500px provided description: This is a 1 year old american bully, also known as American X bully. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

More than 22,000 XL bully dogs have been spared from being put down after their owners successfully applied for exemptions to the ban.

Figures from the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), show there were 26,586 applications for exemptions with 4,166 of them denied.

The successful applications would allow owners to keep their dogs under certain conditions, such as paying a £92.40 charge and having third-party public liability insurance.

Furthermore, the owners cannot be under the age of 16 and they must allow police officers to check their dog’s microchip if asked.

The demand for a Certificate of Exemption was seemingly higher than the government appeared to have expected.

The statistics were published after the police confirmed that Esther Martin, 68, was fatally attacked killed by two XL bullies in Essex on Saturday, according to the BBC.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Weaver, of Essex Police, said: “I know there has been a huge amount of speculation about the breed and type of dog involved here, but it was really important we got that information right and established the fact.”

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, the breed has been added to the list of banned dogs in both England and Wales, which means that breeding, selling and abandoning them is a crime.