About Bully Watch
Bully Watch is a campaign formed in response to the growing number of victims of Bully XL and large Bully attacks. Our mission is to provide an evidence-based approach to understanding the potential risks associated with Bully XLs and other large Bully type breeds in the UK. We advocate for responsible ownership and call for a temporary ban on the selling and breeding of large Bully breeds until we have a better understanding of the data potentially connecting specific breeds to dog attacks in the UK.
The American Bully XL
The American Bully XL, a variant of the American Bully breed, is a modern breed of dog that originated in the United States. Developed as a companion dog, it is known for its strength relative to its size. This breed comes in several types, with the XL variant typically weighing between 40-50 kg and standing 20-23 inches tall at the shoulder.
The American Bully XL and the American Bully breeds have their foundation in the American Pit Bull Terrier (Pitbull), a breed that was added to the UK’s banned breeds list in 1991 under the Dangerous Dogs Act. The Pitbull was originally bred for its fighting ability, which is why it’s considered dangerous and is prohibited in the UK. Some believe that the crossbreeding of the Bully XL and the American Bully is an attempt to exploit a loophole in the Dangerous Dogs Act.
The scale of instances where American Bully XLs and other large Bully breeds have been involved in fatal attacks in the UK is growing. The genetic makeup of these dogs is often unknown due to constant breeding, making their temperament unpredictable. In 2021, out of four fatal dog attacks, the American Bully was responsible for two deaths. In 2022, out of ten fatal dog attacks, seven fatalities listed the American Bully as the breed responsible. Three of the victims have been professional dog handlers. These incidents involved victims ranging in ages from 17 months to 62 years old. These alarming statistics suggest that large Bully breeds may be responsible for the majority of dog attacks and fatalities.
Peer-reviewed medical studies from around the world clearly show that pit bull type dogs, which include the American Bully breeds, inflict the most damage when they bite. It is not the frequency of biting that matters, it is the style of biting, tearing at flesh and bone. A doctor involved in a paediatric study of 1616 children over a 4-year period stated that pit bulls inflict the most damage when they bite and they bite in numerous anatomical locations. The victims, if they survive, require highly complex surgery. As the doctor puts it, “even in the best owners’ homes and the sweetest of dogs, if a chihuahua has a bad day, it is a very different story to the pit bull having a bad day and disfiguring a child for life.”
Other studies have found:
- Dog-Bite Injuries to the Craniofacial Region (2019): Pit bull terriers inflicted more complex wounds, were often unprovoked, and went off property to attack. They also caused more unprovoked and complex wounds than German shepherds, Rottweilers, and huskies.
- Epidemiology, Socioeconomic Analysis, and Specialist Involvement in Dog Bite Wounds in Adults (2019): Pit bulls were the most common breed identified in dog-bite-related injuries, with most attacks involving the extremities.
- Dog bite injuries to the face: Is there an issue with breed ownership? (2018): Injuries from pit bulls and mixed breed dogs were both more frequent and more severe.
- Pediatric Dog Bite Injuries in Central Texas (2018): Pit bulls were the most-identified breed in dog bite injuries, responsible for 36.2% of cases.
- Dogs & Orthopaedic Injuries: Is There a Correlation With Breed? (2018): 50% of all dog bite-related emergency department visits that resulted in an orthopaedic injury requiring specialist treatment were the result of a pit bull terrier bite.
- Characteristics of Dog Bites in Arkansas (2018): Pit bulls were proportionally linked with more severe bite injuries.
- An Algorithmic Approach to Operative Management of Complex Pediatric Dog Bites (2017): Pit bulls accounted for 48.2% of the dog bites, and 47.8% of pit bull bites required intervention in the operating room.
- Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution (2017): Pit bull bites were implicated in half of all surgeries performed and were over 2.5 times as likely to bite in multiple anatomic locations as compared to other breeds.
- Neurosurgical sequelae of domestic dog attacks in children (2016): Pit bulls were among the breeds most frequently involved in attacks.
- Ocular Trauma From Dog Bites (2016): The most common breed of dog inflicting ocular injury was the pit bull (25%).
- Contemporary update on the treatment of dog bite: injuries to the oral and maxillofacial region (2014): Pit bulls were more frequently associated with injuries than other breeds.
- Morbidity of pediatric dog bites: a case series at a level one pediatric trauma center (2014): Pit bulls were most frequently responsible, accounting for 39% of incidents in which dog breed was documented.
- Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment (2014): One-third of dog bites were caused by pit bull terriers and resulted in the highest rate of consultation and had 5 times the relative rate of surgical intervention.
- Analysis of pediatric facial dog bites (2013): Pit bulls were among the most common breeds involved in dog bites.
- Dog bites of the face, head and neck in children (2011): More severe bites and injuries were observed in attacks from the pit-bull and Rottweiler breeds.
- Mortality, mauling, and maiming by vicious dogs (2011): Attacks by pit bulls were associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites.
We believe that education and awareness are key to preventing such tragic incidents. We aim to provide accurate information about these breeds, their temperament, and the importance of responsible ownership. We also advocate for stricter breeding regulations to ensure the health and safety of these dogs and the communities they live in. We are particularly concerned about the potential exploitation of legal loopholes that allow potentially dangerous breeds to proliferate.
Given the data, we are calling for an urgent temporary ban on the selling and breeding of Bully breeds in the UK. This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe it is a necessary step while we better understand the relationship between specific breeds and dog attacks. We need to change the narrative that these dogs are harmless. They can inflict severe damage, and people should exercise caution when considering this breed or when approaching this breed.
We invite you to join us in our mission to promote responsible dog ownership and breeding practices. Together, we can make a difference and ensure the safety of our communities. It’s important to remember that any dog, regardless of breed, can be a loving and safe companion with the right care. However, due to the potential severity of injuries caused by large Bully breeds and the unpredictability of their temperament, we believe it is crucial to take immediate action to prevent further harm.