Pit bull semen from America used to breed XL Bullies in UK

US kennels charge buyers up to £16,000 for frozen semen
US kennels charge buyers up to £16,000 for frozen semen

Hundreds of American XL Bully dogs in the UK are bred from pit bull semen imported from the United States, The Telegraph can disclose.

Despite a ban on pit bull breeding in Britain, American kennels charge up to £16,000 for frozen semen, which is legal, and ship it to the UK to produce XL Bully puppies.

The apparent loophole suggests hundreds of American Bully dogs on British streets, including the XL variety, are in fact at least half pit bull terrier.

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, has declared American Bully dogs a “danger to our communities” and announced his intention to impose a ban on the breed by the end of the year.

The dogs are responsible for around 70 per cent of deaths from dog attacks in the UK, including the fatal mauling of Ian Price, a 52-year-old businessman, in Staffordshire on Thursday.

The ban is not expected to come into force until 2025, following an amnesty period in which owners can apply to keep their dogs if they are neutered and muzzled in public.

Half of Britain's XL bullies are descendants of one "killer” inbred pet from the US
Half of Britain's XL bullies are descendants of one "killer” inbred pet from the US

The forthcoming ban prompted outrage from owners and breeders, who argue American Bullies are safer than their genetic cousins, pit bull terriers, and should be treated as a separate breed.

However, one wheelchair-user who owns an American XL Bully as an assistance dog supports banning the breed in the UK, saying “it would be selfish for me not to advocate for this ban”.

Jerome Johnson, from Thornton Heath, south London, has had muscular dystrophy since birth, a condition which gradually causes muscles to weaken, and he said he is “unable to move, other than a few fingers”.

Mr Johnson, 31, is helped by his assistance dog Jennie, a seven-year-old XL Bully, who carries items like his shopping for him, but also “provides protection” and “guards” him when they leave home.

Having owned her since November 2018, Mr Johnson said he has had to train her over a period of five years to “rewire her brain”, as he suspected she was “trained to attack” from being “bred to fight for a county lines drug dealing operation”.

Breeds remarketed

Pit bull terriers were outlawed in the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act after 15 people were killed by them in dog attacks in England and Wales between 1981 and 1991.

However, The Telegraph understands registered pit bulls in the United States have been remarketed as American Bullies in order to sell their semen to customers in Britain.

The US breeders use two different registers to record pit bulls and American bullies, allowing their semen to be sold as either breed to different customers.

A source at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is responsible for regulating the breeding industry, said ministers were powerless to stop imports of pit bull semen because only the dogs themselves were illegal.

It comes after The Telegraph revealed that half of XL Bully dogs in Britain are descended from “Killer Kimbo”, an inbred dog from Los Angeles with a history of producing violent offspring.

Bossy Kennels, a major breeder in Murrieta, California, advertises “extreme” pit bulls online, and offers to ship their semen across the Atlantic to breeders in the UK.

It has become one of the main suppliers of breeding dogs and semen to XL bully kennels in Britain and is thought to have produced hundreds of puppies.

Semen from one of the kennel’s dogs, Willy Wonka, can be purchased for £8,000, along with evidence it is registered as an American Bully, despite its four pit bull terrier great-grandparents and separate registration as a pit bull.

A representative for the kennel confirmed to The Telegraph that some of its dogs were first registered as pit bulls with the United Kennel Club, then as American Bullies with the American Bully Kennel Club.

Another popular breeding dog from a different kennel, known as “The Hulk”, is from a line of pit bulls but has also been bred in the UK to produce “XL bully” puppies.

Hybrids used to get round ban

One US dog breeder told The Telegraph that the industry would continue to produce dogs under a different name, such as “American bulldog”, after the ban comes into force.

“They’ll just come in as something else,” the breeder said. “That’s what happened with pit bulls once pit bulls were banned – they made a hybrid and they’re bullies.

“What’s next? You ban a bully? Okay, now it’s an American Bulldog.”

Since the 1960s, breeders have sold extracted semen from “stud” dogs, which can be used to artificially inseminate a second dog without requiring the two animals to be physically present.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was approached for comment.