A TIDWORTH-based dog trainer has criticised the upcoming ban on American XL Bully dogs. 

Hannah McMillan has said that she disagrees with the ban and that "many of these dogs are owned by good responsible owners, and the dogs can be extremely loving". 

If the ban goes through, owners of the American XL Bully will need to keep their dogs on a lead and have them muzzled when out. The dogs will also need to be neutered and insured.

Hannah trains and looks at the behaviours of dogs. She said: “With the possibility of an imposing ban, which I entirely disagree with because many of these dogs are owned by good responsible owners, the dogs themselves can be extremely loving, and docile.”

Andover Advertiser: Hannah McMillanHannah McMillan (Image: Hannah McMillan)Hannah admitted that the breed, which can weigh up to 60kg, can cause a great deal of damage compared to some dogs.

She said: “While all dogs can bite and cause harm, these larger breeds can absolutely do enough harm to kill a person.”

The dogs were first introduced to the UK in 2014, with puppies selling for thousands of pounds but once the ban is in, it will be illegal to sell, breed or even give away the XL bully.

Last week, 52-year-old Ian Price was killed by suspected XL bullies in Staffordshire and 11-year-old Ana Paun was attacked in Birmingham which led Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to call for the XL bully to be banned.

Hannah advises XL Bully owners to start making sure their dog is adequately trained, and that there is good recall, good leash skills and good obedience in a public setting as owners will need to have good control of them.

Andover Advertiser: Hannah McMillanHannah McMillan (Image: Hannah McMillan)She said: “Owners will need to muzzle train their dog to happily wear a suitably sized basket muzzle that the dog can fully pant, eat and drink whilst wearing.

“Muzzle conditioning can take months for some dogs so don't wait until the ban comes in place. I would also get public liability insurance for your dog from The Dog's Trust for just £25 a year as this is also something that current banned breeds have to take out if exempt. "

On Friday, September 15, the Government announced that the dogs will be banned with Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey to convene experts to define the American XL Bully breed type - a first step towards adding it to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. 

Hannah added: “It's a real shame that instead of looking at possible causes for these unfortunate events in the news recently - poor breeding/genetics, no training, poor socialisation, unsuitable owners/environment, breed-specific needs not being met etc, instead, the XL Bully is going to be fully blamed entirely.

“The majority of these dogs who cause no trouble at all, will be subjected to new laws all because of how they look.”