Dogs in the News Fetching you all the latest canine headlines
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    June 26th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Did you hear the one about the animal abuser who tortured and killed a dog, only to receive less than six months in prison?

    It sounds like a bad joke – and it is. Some of the UK’s most beloved comedians are joining forces with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to tell the world that the six-month maximum sentence for animal cruelty in England and Wales is so bad, it’s laughable.

    Paul O’Grady, Ricky Gervais, Sue Perkins, Harry Hill and Tracey Ullman are all standing up for the animals as they back Battersea’s campaign for the maximum sentence for the most severe animal cruelty offences to be increased to five years. They’re urging their fans to pass on the message and join the 33,978 people who have so far pledged their support and emailed their MP to call for tougher punishments by visiting www.battersea.org.uk/NotFunny.

    Battersea’s Ambassador and the face of its award-winning TV show For the Love of Dogs, Paul O’Grady, said: “There’s nothing like looking into an animal’s eyes to see how innocent and trusting they are, and it makes me angry to see the way some people mistreat and abuse them. I can’t stand by and watch while those responsible for the most terrible suffering are unlikely to get more than a few weeks in prison. What’s to stop them doing it again?”

    Ricky Gervais added: “It’s sickening to hear about innocent dogs and cats enduring terrible suffering at the hands of humans and knowing the law does nothing to protect them, or deter people from committing these acts of cruelty. Six months in prison is nowhere near long enough for people who choose to abuse, torture and kill animals. You could get more for fly-tipping.”

    Battersea launched its campaign at Westminster in February, publishing research that revealed England and Wales’ current six-month maximum prison sentence is the lowest sentence for animal cruelty across the whole of Europe, the United States and Australia.

    In comparison, the maximum sentence for commercial fly-tipping is five years in prison. In March this year, a Devon fly-tipper was sentenced to 20 months, while just weeks later a Wirral man who admitted stabbing and burning a dog alive was jailed for just 24 weeks.

    Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats pledged to increase animal cruelty sentences in their 2017 manifestos.

    Battersea’s Chief Executive Claire Horton said: “No one knows how to tell a joke better than comedians like Paul, Ricky, Sue, Tracey and Harry, and we’re so pleased they’re standing up and declaring to the world that animal cruelty sentencing is not funny, and deserves proper sentences that reflect the dreadful crimes they are. Battersea’s campaign has already begun to make its mark and we won’t stop using our voice for animals who have nobody else to speak out for them.

    We look forward to working with the new Government to make this happen. Join us and show your support by emailing your MP to call for change.”

    Paul, Ricky, Sue, Harry and Tracey are the faces of the campaign and fans will see posters featuring their images on billboards, posters and digital screens at more than 170 locations across the UK and London’s transport network as well as social media.

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    June 25th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Dog World, one of the two weekly canine newspapers in the UK, announced this week that they have ceased trading. Details are currently sketchy, as they had been producing articles right up to a few hours before the announcement, and their social media pages have been active since. It is also not clear how this affects their subsidiary publications – ProGroomer and Companion – or their Dog World TV YouTube channel.  Subscribers say they have not been contacted regarding transfer of subscription and/or refunds, and the Canine Alliance is discussing a possible group action against the administrators for return of fees.

    Dog World’s full statement is below. We’ll bring you more news as we have it.

    Most people are aware that trading conditions in recent years in business generally have been difficult to say the least. In many areas advertising revenues and sponsorship income are not what they used to be pre recession.

    The printing and publishing industry is no exception and the added effect of digital media and social network has contributed to a loss of revenue on a number of fronts.

    Most dog showing countries worldwide are lucky if they have one monthly magazine or newspaper covering shows, breeding and exhibiting. In the UK we have had the luxury of not one, but two weekly canine newspapers serving the needs of the dog showing community. OUR DOGS was launched in 1895 and DOG WORLD followed in its own right in the 1930’s. For some time it has become clear that there is only space in the market for one canine weekly to survive and therefore be around to continue to best serve the needs of dog people primarily in the UK, for the foreseeable future. It is therefore with regret that DOG WORLD recently went into administration and has now ceased trading.

    To ensure the future of an independent canine press in the UK, OUR DOGS will continue to cover the world of pedigree dogs and will also look to enhance its coverage in all ways possible for the benefit of its existing readers and for previous followers of DOG WORLD. It will not be an easy task as both papers have developed their own followings based on great traditions in the world of dogs.

