According to government figures, almost 3,500 banned dogs live in homes with their owners in England, Scotland and Wales.
The shocking figures come as the government decides to add the dangerous XL Bully to the banned breed list following a spate of horror attacks.
The BBC In a request for information, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) received data showing that there are 3,499 banned dogs registered in the UK.
Almost all were pit bull terriers, including 3,316 in England and 149 in Wales. Although there were 13 banned dogs in Scotland, the breeds were not disclosed.
Ten years ago there were 2,323 banned dogs living in homes in the UK – 2,317 of which were pit bulls.
There are currently four dog breeds on the Dangerous Dogs Act banned list in the UK, including the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.
According to government figures, almost 3,500 banned dogs live in homes with their owners in England, Scotland and Wales. Most are pit bull terriers (archive photo)
West Midlands Police released footage of banned dogs being confiscated. Here, the XL Bully is visibly concerned as he roars and moves through a yard filled with trash
An 18-year-old was taken to hospital for emergency treatment last week after he was brutally attacked by a dog believed to be an XL Bully outside a block of flats in Scotland
Last month, 11-year-old student Ana Paun was attacked by a dangerous XL bully in Birmingham after it charged at her. Brave members of the audience did everything they could to drive away the crazy beast
These dog breeds can be taken away from their owners unless they are included in the list of exempt dogs, which is created when the court considers that the dog does not pose a danger to the public.
Owners must prove to court that they are fit and proper to care for a dog and adhere to strict husbandry rules, such as using a muzzle for their pets.
Last month, after a series of attacks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said American XL Bully dogs would be added to the dangerous dog list by the end of the year, calling the breed a “danger to our communities.”
Earlier this month, a woman was injured after being attacked by her own American XL thug in Norfolk.
Meanwhile, 11-year-old student Ana Paun was attacked by a dangerous XL bully, which pounced on her as she lay unleashed in a bus stop in Birmingham as she walked home from candy shopping with her sister.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, traumatized Ana said: “The dog just came at me out of nowhere.”
“I went to the store with my older sister and the dog was with its owner, who was standing at a bus stop.
“The dog was staring at me and as I approached, he suddenly jumped up and bit me on the arm. He didn’t take his eyes off me and continued to stare while he bit.”
“It kind of stuck to my arm and wouldn’t let me go. ‘I screamed as loud as I could.’
Ana Paun was shopping with her 18-year-old sister last month when the powerful bulldog jumped out of a bus stop at them
Last month Ian Price, a 52-year-old man from Staffordshire, died in hospital after being attacked by two American XL thugs.
In November last year, 10-year-old Jack Lis was killed by an American XL thug at a friend’s house in South Wales.
The dog’s owners, Amy Salter and Brandon Haydon, were jailed as a result of the attack.
As the government prepares to ban the breed, Brits continue to be reminded of the dangers of the XL Bully.
Just yesterday, shocking footage showed police attacking wild XL bully dogs with riot shields and lasso sticks after officers carried out 800 encounters in just four months.
West Midlands Police’s dangerous dog handlers team said they seized almost 100 out-of-control dogs between April and July this year.
Footage released by police showed an XL bully growling as it paced back and forth in a rubbish-strewn garden – before an officer could be heard saying “good shot” after the huge 60kg dog was stunned with an arrow .
Last month, after a series of attacks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said American XL Bully dogs would be added to the dangerous dog list by the end of the year, calling the breed a “danger to our communities.” (File image of XL Bully)
In addition to the pit bull, three other traditional fighting breeds are banned: the Japanese Tosa (pictured), the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro
You can see a Dogo Argentino running through a field. The dog was banned because of its use in martial arts
The Fila Brasileiro, originally from Brazil, was the other breed banned in 1991
It came just a week after an XL bully mauled an 18-year-old boy outside a block of flats in Scotland – one of the latest incidents in a wave of attacks that has hit people by the soon-to-be banned breed.
In a video, he can be seen lying helpless on the ground as the dog bites him relentlessly.
The young man was taken to hospital for emergency treatment after being mauled by the brown and white hunting dog last week.
This comes just days after a woman in her 60s was mauled by her pet XL Bully – which she adopted from Dogs Trust less than a month ago – before it ran into a nearby primary school.
The Environment Secretary said this week that the UK government is “pretty close” to pushing ahead with a proposed ban on the breed.
Therese Coffey said she believed a “good definition” of the type of dog had been agreed and only “a few other things” such as compensation still needed to be signed.
Ms Coffey said the British government estimated there were about 10,000 American XL bullies in the UK, while animal welfare group Blue Cross estimated closer to 15,000.
Dog legislation officer Paul Jameson told the BBC that assessing XL bullies will be challenging.
“We don’t have exact numbers on how many of these dogs there actually are,” he said. “I would say there are thousands.”