NO firm decision has yet been made on whether to ban American bully XL dogs in Scotland, Humza Yousaf has said, although it will be considered.

The First Minister said he had asked his officials to liaise with counterparts in Whitehall to understand Rishi Sunak's plans for a ban south of the border.

The Prime Minister said he intended to to ban the dogs, which can weigh up to nine stone and overpower an adult, after another fatal dog attack on a man.

Mr Sunak said animals would be banned in England by the end of the year. 

It followed 52-year-old Ian Price dying after being attacked on Thursday by two dogs – suspected to be bully XLs – in Stonnall in Staffordshire.

A man 30-year-old man from Lichfield has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and having dogs dangerously out of control.

Mr Sunak said he had ordered ministers to bring together police and experts to define what counts as an American bully XL dog so they can be outlawed.

In a video on social media, the Tory leader said: “We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.

“These dogs are dangerous, I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe.”

Speaking to the media in Rutherglen, Mr Yousaf said he had asked his officials “to liaise with the UK Government to understand a little bit more about the proposals in relation to the ban”.

He added: “We have not made a firm decision yet.”

Because the American bully XL is not a recognised breed, defining which dogs will be banned - and potentially neutered or destroyed - is expected to be complicated.

With SNP backbencher Christine Grahame bringing forward a member’s bill to Holyrood on dog welfare, Mr Yousaf said that proposed legislation could mean “there may be opportunities to consider a ban up here in Scotland”.

But he stated: “We haven’t come to a firm conclusion on that.”

The Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) posted a statement from the Dog Control Coalition on its website.

It read: “The recent incidents are deeply distressing and our thoughts are with all those involved and affected.

“The biggest priority for everyone involved is to protect the public – but banning the breed will sadly not stop these types of incidents recurring.

“For 32 years, the Dangerous Dogs Act has focused on banning types of dog and yet has coincided with an increase in dog bites and the recent deaths show that this approach isn’t working.

"The UK Government must tackle the root issue by dealing with the unscrupulous breeders, who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control.

“It is also critical that any policy designed to protect public safety is based on robust evidence and we are deeply concerned about the lack of data behind this decision and its potential to prevent dog bites.”