The sale of dangerous dogs with no warnings or checks is available for anyone to purchase online, according to an exclusive report.

Hundreds of XL American bullys and American bulldogs are being sold on sites such as Gumtree and Pets 4 Homes. With just a few clicks we found over 20,000 dogs for sale across the country

Dog experts are warning anyone buying a pup online to make careful checks before taking a potentially dangerous pet into their home.

They also want more regulation of breeders and mandatory training for owners and dogs to help prevent attacks.

Hundreds of XL American bullys and American bulldogs are being sold on sites such as Gumtree and Pets 4 Homes.

With just a few clicks we found over 20,000 dogs for sale on Gumtree and Pets 4 Homes across the country, a mix of puppies and adult dogs looking to be sold on to a new home.

Of these, 1,049 were American bullys – including 128 in Manchester, 201 in London and 75 in Leeds – and 135 were American Bulldogs.

Several of the listings alluded to behavioural problems with the dogs, for example advertising them as “not suitable for a family with a young child”.

A vicious American Bulldog snarls in anger

American bullys are a cross of various guard dog breeds including the American pit bull terrier, a breed banned in the UK under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. Bullys or bully crosses were behind six in 10 fatal dog attacks last year.

Experts say the sale of animals online needs careful attention to stay safe.

Shaun Hesmondhalgh, an expert in dangerous dog legislation, said: “Anyone can say, ‘I fancy an American bulldog’, and just pick one up from a site such as Gumtree. But it can be people haven’t done the homework, they don’t know anything about the breeder, what the breeding conditions were, what the dog’s parents were like and if they had behavioural problems, whether it was a backstreet amateur breeder.

“The public have to take responsibility, and they have to be more sensible about where they are buying their dogs from.

“There needs to be an element of ‘buyer beware’ when purchasing an animal online without checks.”

He warned crosses created from aggressive breeds can be hard to control.

Luna-Ann Forsyth, age 4, was savaged by an American Bulldog 

He added: “With the bigger breeds, we are crossing formidable dogs that probably shouldn’t be getting crossed – we have to ask what people are creating.

“The danger is when we cross something like that with other breeds, do we then create essentially a dog that has genetic issues that becomes a danger to the human population?

“I have absolutely fantastic people who come to me, who love and care for their pets but have an out-of-control or really dangerous dog, but are willing to put their hands in their pocket and get support and help.

“In those cases, you can’t say, ‘It’s not the dog, it’s the owner’. It’s a myth.”

Bullys fetch up to £1,750 online, with prices up to £3,000 for American bulldogs, the breed believed to have mauled four-year-old Luna-Ann Forsyth in Nuneaton, Warks last week.

Pets 4 Homes carries an advert for an XL American bulldog puppy for sale at £700, which is described as “not suitable for a family with a young child”.

Potentially dangerous dogs for sale on the internet

Another up for £900 is described as “a barker, very protective if she doesn’t know you. Not in an aggressive way but she can be protective”.

On Gumtree, an owner trying to re-home her eight-month-old “big girl” bully says: “The dog is now stronger than me, I just can’t walk her as much as she needs due to this, also having three children.”

Dog behaviourist Zoe Willingham said: “The online selling of animals is a real problem, but the biggest issue is when you put that together with animals that have the potential to cause harm. It feels like a volcano waiting to erupt.

“I think every person that gets a dog should have to do some training. A mandatory ‘doggy parenting’ course would be a great idea to try and prevent problems from the outset.”

Bullys have become a fashionable breed like cockapoos and French bulldogs before them. Of the estimated 2,160 dogs reported stolen in 2022, American bulldogs were targeted the most, accounting for 90 of the total.

Zoe added: “With fashionable dogs, breeders will often try and get ahead of the curve and start breeding more of them. If they haven’t had the best of breeding and aren’t being kept in the right way trouble can happen.

Dog behaviourist Zoe Willingham wants mandatory training for dog owners

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