The Dramatic Rise of Attacks by XL Bully Dogs
Overview: In recent years, we have witnessed a growing interest in XL bully dogs, a new breed of muscular and powerful canine that has captured the attention of dog enthusiasts around the World.
The breed started in America in the 1980s and was made popular in Hip Hop videos, by the late 1990s they had morphed into the dogs we see today. They range from Pocket to XL depending on size and weight. However, I will concentrate on the reputation and development of the American Bully XL and its impact on the UK market.
American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC). Their breed standard describes the dogs as giving the “impression of great strength for its size”. In 2008, the American Bully was recognized by the European Bully Kennel Club (EBKC), and on July 15, 2013, by the United Kennel Club (UKC).
Neither the UK Kennel Club (KC) nor the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognise or accept the American Bully into their registry, at least we can thank them for that small mercy.
Are There Different Sizes?: The American Bully Kennel Club, lists four types of American bullies that are determined by an adult dog’s height. They are the Pocket American Bully the Standard American Bully, the Classic, and finally the XL Bully.
Although they differ in size, these dogs’ general configuration and appearance remain constant in that they should be medium/large-size dogs with compact muscular bodies, heavy bones, and blocky squarish heads.
The type most often in the news is the American XL Bully the largest of the four Bully types and is in my opinion the extremely dangerous one. The XL male must be no more than 23 inches tall and females up 22 inches. The males can weigh between 70 and 130 pounds of muscle, and bone they have enormous strength. Of course, these sizes and weights are only for the show ring., Many that are up for sale in the US and the UK are far heavier and taller with weights of over 150lb.
Genetic Starting Base: The gene base for all four sizes of American Bullies is the American Pit Bull Terrier. which is then bred with a number of other dogs to build either a smaller or a stockier more heavily muscled animal.
In the creation of the XL Bully, the other breeds crossed with the Pitbull are always large heavily muscled dogs like the American Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, Cane Corso and the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier. plus a number of large mastiff-type breeds.
Please do not mix the American Staffie with the much smaller and far less aggressive English Staffordshire Bull Terrier. (1) History of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Are The XL Bullies Common in the UK: Though a very new breed, they have spread rapidly to most countries in the World. Despite their notoriety, they are still only a small amount of these dogs in the UK
In the UK they have become the most sought-after breed of dog and are one of the most recent and most talked about of all the latest crossbreeds. for all the wrong reasons. These dogs are incredibly reactive and aggressive to both humans and dogs and almost any other animals.
Aggression: Are XLs aggressive? In America, this breed is described as being “gentle giants, a welcoming and friendly companion dog that is full of vigour. This Bully dog is not afraid to socialise and meet new people. He is bred to be sociable”.
“American Bullies are bred as family dogs since they adapt well to living with children. They are highly tolerant of children and strangers. Unfortunately, the record of this dog’s behaviour in the UK matches none of the characteristics and behaviour”.
I would imagine the gene pool in the UK is far smaller than in America. It could be that the writers of these glowing testaments are talking about the behaviour of their dogs and not the breed as a whole. Or they are looking through rose-tinted glasses, or they are lying. May I suggest all of those reasons are probably true?
Why Do I Think These Dogs Are Dangerous: As a Dog Behaviourist and an Expert Witness under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. One of my specialities was in all types of aggression. I believe these dogs are over-reactive, stimulated by movement, distrustful of strangers and incredibly strong.
I have assessed and been involved in numerous cases that have gone to court, many that I have assessed or defended in court showed the dog as not inherently aggressive. Unfortunately, a number did.
I have worked with every breed and crossbreed. I have never refused to assess or work with any type of dog breeds over 40 years, owning, handling, assessing and working with tens of thousands of them.
Though I have retired now, this breed of dog is one I would now over the last three years refuse to work with, simply because of the danger to both humans and other dogs. I believe they are probably the most dangerous breed ever created and the following figures and statistics bear that statement out.
Remember these are a new American breed and are particularly new to the UK. I would like to point out that these bully breeds were also bred for dog fighting and two of the main crosses in XL Bullys are the American Bulldog and the American Pitbull Terrier both commonly used. in the sport of Schutzhund.
Schutzhund, currently known competitively as IGP and previously as IPO, is a dog sport that tests a dog’s tracking, obedience, and protection skills. The tracking and protection part is to track and then the protection part is to test the bite ability of the dog.
Dog Attacks and Deaths in the UK: Typically, there are less than 3 fatalities a year In 2021 there were four deaths one was a young 10-year-old boy called Jack Lis. Out of the four deaths two were by American XL Bullies including Jack Lis., and one by an American Bulldog.
However, in 2022 there was a massive leap in fatalities 10 people were killed, 6 of them killed by American XL Bullies and the 7th victim was by an American Bulldog. There have been eight deaths already this year. One you may have read or heard about was a professional dog walker called Natasha Johnston.. there were 8 dogs implicated in the attack. Whilst writing this article the Police issued an update saying she was killed by her own dog an XL Bully, the 2nd death was by an American Bulldog, the third an XL Bully X Cane Corso and the fourth was not unsurprisingly an XL Bully.
Why did the police put the Cane Corso in as a cross when they are often used to create the XL Bully in the first place? On the 5th death, they have not released the breed of dog or the victim’s name but she was 70 years old and was sunning herself in the garden when the attack occurred. The dog was described as a large bulldog-type breed and was believed to be a banned breed. Therefore almost certainly a Pit Bull or an XL Bully. The sixth death was two Rottweillers once again Mastiff Breeds.
