Former Carlton defender Liam Jones has officially returned to the Western Bulldogs, joining the Whitten Oval club eight years after departing the Dogs.

Jones joined Carlton ahead of the 2015 season where he flourished as a key defender before announcing his retirement from the AFL late last year due to the competition's league-wide vaccine mandate.

With the AFL having since altered the vaccine requirements for all AFL and AFLW players and staff, Jones has taken the necessary steps to return to the top flight after spending a majority of the year in the QAFL.

The 32-year-old has now returned to the Kennel as a free agent, with the Bulldogs adding to their backline while Carlton will still receive draft compensation for the move.

Jones' switch has seen Carlton earn Pick 49 for the 2022 National Draft, adding to their current hand of 10, 29, 64, 66 and 84.

The veteran defender is understood to have signed a multi-year deal with the Dogs, who will look to utilise the Tasmanian as a key pillar of their defence alongside Alex Keath and Ryan Gardner.