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Animal shelters braced influx of 'designer' dogs

PUBLISHED: 06:30 04 October 2019

Precious and Chino, the 6 and 7 year old Chihuahuas, were rehomed in Suffolk in 2019 Picture: SUFFOLK RSPCA

Precious and Chino, the 6 and 7 year old Chihuahuas, were rehomed in Suffolk in 2019 Picture: SUFFOLK RSPCA

Suffolk RSPCA

Suffolk's RSPCA shelters are braced for an influx of 'designer' dogs after an explosion in the popularity of toy breeds and crossbreeds.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers like Bailey are still among the most common dogs coming into RSPCA shelters, but toy breeds and crossbreeds have begun to appear in large numbers Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDStaffordshire Bull Terriers like Bailey are still among the most common dogs coming into RSPCA shelters, but toy breeds and crossbreeds have begun to appear in large numbers Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

While breeds such as Staffordshire bull terriers, German shepherds and lurchers are still the most frequently rescued dogs in RSPCA shelters, the number of chihuahuas coming into the charity's care nationwide has gone up by 700% in the last seven years - from 14 in 2012 to 112 in 2018.

The number of French bulldogs is up 236%, dachshunds are up 600% and pomeranians are up 440% in the same period.

Zoe Barrett, animal centre manager at Martlesham, said: "We know that the animals coming into our care tend to reflect general dog ownership trends and there's been a huge surge in recent years in people buying 'designer dogs' and crossbreeds such as cockerpoos, puggles and cavachons (cavalier King Charles spainel crossed with a Bichon Frise).

"All the animals in our care have a lot of love to give and we have a huge variety of dogs in our kennels waiting for homes, of all ages, shapes, sizes and breeds.

Blue the lurcher was rehomed after more than 700 days with the Suffolk RSPCA, having come to stay at the shelter twice after previous owners could no longer look after him Picture: RSPCABlue the lurcher was rehomed after more than 700 days with the Suffolk RSPCA, having come to stay at the shelter twice after previous owners could no longer look after him Picture: RSPCA

"If you do have the time and money for a dog then we'd urge you to consider rescuing instead of buying a puppy and give a rescue dog a chance at finding their forever home."

Last year the RSPCA rescued 60 dogs and rehomed 70 from abuse and neglect in Suffolk and received 7,930 calls to its 24-hour cruelty hotline about animals in the county.

In a bid to encourage more people to consider adopting a dog over buying a puppy, the charity has launched its month-long 'Adoptober' campaign to help the good boys and girls in their care find a forever hom'.

The charity is also seeing more crossbreeds and breeds used for popular crosses - such as cocker spaniels and poodles - arriving in its centres as inspectors shut down puppy farms and collect abandoned dogs and puppies.

Roxy the eight-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Picture: RSPCARoxy the eight-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Picture: RSPCA

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: "We are seeing an increase in the number of fashionable crossbreeds and so-called designer dogs like dachshunds and French bulldogs arriving in our care.

"As part of our rehoming drive this October we want to shine a light on all of the dogs in our care and encourage people to adopt a rescue dog instead of buying a puppy."

What dogs can I adopt in Suffolk right now?

Skye the eight-year-old German shepard Picture: RSPCASkye the eight-year-old German shepard Picture: RSPCA

Roxy, the eight-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, is staying at the Mid Norfolk and North Suffolk shelter.

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The team at the shelter describe her as a very sweet girl who loves a cuddle and a play with her favourite toy rabbit.

A poorly dog when she arrived at the RSPCA, she is now on a specialist diet and in need of a loving home.

Harris the eight-year-old Patterdale terrier Picture: RSPCAHarris the eight-year-old Patterdale terrier Picture: RSPCA

Roxy would be best suited to a home with no children and no other dogs.

Skye, the eight-year-old German shepherd, is staying at the Martlesham Animal Centre near Ipswich.

A gentle soul who loves being with people, she enjoys a walk in the woods and over the fields and gets on well with other dogs.

Skye does have a thyroid and a skin condition, which are now being controlled with medication, with more information available from the centre if you were to go and meet her.

She would make a lovely addition to a family so long as she did not live with any cats.

Harris, the eight-year-old Patterdale terrier, is currently at the West Suffolk RSPCA shelter.

While the team say she is an anxious dog, she is also affectionate and fantastic company, especially in the garden or on walks.

With some basic training that needs reinforcing and lots of energy, Harris is ready to find a new 'forever home'.

Harris would have a great life with a family that can give her lots of attention and has no other pets.

Find more information on all the dogs available to adopt in Suffolk on the RSPCA website.

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