    To that end we thank all existing readers, advertisers and staff from both papers. We extend a warm welcome to new readers of OUR DOGS and with everyone’s support we will strive to ensure shows and exhibitors will enjoy future editions of what must be one of the world’s oldest canine newspapers.

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    March 24th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Comic Relief has apologised over the use of a brachycephalic breed in its campaign merchandise this year, following a letter sent by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) on 20 February highlighting that demand for these breeds, which struggle with serious and often life-limiting health problems, is being fuelled by their visibility in the media and through celebrity endorsement.

    Last month Comic Relief launched their annual t-shirt fundraising campaign with high street retailer TK Maxx, however one of the t-shirts caused concern amongst the veterinary profession as it featured French bulldog ‘Albert’.

    Acknowledging the charity’s good work, BVA President Gudrun Ravetz wrote to both Comic Relief and TK Maxx to raise the health issues faced by brachycephalic breeds, including French bulldogs, and explain the message members of the public receive when they see these images used by well-known national brands and celebrity models.

    Flat-faced breeds have seen a boom in popularity recently, with the Kennel Club recently reporting that the French bulldog could soon be the most prevalent breed in the UK.

    In the letter, the BVA President explained:

    “Whilst many people perceive the squashed wrinkly faces of these breeds as appealing, in reality dogs with short muzzles can struggle to breathe. Albert is a particularly poor example of this as his nose is so short he may have difficulty breathing even when doing day-to-day activities such as walking or eating.”

    The letter asked that the t-shirts and other merchandise containing Albert’s image be removed from this year’s campaign, and recommended the charity seeks veterinary advice on any future campaigns they may plan to run using animal imagery to ensure it promotes good health and welfare.

    Last week Comic Relief responded, acknowledging BVA’s concerns. In their response letter, Michele Settle, Director of UK Campaigns and Brands at Comic Relief, emphasised:

    “We take animal welfare very seriously and when using animals in our campaigns we make all efforts to ensure that the animals are treated well. We are not aware of the specific issues you raise regarding brachycephalic breeds.”

    Comic Relief admitted the t-shirts would be incredibly difficult to withdraw from sale at this late stage in their campaign (culminating on 24 March), from a logistics point of view. However, Comic Relief said they would like to consult with BVA during the development process of further projects should they use animal imagery.

    BVA President Gudrun Ravetz said:

    “Comic Relief’s response is encouraging and suggests they take animal welfare seriously. Comic Relief t-shirts help raise so much money for good causes at home and overseas, however we wanted to highlight the poor animal health and welfare being perpetuated by the use of ‘Albert’ on their merchandise.

    “Whilst we were very pleased to get a positive response, it highlights how many companies do not understand the significant health and welfare problems brachycephalic breeds can suffer, emphasising how important it is that vets continue to speak out on this issue.”

    At this time TK Maxx has not yet responded.

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    February 14th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Kennel Club issues welfare warning as people buying French Bulldogs on a whim cause numbers to soar

    • French Bulldog set to overtake the Labrador Retriever as the UK’s most popular dog breed by the end of 2018 – the first time the Labrador will have been knocked off the top spot in 27 years
    • Kennel Club registration figures show that the French Bulldog, owned by celebrities such as the Beckhams, Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio, will overtake current second most popular breed, the Cocker Spaniel, within months and the Labrador within two years if its popularity keeps increasing
    • French Bulldog saw a 47 per cent increase in the last year alone, a 368 per cent rise in the past five years and has increased by more than a staggering 3,000 per cent in the past ten years
    • Kennel Club warns that people buying the breed on a whim could lead to a welfare crisis and urges puppy buyers to consider other breeds that might be more suited to their lifestyle

    The French Bulldog, a breed favoured by celebrities such as the Beckhams, Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman, is set to overtake the Labrador as the UK’s most popular breed of dog, according to statistics released by the UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, ahead of its annual Crufts event.

    The popularity of the breed has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, with a 47 per cent increase from 2015 to 2016 alone, a 368 per cent increase in the past five years (2012 to 2016) and a staggering 3,104 per cent increase over the last ten years (2007 to 2016).

    If this trend continues, the Kennel Club forecasts that the breed could be the most popular dog breed in the UK by the end of 2018, a title long held by the Labrador.  The Labrador has been the most popular dog breed in the UK since 1990 – the year it overtook the Yorkshire Terrier. The French Bulldog is set to overtake the current second most popular breed, the Cocker Spaniel, which is ahead by only 384 puppy registrations, within a couple of months.

