Dangerous dogs


  1. Overview
  2. Ban on XL Bully dogs
  3. If you are concerned about a dangerous dog


The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 lists certain breeds of dogs, namely:

  • The Pit Bull Terrier
  • The Japanese Tosa
  • The Dogo Argentino
  • The Fila Brasiliero

It is illegal to own any of these dogs without specific exemption from a court.

However, any dog may be considered to be dangerous under the above Act. An offence is committed by the owner of the dog and by any other person in charge of it at the time, if the dog is allowed to be 'dangerously out of control'. A more serious offence will be committed if the dog while so out of control injures a person.

For further information on controlling your dog in public visit: Gov.uk: Controlling your dog in public

Ban on XL Bully dogs

From 31 December 2023 it will be against the law to: 

  • sell an XL Bully dog 
  • abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray 
  • give away an XL Bully dog 
  • breed from an XL Bully dog 
  • have an XL Bully dog in public without a lead and muzzle 

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a valid Certificate of Exemption. 

Find out more about how to prepare for the ban on XL Bully dogs

Owners who choose to have their dog put to sleep can apply for compensation. Further details on how to apply for compensation can be accessed at GOV.UK: Claim compensation for an XL Bully.

If you are concerned about a dangerous dog

If you are concerned about a dangerous dog you should contact Northumbria Police on 999 (if it is an emergency) or on 101 (if you are not in immediate danger) and ask that the matter be reported to the Dog Legislation Officer. 

If threatened by a dog:

  1. Stand still
  2. Do not scream
  3. Avoid eye contact, but don't lose sight of the dog. Try to remain motionless
  4. Keep your hands reasonably high. Moving hands tend to be the first to be bitten
  5. Use any object in your hand, like a shopping bag, to block the approach of a dog. If you are a cyclist, dismount and position your bicycle between you and the dog
  6. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and play dead
  7. Do not ever turn your back on the dog
  8. Never, ever, run