Advice on Banned Dog Breeds

Permission for keeping a dog at a Dover District Council property will be denied for any dogs that fall under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It is an offence to possess any dog of the type known as:

  • Pit Bull Terrier,
  • Dogo Argentino,
  • Fila Braziliero
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American Bully XL (also known as XL Bully), as of 1 February 2024

It’s illegal to breed, sell, give away or abandon a banned type of dog. 

If you own a currently banned breed type, and don’t have a certificate of exemption to keep them, the police can seize the dog and keep them, even if they’re not acting dangerously and no complaint has been made.  A court process is then needed to determine if the dog poses a danger to the public and if the owner can apply for an exemption certificate.

In rare cases, DDC might provide permission to keep a banned dog, providing that DDC are satisfied the animals have secured exemption from the prohibition. This means that a court was satisfied that the dog posed no risk to public safety and has been placed on the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED).

What happens if you own an American Bully XL? 

On Tuesday 31 October, the Government announced that the American Bully XL type dog has been added to the banned breeds list in England and Wales. 

From 31 December 2023 breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing an American Bully XL dog to stray will be illegal. From this date, these dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public. 

From 1 February 2024, it will then become illegal to own an American Bully XL dog if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

To keep an American Bully XL dog by obtaining a Certificate of Exemption, you must ensure they are:

  • microchipped.
  • neutered (If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, they must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If your dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, they must be neutered by 30 June 2024. We recommend that you arrange for your dog to be neutered as soon as possible, when they are old enough.)
  • kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
  • kept in a secure place so that they can’t escape.

And owners must:

  • have third party liability insurance against your dog injuring other people
  • be aged over 16
  • show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days
  • let the Index of Exempt Dogs know if you change address, or if your dog dies.

How do you know if you dog will be classed as an American Bully XL?

Please see the official definition on the government website, or view guidance on the Dogs Trust website, as they will support you to determine the breed of dog, using measurements and characteristics. 

How do you apply for a Certificate of Exemption?

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales unless you have a Certificate of Exemption for your dog.  You will need a certificate of exemption to keep your dog in a Dover District Council home. You will need to provide your Housing Officer of proof of your Certificate of Exemption once you are in receipt of it.

Before you apply for a Certificate of Exemption you must: 

Please use the following resources to help you:




To keep updated with the latest news and consultations about the housing for tenants service, please sign up to Keep Me Posted and tick 'Housing For Tenants'.