    The Kennel Club is concerned that the dramatic increase in numbers of French Bulldogs is due to people choosing the breed because of how it looks and because it is considered to be a fashionable choice, rather than because it is the most suitable breed for their lifestyle.

    Furthermore, Kennel Club registrations only account for around 30 per cent of the total population of dogs in the UK so there are concerns that the number of French Bulldogs in the country is likely to be far higher in reality, including undocumented and unregistered dogs and dogs that have been brought into the country illegally from Eastern Europe.

    Sudden boosts in popularity of certain breeds can result in a huge market opening up for unscrupulous breeders to sell to.  They often churn out puppies with little or no regard for their health and welfare, solely for profit, because they know they can sell them easily. There is also growing concern amongst animal charities about the number of puppies being smuggled in illegally from Eastern Europe. This highlights the importance of anyone intent on owning a French Bulldog going to a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, or considering a rescue dog.

    Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “While the French Bulldog is a lovely breed, it is very unwise for anyone to buy one simply because they think it looks cute or is a fashionable choice.  Anyone doing so could inadvertently be contributing to an impending welfare crisis.

    “The breed is a favourite with celebrities, who often flaunt them on their Instagram and Twitter accounts for people to coo over.  While it’s normal to want to show off your dog, when celebrities do it, it usually results in a surge in the popularity of certain breeds, which is not a good thing as it opens the doors to unscrupulous breeders who see it as an opportunity to breed lots of them without due care to health and welfare.

    “French Bulldogs can be bred with exaggerated features, including extremely flat faces, which can cause health issues – many of which owners are not aware of before they buy, which can sadly result in the emotional stress of having a sickly dog and high veterinary bills, highlighting how crucial is it for anyone intent on owning a French Bulldog to go to a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.

    “Without a doubt the most important thing is for people to do the proper research before deciding on a breed.  The great thing about pedigree dogs is that they come with a high level of predictability, so people can work out which breed would be the best fit for their lifestyle based on things like temperament, how much exercise the dog will need and any relevant health concerns.  With all the information available these days, and with events like Crufts coming up in March where people can meet around 200 breeds and speak to experts in each one, there really is no excuse for buying a dog that is not a good match for you.”

    The Kennel Club is also concerned that, because the French Bulldog is not a suitable choice for everyone, people buying one without doing their research will then have to give the dog over to a rescue centre when they realise they cannot care for it. 

    Jackie Mavro-Michaelis, Secretary of the Pennine and Scottish French Bulldog Association, said: “French Bulldog welfare services are getting more and more dogs through their doors, so there is a genuine concern that we could be facing a welfare crisis if their numbers keep increasing.

    “The fact that we used to have one welfare service for the breed, and now we have three because of the increase in numbers, is concerning in itself and the breed could be in real trouble if people let impulsiveness take over and rush out to buy a French Bulldog without knowing much about the breed.

    “To anyone looking for a French Bulldog, we would suggest researching suitable alternative breeds first, but those intent on owning one should contact the relevant breed clubs for advice, go to a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, and make sure they are buying a puppy with two health tested parents.”

    The Kennel Club is urging anyone who wants to get a French Bulldog to consider other breeds that are similar to it in terms of temperament and care requirements, but that might be more suited to their lifestyle and home environment.  Examples of suitable alternatives include the Miniature Schnauzer, Beagle, Border Terrier and Welsh Terrier. The Breed Information Centre on the Kennel Club website gives information on each breed of dog, including details on exercise and care requirements, the type of lifestyle each breed is likely to be suitable for, and health considerations for each breed.

    The Kennel Club is also inviting people to come and meet the breed at the Discover Dogs zone at Crufts from 9th-12th March 2017, at the NEC in Birmingham, find out more about whether or not it is the right breed for them.  Visitors can meet around 200 other breeds of dog and can find out which ones are best suited to their lifestyle.

    The Kennel Club’s Breed Information Centre can be found at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/.

    Further information on Crufts can be found at www.crufts.org.uk.

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    February 7th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD), of which the Kennel Club is a founding partner, has announced an initiative called the ‘Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs’, to support the appropriate selection and use of DNA testing in dog health and breeding decisions.

    The ever-increasing emergence of new canine DNA tests and testing laboratories has made choosing quality DNA testing providers, and the right DNA tests for health and breeding decisions, increasingly challenging for many owners, breeders and veterinarians.

