ONWERS of XL Bully dogs are being urged to take action ahead of a ban on the breed being introduced next week.

From February 1, anyone found in possession of one of these dogs will face a criminal record and an unlimited fine if it is not registered and does not adhere to strict conditions.

The decision to ban XL Bully dogs comes following a rise in dog attacks and fatalities caused by the breed.

XL Bully owners have less than one week left to register their dog if they have not already done so.

The registration system will close at midday on January 31.

The UK’s Chief Vet is urging any remaining unregistered XL Bully owners not to delay any further and register their dog.

Alternatively, the owner can arrange an appointment with their veterinarian for their dog to be put down by January 31.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Please do not risk leaving it to the last minute if you want to keep your dog, you should register it now

“If you are unsure if your dog is an XL Bully or whether any puppies may grow up to be of this dog type, you should comply with the relevant requirements and restrictions.”

By registering their XL Bully, owners will have to comply with restrictions to ensure pets do not pose a danger to the public.

This includes having them microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled when in public and, to make sure these dogs cannot continue breeding, they must also be neutered.

For most dogs, this will be by 30 June, and for dogs under one year old, this should be by the end of 2024.

If owners are unsure whether their dog could be classed as an XL Bully, they should check their dog against Government guidance.

If someone has a dog that is clearly another established breed, the ban does not apply.