THE First Minister has confirmed the Scottish Government will "in essence replicate" UK legislation banning XL bully dogs without a licence.

Humza Yousaf said the decision to replicate the Dangerous Dogs Act will be taken pending a parliamentary statement next week after the country saw an influx of dogs being abandoned north of the Border.

Speaking at FMQs, he said: “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.

"As such, we will give further details to members of the Scottish Parliament through a parliamentary statement if the Parliamentary Bureau agrees next week. 

"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 indeed not to 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."

From December 31, legislation in England and Wales means that all bully XLs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public. 

It comes ahead of a ban in February, when it will be a criminal offence to own an XL bully dog in England and Wales without a certificate. 

READ MORE: Minister 'concerned' amid reports of XL Bully dogs being rehomed in Scotland

Earlier in January, it was reported that one man had transported around 30 XL bullies to Scotland before a ban on the breed came into force south of the Border.

Sammy Wilkinson from the West Midlands repeatedly drove more than 200 miles to Scotland, collecting groups of XL bullies on the journey.

Last week, Yousaf had said that he did not think a ban on XL bully dogs would be required in Scotland.

He said: "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.

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