Dog breeds suffer as fashions fade

SHAK dog Dino.
SHAK dog Dino.

The latest intalment in our weekly series dedicated to Alnwick-based dog sanctuary SHAK.

I spoke last week about the way fashions and trends are influencing dog ownership these days, but also that can be a two-way street.

It is also possible for breeds to fall out of fashion, or simply struggle to find homes because of the image that people have of them.

I think everybody is aware of the terrible plight of the Staffordshire bull terrier over the last 15 years or so, bred and crossbred to the point that the breed is so diluted, and of course to the point where the numbers outweigh the demand.

The pounds are full of them, but because they sometimes attract the wrong kind of owners, they are often overlooked by families looking for a new pet. Yet some of the sweetest dogs I have ever met have been Staffys.

However, another breed is also going through the same terrible time and struggling to find a place other than in a pound.

American bulldogs are big and strong but also so playful and fun. Socialised properly, they can be great company for other dogs.

They seem to also attract the wrong type of owner, mainly due to their size and how they look. We have so many that come in and show signs of abuse.

Dino is a perfect example. When he arrived he was afraid of everybody, but especially men.

It’s an issue that we worked on but the emotional scars are still very visible. To see a big dog like him shaking at the sight of somebody entering his kennel like he did when he first came is a very sad sight.

I have a lot of time and compassion for him. He has come a long way just by trusting us.

His world is very small, but that is the way he feels safest, and feeling safe for perhaps the first time in his life, is such a big thing.