(KC Release) Official registrations of ‘wolf type’ dog breeds, popularised by the likes of Twilight and Game of Thrones, have dropped as rescue figures for these breeds continue to increase, leading to fears that unscrupulous breeders are cashing in on the latest canine craze.
The Kennel Club has released the statistics, ahead of Crufts, which show that pedigree registrations of dog breeds resembling the wolf, such as the Siberian Husky, Akita and Alaskan Malamute have dropped.
There was a 23 percent drop (to 1,053) in Alaskan Malamute registrations in 2012, a 15 percent drop (to 1,684) in Siberian Huskies, and a 30 percent drop (to 732) in Akitas.
At the same time, Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisations rehomed 203 dogs within these breeds last year, and this is just the tip of the iceberg with many other breed and general rescue homes also struggling to cope with the ever increasing numbers coming through their doors.
The Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisation, Akita Rescue and Welfare Trust, which will be at Crufts, saw the number of dogs needing rehoming treble to 91 in 2012 and the Friends of Akitas Trust took in another 35.
Similarly, the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Welfare Scheme reached its maximum capacity last year, which alongside two other rescue organisations took in 158 huskies in 2012. Meanwhile the Japanese Akita Welfare Trust rescued more than 100 dogs.
These breeds have gained popularity due to the likes of Jacob Black’s half man half wolf character in Twilight and the Dire Wolf based on the Northern Inuit dog in Game of Thrones, to which these breeds display close similarities.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Crufts is the perfect chance to get people talking about dogs, and we hope that the opportunity to see around 200 breeds over the course of the event will encourage people to research the differences between the various breeds before they buy.
“One of the biggest reasons that Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisations are overflowing with dogs is because people have bought a breed of dog that is not suited to their lifestyle, often from irresponsible breeders, and they later can’t cope with their needs.”
Stephanie Brown, from Akita Rescue & Welfare Trust which will be at the Kennel Club Breed Rescue area at Crufts, said: “We simply cannot cope with the ever growing number of Akitas we are being asked to take on.
Akitas are big strong dogs, should not be let off lead in public due to their prey drive and lack of recall. They are a luxury to own and are not cheap to look after. They are suitable for people who understand the specific breed traits and can give them a stable, permanent home.
“Too many people are advertising Akitas on the likes of Gumtree and Facebook and selling their pups with no papers to unsuitable homes. Many land in the hands of dog fighting gangs.
People on Facebook are putting their dogs out to stud for as little as a six pack of beer and selling puppies to the highest bidder. Health issues and temperament are of major importance in selective intelligent breeding. People should always do their research before they buy, and then only go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder or to one of the four UK Akita Rescues.”
Sue Jones, from Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Welfare, said: “All the Siberian rescues are inundated with unwanted Siberian Huskies. Sadly the breed is a victim of its own beauty and people buy without making themselves aware of its needs. Huskies need lots of exercise and company, to be kept on a lead when out on a walk and to have secure fencing in the garden.
“Sadly, people often want to walk the walk but aren’t willing to talk the talk when it comes to this breed.”
The Kennel Club is also concerned that people are buying these breeds of dog from unscrupulous breeders who are willing to sell puppies to people regardless of whether they are suited for their lifestyles.
Many of these breeders trade over the internet, which is the most popular way to buy a puppy. There is currently no legislation to deal with breeders who sell pups online, although the Kennel Club is one of a number of animal welfare charities trying to set guidelines of good practice through the Pet Advertising Advisory Group.
It also runs the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, so that people can find breeders who agree to put the health and welfare of their dogs first and who find out about the suitability of the owner before they sell their puppies.
Sally Leich, a Kennel Club Assured Breeder of Siberian Huskies, said: “Too many breeders are selling their puppies with no questions asked, in order to cash in on the latest canine craze. The internet makes this so much easier because you can simply get a puppy delivered to your door.
“Any good breeder will vet potential owners and make sure they know what the breed is like and that they have the right sort of lifestyle, before they would consider letting them have one of their pups.
“Siberians Huskies are a specialist breed and they have certain requirements; people should ensure that they are fully aware of these needs before they buy.”