK has previously banned dogs – starting with the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. At that time, a similar amnesty happened. You were no longer able to buy, sell, gift, or breed dangerous dogs, but if owned a dog already you could keep it as long as certain conditions were met.

Once the amnesty period ended, you could only keep the dog if you met the conditions. The UK police will be able to take any banned breed seen in public.

The Dangerous Dogs Act, which I just mentioned, gives the UK government the ability to ban any dog breed appearing “to be bred for fighting or to have the characteristics of a type bred for that purpose”.

Other Banned and Dangerous Dogs in UK

Currently four different dog breeds are banned in the UK, not including the American Bully XL. These four breeds are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro. In addition, the law bans any dog with the characteristics of a dangerous animal.

Let’s take a look at these four breeds.

Pit Bull Terrier

Pit Bull Terriers are known for their muscular build, strong jaws, and distinctive appearance. They typically have a square-shaped head, short coat, and a powerful body.

They were originally bred for bullbaiting and later for dogfighting. They have a history of being used in these violent activities, which led to concerns about their temperament and potential danger.

Japanese Tosa

The Japanese Tosa is a large and powerful breed of dog originally bred in Japan for dog fighting. They are known for their muscular build, broad head, and short coat.

The Japanese Tosa was developed through the crossing of various European dog breeds with native Japanese breeds, and they were selectively bred for their fighting abilities.

An interesting anecdote I have about this dog (not actually the dog) is that I once went to a baseball game between the Ehime Mandarin Pirates and the Kochi Fighting Dogs. I thought that the name was just an interesting title – like Manchester United in the UK are known as the Red Devils (and not actually devils).

But… a friend of mine told me that dog fighting was a traditional, and still legal, sport in Japan’s Kochi prefecture. Kochi is the modern name for a region called Tosa. And the Japanese Tosa is the dog bred for this fighting.

Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is a large and muscular breed originally from Argentina. They are strong, athletic dogs with a broad head and a short, white coat. They are often described as having a noble and imposing appearance.

Generally, Dogo Argentinos are known for their loyalty and protective instincts. However, they were originally bred for big-game hunting, including wild boar and puma. This makes them powerful and potentially dangerous creatures.

While they can be affectionate with their families, they require early socialization and extensive training to ensure they are well-behaved.

Fila Brasileiro

The Fila Brasileiro, also known as the Brazilian Mastiff, is a large and powerful breed that originated in Brazil. They are known for their loyalty, strength, and tracking abilities.

Filas are well-muscled dogs with a loose and wrinkled skin, a short coat, and a distinctive colour. They have a strong and imposing appearance.

Filas are known for their loyalty to their families and their protective nature. They can be wary of strangers and are often used as guard dogs. This breed was historically used for hunting and guarding.

Should Dangerous Dogs be Banned?

The UK is not alone in banning certain dog breeds for being dangerous. But is this fair? Should dog breeds be banned entirely? Or is there a better approach?

Yes – Dangerous Dog Breeds Should be Banned!

The primary argument for banning dangerous dogs is to protect public safety. Certain breeds or individual dogs with aggressive tendencies pose a significant risk to humans and other animals. Banning them can reduce the likelihood of serious attacks and injuries.

Banning dangerous dogs can help prevent dog attacks, which can result in severe harm, especially to children and vulnerable individuals. In fact, as in the UK earlier this month, dangerous dogs are responsible for deaths in some cases. Banning them can save lives and prevent tragic incidents involving dog attacks.

Having a ban on specific breeds or types of dangerous dogs makes it easier for the police to identify and regulate potentially dangerous animals. Banning dangerous dogs can boost public confidence by demonstrating that the government takes the issue of dangerous dogs seriously and is actively addressing it.

Bans on dangerous breeds can discourage irresponsible breeding practices that make dogs aggressive or focus on appearance rather than temperament and health.

No -Banning Entire Dog Breeds is not the best idea!

Critics argue that breed-specific bans (like banning all Pit Bull terriers or American Bully XLs) unfairly discriminate against specific breeds or types of dogs without considering individual behaviour. They argue that it is the behaviour of the dog, rather than its breed, that should determine whether it is considered dangerous.

Some opponents assert that breed-specific bans are ineffective in reducing dog attacks and injuries. They argue that dangerous dogs can still exist within banned breeds or that owners can simply switch to other, unrestricted breeds.

Many dog owners believe the key to preventing dog attacks is responsible ownership, which involves proper training, socialization, and supervision of dogs. Breed-specific bans can punish responsible dog owners who have well-behaved dogs within those banned breeds. Critics argue that it is unfair to penalize all owners of a specific breed based on the actions of a few.

Moreover, it can be difficult to identify specific dog breeds. Many mixed-breed dogs may look like banned breeds but may not have the same behavioural traits. And there is no scientific consensus on which dog breeds or more dangerous than others.

The resources used to enforce breed-specific bans could potentially be better spent on other animal control measures, such as education, dog behaviour training, and community projects.

Final Thought

The recent incidents of dangerous dog attacks in the UK, particularly involving the American Bully XL, have resulted in the banning of the breed throughout the country.

This episode has looked at the ban in the UK, what an American Bully XL is and why it is being banned, and other dangerous dogs. And I ended with a quick look at the debate over banning dangerous dogs.

On one hand, proponents argue that banning dangerous breeds is necessary to protect public safety, prevent serious attacks, and convince people that the government is addressing the issue seriously.

Conversely, opponents of breed-specific bans argue that these measures unfairly target specific breeds or types of dogs, ignoring individual behaviour. They argue that these bans may be ineffective in reducing attacks, as dangerous dogs can still exist.

They contend that responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are crucial in preventing dog attacks and that breed-specific bans penalize responsible owners.

What do you think? Do you think dangerous dog breeds should be banned completely? Or do you think there is a different approach?

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By Tom Wilkinson

Host and founder of Thinking in English, Tom is committed to providing quality and interesting content to all English learners. Previously a research student at a top Japanese university and with a background in English teaching, political research, and Asian languages, Tom is now working fulltime on bettering Thinking in English!

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