Conclusion: Think for just a minute about those facts and statistics, The majority of the fatalities including children as young as 17 months were caused by one breed of dog that is new and fairly rare in this country. People are buying them as family pets on the glowing approbation of the breeders in America.
in my role as an expert witness, I have had to assess many dogs that were either banned breeds or had attacked or killed somebody. The majority were psychologically and temperamentally sound. I always felt that the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act was flawed from the outset and despite tinkering it is still unfit for purpose..
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) I was intrinsically against BSL as it does not take into consideration the two aspects of learning for dogs, they are how a young dog’s personality and temperament are formed. Genetics is just one part of the equation. Socialisation and training especially in the first 16 weeks of a dog’s life are critical factors and have an enormous impact on the behavioural outcome of that dog.
Having said that, I believe what they have done with the American XL Bully is to create a dog that is dangerous. For once in my life I believe that something drastic must be done to curb this ultra-aggressive and hyper-reactive breed. Let’s start by banning all imports of these dogs from America and any other country that is breeding and importing them. Put a ban on the breeding and selling of these dogs in all parts of the UK and start educating the general public on how to raise a well-rounded and safe dog when they first get a puppy. (2) The First 16 Weeks of a Dog’s Life
We should consider bringing a licencing system that would mean people would have to take a short exam on dog ownership followed by a couple of hours of a practical test like you would have to get a driving licence but not as onerous. Most people especially during lockdown on a whim without any research or knowledge on how dogs think or learn. Most dogs are not socialised or trained enough during that first 16-week period.
The humans who tinker with genetics and DNA either for profit or fun are the real villains of the piece. I watched a Netflix series called Unnatural Selection
In the series, a dog breeder, a totally untrained layman working as an oil field technician was experimenting with genetics and altering the DNA of dogs.
His own dogs were mainly American XL Bully-type dogs and he had a lot of them. He was buying DNA manipulation kits so as to speed up the dramatic changes that people wanted in this breed of dog.
He artificially inseminated and extracted semen and eggs from his dogs he was experimenting to make rapid genetic changes in his animals. The man in question lives in Mississippi USA.
Perhaps he or someone else succeeded? If so that could explain the sudden dramatic climb in fatal attacks from these XL Bully Breeds. It has now been reported that the XL American Bully dogs in the UK are 270 times more likely to kill than any other dog breed, according to a new analysis of public data by Bullywatch.
I assessed quite a number of XL bullies before my retirement nearly all of them were sound however something changed quite recently and we started hearing about attacks on dogs and people then in 2021 deaths started to increase. In 2022 we had a record year for fatal dog attacks the majority were linked to XL Bullies and American Bulldogs.
There is a dog called Kimbo that according to Bullywatch is in 50% of the current Bully XLs bloodlines in the UK. He was bred by Gustavo Castro in America and he was born from a brother-sister pairing, with his grandparents sharing also the same father. This type of inbreeding can cause reactive and aggressive tendencies and may be the reason for the spate of attacks
According to BullyWatch, Kimbo was purposely inbred to create a larger, more muscular frame. Kimbo’s nickname is Killer KImbo a well-known ultra-aggressive fighting dog. Could this highly inbred dog be the reason for this sudden rise in deaths? from one crossbreed?
These American XL Bullies were not overtly aggressive until three years ago then something went dramatically wrong and it has certainly been caused by genetics as it happened suddenly therefore either bloodline or genetic tinkering with the genome sequences of these dogs could be the reason for these shocking attacks.
The term “canine genome” refers to the entire sequence of the dog genome including all the genes and the spaces in between. Genes can determine how your dog will develop from the colour of its eyes to temperament, personality, and of course aggressive traits.
What I am concerned about is whatever happened has created a Frankenstein monster of a dog. Legislation is urgently required before many more children, adults, and dogs are killed. Certainly, we should look at the instances of genome editing and the many moral and ethical dilemmas associated with amateurs tinkering with the animals’ DNA. Plus any historic attacks both here and in the USA from the gene pool of Kimbo and other fighting bloodlines.
It may surprise you to know that main dog aggression, about 93%, is fear-based, and is normally created through a lack of socialisation in the pup’s formative critical periods, as mentioned earlier. The problem with the XL Bullies their aggression is not related to socialisation, though that can exacerbate the problem. The real concern is their powerful genetic disposition for predatory and reactive aggression. These dogs were bred to fight and attack. They are the type of dogs that were used in Bull and Bear Baiting, and dog fighting, They also hark back to the famous dogs of war used by the Romans to create their empire and of course to invade Britain.
Has anyone heard anything from the Government about this problem? I have been saying this on TV and Radio for the last 6 months. Neither DEFRA nor the Government has uttered a word about the fact that In the last 3 years, the vast majority of deaths have been caused by one specific type of dog.
I also have a petition regarding Dog Theft it has 543,294 signatures The Government promised to change the law nearly two years ago. Has it been done has the severity of the sentencing changed and have they changed the charge from stolen property like a laptop or mobile to abducting a family pet and sentient animal with all that entails? You can guess the answer. See below for a link to the petition.
I think this article is important enough to share on all media platforms. Some of the media platforms are shown below.
Stan Rawlinson 17 May 2023
Dog Behaviourist and Expert Witness
(3) The Alpha Myth