Every year we experience an influx in one or two breeds that suddenly become very popular, a fashion statement almost, as dog breeds of foreign origin have shot up in popularity whilst native British breeds are declining, with some now so unpopular that they could be at risk of disappearing from our streets and parks.
Every dog lover can relate to the following sequence of events:
You are walking along the street and you spot a dog breed that you remember from your childhood, and then realising that actually this dog is the first one of its type that you have seen for a number of years.
This presents several problems, notably the fact that people seem to be choosing breeds based on how fashionable they are or because of the fact that celebrities own them, rather than because they might be the right breed to match their lifestyle.
The most recent example, which hit the headlines, is the British public’s obsession with the French Bulldog. This foreign-originating breed has shot up in popularity in recent years, with a 47 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016 alone, but its not just French bulldogs taking the world by storm. Dachshunds, Pugs, Pomeranians and British Bull Dogs are others which have grown in popularity.
Another breed is Huskies, recently the daily mail wrote an article stating;
‘Hundreds of Huskies are being abandoned by Game Of Throne fans who want to have their very own ‘Direwolf’.’
British dog charities are concerned that Huskies are becoming the next ‘problem breed’ after being impulse bought by owners, only to find they can’t meet their demanding needs’
Direwolves of course were the dogs kept by the Stark family in Game of Thrones, acting as bodyguards to the children. However, since the show started in 2011 rescues have seen a huge increase in huskies being abandoned or handed into rescue centres.
With these breeds being plastered all over the tv and magazines it’s easy to understand why people are falling in love with them
However, it’s starting to become an issue, the problem with picking a breed as a fashion statement or because they’ve become so popular is that people don’t take into account the amount of upkeep of the dog nor do they understand the breeds needs
For example, huskies and other similar breeds are pack dogs, highly intelligent and easily bored.
They require a lot of stimulation, exercise and experienced owners.
That’s why they eat the sofa if they are holed-up all day. They are not lapdogs. I actually own a husky and know first hand the amount of work and dedication they take, mine is nearly 10 now so he’s getting on a bit and starting to slow down (slightly) however over the years I’ve had my hands well and truly full with him, if he wasn’t trying to escape out of the garden he was destroying something in the house or moulting everywhere… urgh the dog hair its endless!
Saying that, I love him to bits and wouldn’t swap him for the world, but you really do need to take into account that these are specialist dogs and should only be kept by people who have the time and energy to give to them.
Another breed dominating the dog world at the minute is the ‘doodle’ this can be anything from a Spaniel, Labrador, Cavalier, Border Collie or anything else that’s crossed with a poodle.
My concern with these breeds as lovely as they are is that people don’t take into account the costs involved with the upkeep, a poodles coat requires regular maintenance they should be kept on a regular grooming schedule of 4-6 weeks (usually varying between £30-£60 a time depending on size of breed and coat condition) this should start from as soon as the puppies had its first jabs to get them used to being handled, unfortunately a lot of people are being given bad advice regarding no grooming until at least 6 months old.
By this time they have usually experienced there first coat change from puppy to adult coat and it has become matted and needs to be shaved completely down to the skin, this can often be distressing for owner and dog and results in a few tears in the grooming salon.
With both breeds being crossed to create the ‘doodle’ being working breeds i.e. poodle x spaniel or poodle x Labrador people are neglecting the fact these dogs were made to work, they won’t be content cooped up in the house all day and need often exercise and mental stimulation otherwise it can lead to behavioural issues such as separation anxiety or aggression.
As with any breed the cost of up keep should always be taken into account before choosing your new best friend, a good grooming schedule ideally ranging from every 4-8 weeks depending on coat type will keep your dog comfortable, clean and happy.
Food costs will also vary on the size of dog you get, obviously a bigger breed will require more food than a smaller breed
Currently the rescue centres are bursting at the seems with breeds such as Huskies, staffies and x-breeds that are looking for there forever homes, so before spending a small fortune on the next big thing take a second thought for all the dogs that already need a home but be responsible before taking on any breed of dog think about your lifestyle, what breed is going to fit into it.
If you have plenty of time, energy and space then a working breed may just be perfect for you, however if you like the quieter life then maybe opt for a dog who requires less exercise or an older dog who just wants a nice retirement and enjoys a cuddle in front of the tv.
Still unsure which is the right breed for you? Ask around, speak to your local groomer, dog trainer or vet we are all here to help and remember when the time is right for you to welcome a new 4 legged best friend into your home visit your local rescue centre first and see if one of them cant steal your heart and then probably your sofa.
Caren Hill is a professional dog groomer, she owns and operates Dog House Grooming and Empawrium in Bakewell, an independent salon dedicated to providing the best in health and welfare for your four-legged best friend.
Find out more about Carens services on her website here https://doghousebakewell.com/