A ban on XL bully dogs in Scotland is to brought in by the Scottish Government, the First Minister has confirmed.

Due to rising concerns over attacks and even deaths, the breed has been banned by the UK government in England and Wales under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

It will be illegal to own this type of dog south of the border from 1 February without an exemption certificate.

Speaking in Holyrood today the First Minister said a full statement on the matter would be given to parliament next week subject to the approval of the parliamentary bureau.

READ MORE: Scots told not to buy XL Bullies as government considers ban

He said at First Minister’s Questions: “What has become clear, I’m afraid in the last few weeks, is we have seen a flow of XL bully dogs coming to Scotland, a number of people coming to Scotland to bring XL bully dogs here to the country.

The Herald: XL BullyFirst Minister Humza Yousaf said Scotland will replicate legislation on XL Bullies which is in place in England and Wales.

"We will in essence replicate the legislation that is in England and Wales here in Scotland. Because ultimately although we do have a very good system of dog control notice schemes, and we do take the approach of deed not breed, we have to respond to the situation as it currently stands.

"And therefore we will do what we need to do to ensure public safety. But further detail will be given by the appropriate minister next week subject to parliamentary bureau [approval]."

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

The First Minister's announcement come just days after he said last Friday that he did not think a ban on the breed would be required.

His U turn was today seized upon by the Scottish Conservatives which had been pushing for a ban in Scotland since last autumn.

Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene said: “This is a humiliating U-turn for Humza Yousaf and the SNP Government. The First Minister and his colleagues have wasted months playing political games and causing worry, only to now announce they will, rightly, replicate the UK Government’s ban anyway.

“Having picked a needless fight with the UK Government, the SNP appeared blindsided by these dogs being rehomed in Scotland – when everyone else knew it would be the inevitable consequence of their actions.

“SNP ministers’ stubborn refusal to back a sensible UK-wide policy only put lives at risk in Scotland, caused unnecessary confusion and has led to huge repercussions over animal welfare.

“Humza Yousaf’s belated climbdown is welcome, but he has serious questions to answer over why this became a constitutional grievance and why he left it so late to take decisive action.”

STV reported yesterday that a 77-year-old woman was attacked by an XL Bully dog in Tullibody, near Alloa in Clackmannanshire, as she walked past it on a street.

Isobel Boyd’s arm was shredded and her knee fractured when she was attacked around 9am on December 20.

Ms Boyd spent 11 days in hospital where she had two operations including a skin graft. Police Scotland said the dog which attacked Ms Boyd was euthanised.

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

On Tuesday Scotland's Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown told MSPs she was urgently reviewing a ban following an influx of the dogs across the Border.

And she advised potential owners: "It would be preferable not to acquire any such dog at the present time in Scotland."

BBC Scotland News reported on Tuesday that it understood a Scottish ban could be in force by the end of January.

The Scottish Conservatives had pointed to widespread rehoming of the breed to Scotland since the change in legislation in England and Wales.

And Jamie Greene MSP told Holyrood on Tuesday: "I would not want to be the minister in charge of any policy who dithered and delayed a day longer than is necessary on this issue and another tragedy occurs."

The Scottish government had complained their UK counterparts had not kept them informed of the action they were taking.

Ms Brown told MSPs: "The unintended consequences of the UK government policy is that we're now seeing an influx of XL bully dogs coming into Scotland."

Last week a man claimed to have driven 30 dogs across the border for rehoming purposes.

Under the new UK laws, XL bully owners must apply for a permit, take out insurance, neuter their dogs and pay a £92.40 fee by the end of this month in order to keep the animals.

The breed has been linked to a series of attacks including the death of a man in Staffordshire.

The campaign group Bully Watch, which was formed in response to a series of high-profile attacks by the dogs, previously accused the Scottish government and SSPCA of being "asleep at the wheel".

And it called for action to be taken in Scotland "before it is too late".

Under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs definition, an XL bully has to be 20 inches in height if it is a male or 19 inches in height if it is a female.