A spokesman for the Scottish government?s Animal Health and Welfare department said that public consultations on the issue had revealed convincing arguments from both sides of the debate.

He added the decision on the ban was one the Scottish government was reluctant to make before reviewing the results of DEFRA?s in-depth study, expected to be completed in 2010.

Disappointment has been expressed by the Kennel Club at the announcement that there have been delays to the ban.

Caroline Kisko, the secretary of the Kennel Club, said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the decision taken by the Scottish government, but given the cross-party support we have from MSP’s we will continue to push for a ban.”