Dog owners planning 'XL bully walk' with pets and children to protest ban

Organisers of the mass walk of XL Bully dogs in Birmingham on 30 September are hoping it will 'prove people wrong' amid plans to ban the breed.

Front close up view of an American XL bully dog outdoors on a lead, without muzzle, being held by the owner. Dogs now classed as banned breed.
The American XL bully dog breed has come under the spotlight after a series of attacks. (Lee Hudson)

A mass walk of XL Bully dogs is being planned, with the hope that it will "prove people wrong" and show how "gentle the breed really is" amid plans to ban it after several attacks.

Organisers of the meet-up said they hope "as many people and kids as possible" turn out on Saturday, 30 September, for the walk in Birmingham.

According to an advert circulated online, the "friendly walk" will take place in the B20 area of the city, which includes parts of Handsworth and Handsworth Wood, with an exact location to be shared closer to the day.

Those on the walk have been told to also bring along their children, and that 'all dogs are welcome'.

GMB host Richard Madeley tells the owners of an American XL Bully their family pet is a
A debate is raging about whether American XL Bully dogs should be banned. (ITV/Good Morning Britain)

The planned walk comes as hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition to "save" the breed after Rishi Sunak said it would be banned in the UK by the end of the year, after a series of high profile attacks.

Jake Harris, from the 0121 Bullys Instagram and TikTok account, told BirminghamLive the meet-up was being organised because they "need to show people that the XL Bullies are not the problem".

'It's all about the owners'

He said: "It’s all about the owners - I've got three XL Bullies and not one of them would hurt a soul.

"We need to stand up for our dogs. We need to show the government how friendly and loving our big dogs are."

According to reports, XL Bully owners in Birmingham have been travelling miles out of the city or hiring private fields to walk their dogs amid fears that they will be taken away.

Steve Constantinou, who runs Spartan Kennels in Coventry, said some owners are "frightened to take their dogs out", and he had witnessed one woman hiding "behind a tree" as he walked past with his XL Bully.

A petition against the proposed ban of the XL Bully has hit more than 560,000 signatures. (
A petition against the proposed ban of the XL Bully has hit more than 560,000 signatures. (

Why is the government going to ban the XL Bully?

There have been several high-profile dog attacks attributed to XL Bully dogs recently, including a viral video of an attack in Birmingham that left an 11-year-old girl with serious injuries.

The spotlight on the breed has seen reports suggest that the breed has been responsible for killing nine people, including three children, since 2001, with the Guardian reporting that out of the 10 fatal dog attacks in the UK during 2022, six involved an XL bully.

Following the publicity surrounding the recent attacks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared he would introduce a ban on American XL bullies by Christmas.

They would be added to the four breeds currently on the UK's banned dogs list, which are: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

But the PM's pledge has been met with an outcry by XL Bully owners and animal welfare charities.

A petition to stop the ban accrued more than 560,000 signatures, with the figure growing by the minute.

A spokesperson from the Dog Control Coalition – which is made up of RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, The Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association – also said it did not believe a ban would solve the issue.

In a statement, the coalition said: "The biggest priority for everyone involved is to protect the public - but banning the breed will sadly not stop these types of incidents recurring."

The coalition said that for 32 years, the Dangerous Dogs Act has focused on banning types of dog, but recent attacks suggested the approach was not working.

It said: "The UK government must tackle the root issue by dealing with the unscrupulous breeders, who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control.

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