The new year was seen in by a new law: a ban on XL Bully dogs. It is now illegal to sell, breed, or give away the breed under the Dangerous Dog Act, and from February 1 it will be against the law to own an XL Bully in England and Wales without an exemption.
Scotland followed suit on Thursday after First Minister Humza Yousaf said the country had seen an influx of the breed being brought across the border.
The ban came after a slew of fatal attacks by XL Bullys, including on a 10-year-old boy.
The move enraged owners of the breed across the country, with many taking to the streets to voice their opposition late last year.
While the Government has now made it more difficult for people to own XL Bullys, the weeks following the ban announcement saw an uptick in online searches for several other dogs often classed as “aggressive”, of which one came out on top by a country mile.
The Cane Corso appears to be on the minds of many Britons, according to data collected by Puppies, the UK’s largest dog marketplace.
An Italian breed of mastiff, they are usually kept as companions though increasingly as guard dogs and to protect livestock.
Historically, Cane Corsos were used for hunting large game and so have been bred in conditions often associated with violence.
Many celebrities have in the past been pictured with the breed, something which has led to its popularity. It is a story familiar to influencers with XL Bullys and the general public.
Vin Diesel has had one, as has actress Gillian Anderson, Sylvester Stallone, comedian Tracy Morgan, and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.
In the weeks after the Government announced its ban on the XL Bully, online searches for Cane Corso and other ‘aggressive’ breeds skyrocketed.
While searches for XL Bully’s declined by 47 percent, searches for Cane Corso increased by 36 percent.
According to Puppies, with over 170,000 monthly Google searches, “the Cane Corso is likely to take the XL Bully’s spot”.
A spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Our data highlights that the XL Bully ban may just be a quick fix rather than an actual solution to the real issue at hand – dog breeds with aggressive tendencies are not being properly trained or socialised.
“Buying any dog is a serious commitment to make, but those buying dogs like Cane Corsos, Rottweilers and German Shepherds need to go the extra mile to ensure that people feel safe around their pets.”
The Cane Corso was closely followed by the Rottweiler, whose online search had increased by 35 percent, amounting to 84,000 monthly searches.
Then came German Shepherds at 77,000 monthly searches, followed by Staffordshire Bull Terriers, at 50,000, and the Jack Russell Terrier at 20,000 searches.
Of all the cities in the UK, Leeds came out on top in its searches for what Puppies described as “aggressive” breeds at 2,715 searches per 100,000 residents.
Manchester followed the northern English city with 2,048 searches, and Cambridge came a close third with 1,704.
Express.co.uk previously spoke to an XL Bully owner who said the dog had been demonised because of mistreatment and misunderstanding. Similarly, canine experts argued it was wrong to say that any breed of dog is inherently aggressive. Rather, they said this behaviour is taught.