    Working with a wide-spectrum of stakeholders in dog health, the IPFD’s ‘Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs’ initiative will provide practical support to address these challenges.

    With no existing national or international standards of accreditation, or standardisation oversight group, there is a growing need for a reliable third party neutral organisation which can provide guidance surrounding test reliability, laboratory quality assurance processes and procedures, test applicability by breed, and provide advice regarding interpretation and best use of genetic test results.

    This is needed to support consumer confidence in DNA testing, educate consumers in the use of these tests, utilise these tests effectively as tools to reduce the incidence of inherited disease, and to reduce redundant international efforts. The IPFD will work to coordinate and consolidate expertise, as well as ongoing and new work to increase the availability of resources to consumers.

    The goal of this new IPFD initiative is to create an open access, searchable and sustainable online resource that will:

    • Catalogue information provided voluntarily from commercial test providers for genetic testing in dogs
    • Describe expertise, quality assurance, activities and resources of the test providers
    • Host expert panel reviews of genetic tests, their reliability, and applicability
    • Coordinate a programme for standardised proficiency testing and potentially peer review and audit
    • Collate/assemble existing and new resources for genetic counselling and education, and provide the foundation for future developments.

    The initial phase of the initiative is to develop a working prototype of the online resource. Both the prototype and the final output will be hosted on the IPFD’s website at www.dogwellnet.com. The initiative will be guided by IPFD CEO, Brenda Bonnett and Project Director, Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, who was the Kennel Club’s Head of Health and Research before returning to the United States at the end of 2016.

    The initiative will be overseen by a multi-stakeholder steering committee set up by the IPFD and initial funding for the prototype is provided through generous contributions from IPFD founding partners, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, and the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. The IPFD is inviting other collaborators and potential contributors to contact them via Brenda.Bonnett@ipfdogs.com or Aimee.Llewellyn-Zaidi@ipfdogs.com.

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    February 7th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Recognising and retaining the vital roles that vets play across animal health, animal welfare and public health is pivotal to securing successful outcomes from Brexit, said the British Veterinary Association (BVA) President to a roomful of key influencers at BVA’s annual London Dinner in Westminster on 7 February.

    Speaking on the depth and breadth of the veterinary profession’s roles and responsibilities, BVA President Gudrun Ravetz said:

    “The veterinary family – which is my focus as BVA President – is part of the international scientific community, and we are a diverse profession with far-reaching influence and impact in so many areas of political and public life … A healthy veterinary workforce is vital for UK animal and human health.”

    At the dinner the BVA President previewed a new campaign, ‘I support team vet’, due to launch the next day (8 February), which champions the value of veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and the wider veterinary team. With the residence or working rights of UK-based EU vets a ‘top five’ priority for the profession in forthcoming Brexit negotiations, the BVA President highlighted workforce issues in her speech:

    “The UK veterinary profession relies heavily on EU graduates, who have felt the impact of the EU referendum result since day one … In the meat hygiene sector alone, some estimates suggest 95% of veterinary surgeons graduated overseas.

    That’s why our first action after 23 June was to call on UK governments to protect the status of EU veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses currently living and working in the UK. It was encouraging to see some of these key priorities … make it into the Prime Minister’s list of negotiating priorities. But we have said from the outset that our members need certainty and reassurance, so we urge the Government to make that firm commitment now.”

    On the veterinary profession’s approach to Brexit, the BVA President emphasised:

    “We know vets remain nervous about the changes to come, with many of our members concerned about the threat Brexit poses for UK animal health and welfare … Yet we can also see the opportunities Brexit presents, and BVA is determined to work with the Government to seize these opportunities, where they exist, to improve standards.”

    Highlighting opportunities that Brexit could offer in terms of improving animal health and welfare, Ms Ravetz suggested a tightening up of the Pet Travel Scheme to reduce the growing trend of illegal puppy imports and improvements for welfare at slaughter. She said:

    “The Welfare at Time of Killing or WATOK Regulations for England … are a case in point about the welfare-mismatch that could occur between domestic standards and those of our trading partners under the new Brexit arrangements. By failing to bring in evidence-based parameters for all waterbath stunning of poultry, [the] legislation has rendered it impossible for Official Veterinarians to protect the welfare of all chickens at slaughter. The regulations are simply not for fit for purpose, and could call into question England’s claim as a leader in high animal welfare.”

