Scots are being told not to buy XL Bullies while the Scottish Government is 'urgently' considering whether to ban the breed.

The move appears a substantial shift in ministers' position since Friday when Humza Yousaf said he did not think one was needed.

MSPs today pleaded with ministers to bring in a ban on the dogs to Scotland amid reports the animals are being rehomed north of the border after being outlawed in England and Wales.

Conservative MSP Jamie Greene and Labour MSP Pauline McNeill urged the Scottish Government to introduce a ban to stop the cross border movement of the dogs.

Members of the breed have killed a number of people in attacks, including young children.

READ MORE: XL Bullies: Alarm raised over control of dangerous dogs in Scotland

In Holyrood today Ms McNeill asked if it would "not make more sense to align with England and Wales" to prevent the dogs being brought into Scotland and also to protect the welfare of the animals.

Community safety minister Siobhian Brown said: "Urgent consideration is being put in place regarding this. I would say to any dog owner, they would need to understand if a possible ban does become introduced in Scotland - at this time any purchase of an XL Bully Dog would be made within the context, which may suggest it would be preferable not to acquire any such a dog at the present time in Scotland."

Mr Greene asked Ms Brown if she would reconsider her "position on further regulating the ownership of American XL bulldogs in Scotland, in light of reports of widespread re-homing from England to Scotland" which is raising public safety and animal welfare concerns.

READ MORE: Scotland 'not safe haven' for XL Bullies says Yousaf after 'influx'

Responding to Greene, Ms Brown said the matter was being "urgently reviewed".

She said: "It is important to ensure Scotland does not become a safe haven or a dumping ground for the XL bully dogs from England and Wales. And I can confirm to Jamie Greene and the chamber that in light of recent events ministers are urgently reviewing the policy on XL bully. Public safety will be paramount in our deliberations and a timetable for any policy change will be updated to Parliament imminently."

Mr Greene said he had been raising the issue for months with the government and noted how one dog had been found killed in Scotland after its rehoming had fallen through.

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

"I'm going to be frank because I've been raising this issue for months in this chamber. Everything we've warned might happen is sadly not happening. We've already seen the utterly horrific story over the weekend of a dog which was trafficked from England to Scotland," he said.

"It was unsuccessfully attempted to be sold online. The dog was then horrendously beaten to death...Please minister before it's too late. Will the Scottish Government, not announce a ban on these dogs, before a single life human or otherwise is lost?"

Ms Brown replied that the UK Government announced its decision to ban this dog breed "with no advance notice or consultation".

READ MORE: XL Bullies Scotland: Are XL bullies banned in Scotland?

She added: "No new breed type has been banned in the list for more than 30 years and it's important to carefully listen to the views of experts [in] dog control it was to help inform our policy approach in this area. And as I said in my first answer, it is under urgent review at the moment and any policy change will be told to Parliament imminently." 

SNP MSP Christine Grahame told Holyrood she was not in favour of banning the breed and said existing legislation should be amended.

She said: "I am appalled by dog attacks. However, the answer does not lie in adopting such hasty and simplistic regulations.

"In the same way, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has not worked. Will the minister therefore consider amending the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010, which I introduced and which intervenes early when there are behavioural problems with any breed of dog, to make it more effective, as it places the blame and responsibility where they lie—on the breeder and the owner, not the dog?"

Ms Brown replied: "A working group has been considering current legislation. I understand that the Welfare of Dogs (Scotland) Bill that has been introduced by Christine Grahame aims to highlight and raise awareness of responsible dog ownership—which, I think, we can all support.

"The Government welcomes any proposals that seek to improve animal welfare, and I look forward to working with Ms Grahame on the bill."

On Monday, pressed on the cross border movement of XL bullies, the First Minister said Scotland was 'not a safe haven' for the dogs and a ban was under review.

But last Friday, he said that while a ban was under review he did not think one would be required.

"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 then.

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