Scotland is not a “safe haven” for American XL bully dogs despite the breed’s ban in England and Wales but not north of the border, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said.

The First Minister said he has sought new advice on measures to keep people safe from the potentially dangerous dogs following reports of an influx of the banned breed to Scotland in recent weeks.

Animal charities suggest the situation has occurred after the UK Government banned the breeding, selling or abandonment on the dogs south of the border on December 31.

READ MORE: Scotland's XL Bully crisis: how it happened

On February 1, additional restrictions will apply with the dogs being made illegal in England and Wales, with exemptions for pets who are registered, neutered, microchipped, and have a muzzle and lead on in public.

The ban has not currently been taken forward in Scotland, with Mr Yousaf previously stating the measure was “under review”.

The Herald: First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP pictured during a Q&A after delivering a speech at the University of Glasgow, Monday 8 January 2024 on the topic of the Scottish economy. The speech was the first in a series of events outlining the Scottish Government's ambition for a more productive economy to achieve higher living standards in an independent Scotland.   Photograph by Colin Mearns, January 8 2024. He was asked about XL Bullies by journalists after the speech.

However, on Friday, he said advisers currently “don’t think it’s required”.

He said the Scottish Government was “monitoring the situation” and keeping a an “under review”, but he did not believe that such action was needed.

READ MORE: XL Bullies Scotland: Scottish SPCA issues new advice

“We are monitoring the situation, keeping close to those on the ground. We have a very controlled and quite tight regime when it comes to the management of animals, control of dogs, and that is something that is quite unique in Scotland compared to other parts of the UK,” he told Bauer Media on Friday.

“We are keeping the potential ban under review. We don’t think it is required but it is something we keep under continual review.”

But, on Monday, he told journalists: “Given some of what we’ve seen over the festive period – the anecdotal evidence of people bringing XL dogs to Scotland – we are keeping the policy under review.

READ MORE: XL Bullies Scotland: Dogs Trust pauses breed rescues

“I think it is important for us to make very clear that Scotland is not a safe haven for XL bully dogs.

“We do have a tight regime in relation to the control of dogs. But given what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks, it’s wise that that policy is immediately being kept under review.

“I’ve asked for some advice myself as First Minister, not just on just the current regime, but on what options there may be for us, in order to consider what more we may need to do in order to make sure that we keep people safe because that is our paramount priority.”

Siobhain Brown, the community safety minister, last week urged owners of XL Bullies not to bring the animals to Scotland.

READ MORE: 'SNP going through late adolescence since deal with Greens'

She said it was “concerning’ to hear reports that XL bully dogs were being moved to Scotland for rehoming.

She has written to the UK government to urge that “people in England and Wales do not use any loopholes . . . in getting rid of their dogs”.

The Herald revealed last week that the Scottish SPCA has said there is "no need" for owners to transport American XL Bullies from England and Wales to Scotland, amid reports of the banned dogs being brought across the Border. 

READ MORE: SNP urged to act as XL bully dogs to be banned in England and Wales

And the charity warned any owners doing so after the new restrictions came into force on December 31 will be committing an offence. 

The Scottish SPCA said in a statement: "There is no need for a caring owner in England or Wales to move a dog to Scotland, as they have until January 31 to register their dogs and comply with the conditions for exemption."

Reports emerged of one man claiming he transported 33 dogs to Scotland before midnight on Hogmanay. 

Animal welfare concerns have also been raised by the RSPCA following the ban south of the border.

The alarm was raised after an XL bully dog was found dead with a fractured skull and burn marks in an alleyway days before the ban began.

The charity also warned rescue shelters may not be able to cope with the significant increase in abandoned dogs.