Rugby star wades into XL Bully ban as he campaigns to show 'other side of the breed'

Ben Spencer and an XL Bully

Rugby star wades into XL Bully ban as he campaigns to show 'other side of the breed'

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 01/12/2023

- 11:40

Bath scrum-half Ben Spencer has addressed the controvosies surrounding the breed

An England and Bath rugby star has waded into the XL Bully argument as he has defended the breed amid a controversial decision to ban the dogs in England and Wales.

Ben Spencer has said he would love the Prime Minister to meet his American XL Bully, Zola, who he described as a “family member”.

The 31-year-old said he wanted to show “the other side of the breed” as well as advocating for more responsible dog ownership.

The breed has proved controversial, with plans unveiled to ban it in the new year following a spate of highly publicised attacks.

WATCH MORE: Dog behaviour expert Nanci Creedon on the XL Bully bancan

Speaking to The Telegraph, the scrum half said: "I’d love for [Rishi Sunak] to meet Zola. I’d love for him to experience what we experience every day.

"Obviously, public safety is everyone’s number one. It is what everybody wants. Rishi’s doing his job too, to protect the public.

"But for me, this isn’t about one breed because take pit bulls for example, there’s more registered pit bulls now in the UK than there were in 1990 when they got banned.

"So, banning a breed and him then thinking that this will solve the problem is quite clear that it won’t."


Ben Spencer

Ben Spencer is backing the campaign


Ben lives in Somerset with Zola, his wife Jordan and three children Millie, six, Oscar, five, and three-year-old Nala.

Jordan said: "The XL bully has been massively exploited for this because of how much they would sell for.

"Unlicensed breeders can have up to three litters a year. Before the ban you are looking at it being around £5,000 per XL puppy. So that is why so many people have bred them."

Ben added: "Any sort of Tom, Dick and Harry could effectively have bred them. They’re not bothered about the temperament of dogs or the right genetics, it’s money in their pocket at the end of the day."

Ben Spencer

Ben Spencer plays rugby for Bath and England


Ben has lent his voice to the campaign group Don’t Ban Me, Licence Me who are lobbying the Government to end Breed Specific Legislation.

As things stand the breed will be "banned" but dogs such as Zola will be allowed to live with their owners once they are microchipped, neutered and wear a muzzle when walking in public areas.

Jordan said the couple are keen to educate dog owners and to raise the issue of mandatory licences with the Government.

Ben added: "Everyone wants dangerous dogs off the street. I’ve been quite open because Zola’s amazing and we wouldn’t want anything to happen to her."

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