    The BVA President shared with the dinner’s 70 attendees a highlight for animal welfare during an early meeting between BVA and the then new Defra Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom MP last July:

    “We were pleased to hear [the Defra Secretary of State’s] vision to make the unique selling points of ‘UK PLC’ high animal welfare and food safety standards. It’s a commitment that BVA fully backs … To ensure our high standards continue, it is essential that we maintain existing veterinary certification and controls to satisfy our own consumer demand for quality and safety. Official statistics put the value of UK livestock outputs at £13 billion and not a penny of that could be realised without veterinary input.”

    Ms Ravetz concluded by looking ahead:

    “We can only make a success of Brexit if we harness our veterinary resource in clinical practice, public health, government services, conservation, academia, research and industry. We are a small profession but our impact is significant.”

    The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Lord Gardiner of Kimble responded to the BVA President’s speech. He said:

    “Veterinary professionals across the UK do such crucial work helping to protect against the threat of disease, caring for our beloved pets and underpinning our food and farming industry.

    “In my role at Defra I am continually reminded of the importance of the relationship between vets and government – most recently in tackling the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the UK. Your thoughts and ideas are invaluable as we manage the many opportunities and challenges posed by exiting the European Union, ensure the highest standards of animal welfare, protect the country from new animal disease threats, and attract the brightest and best into the profession.

    “I look forward to continuing to work closely together as we push ahead with our plans to create a world leading food and farming industry based on high standards of animal health and welfare.”

    To find out more about BVA’s ‘I support team vet’ campaign or BVA’s work on the UK’s exit from the EU, please visitwww.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/policy/future-of-the-profession/brexit/

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    February 7th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Leading welfare charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is calling for punishments for animal cruelty crimes to be taken more seriously, as the Government once again ignored demands for appropriate sentences in its response to a Westminster Committee report on animal welfare released today.

    Battersea, which sees many cruelty and neglect cases each year, is disappointed to note the Government, in its response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee’s wide-ranging report on animal welfare, has declined to take forward calls to increase the current maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences to five years. This measure had been welcomed by key organisations in the Committee’s report, which was published on 6 November 2016.

    Currently, the maximum sentence in England and Wales is six months in prison, a ban from ownership and a fine in England and Wales – the lowest such sentence in Europe. England and Wales lag far behind most other countries, including Northern Ireland at five years and Scotland at one year.

    Battersea’s Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “We welcome clarity on Government thinking on animal welfare but it’s disappointing they have failed to take up so many of EFRA’s recommendations. We’re particularly disappointed in their view on animal cruelty sentencing.

    “The current sentence for such offences is inadequate, both as a punishment and a deterrent for those who mistreat and neglect animals to the point of unacceptable suffering. This is an issue that Battersea, along with other key animal welfare organisations, has regularly brought to the Government’s attention and we will continue to speak out on the need for sentences which properly fit the crime.

    “Animal abusers need to be brought to justice, so we welcome the Government agreeing that the RSPCA should continue investigating and prosecuting such dreadful crimes.”

    On another aspect of the Government’s response to EFRA, Battersea confirms it has long campaigned against the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops. The Home welcomes the Government’s measures to tackle widespread welfare problems across the puppy trade, such as fully banning the sale of any puppies under eight weeks of age and requiring anybody who sells animals to show their valid licence details.

    Claire Horton added: “Whilst Battersea supports the principle behind a ban on third-party sales of puppies, recognising it could help to end the misery brought by the puppy farming industry, it is yet unclear how such a ban could work in practice at this time. Battersea understands the Government’s position that regulation can achieve higher standards but feels more could be done to improve welfare of breeding dogs and their offspring now, if a ban were to be seen as the eventual goal.”

    The charity looks forward in the coming months to working with both the Government and the EFRA Committee to improve the quality of the breeding and sale of puppies and kittens.

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    January 27th, 2017Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Well, the annual registration figures for 2016 have been published, and the Kennel Club have issued their usual press release analysing the figures. The seemingly unstoppable rise of the French Bulldog and the persisting popularity of the Labrador has dominated most of the headlines, but we here at Dogs In The News are more interested in how the native British breeds are faring.

    The KC has published an official list of 25 breeds which are classed as “Vulnerable”, meaning they register less than 300 puppies each year, and seven which are “At Watch”, meaning they register between 300 and 500. If you look at the actual registration figures for 2016 using the same criteria, however, there should really be 30 native British breeds on the Vulnerable list and 9 on the At Watch list.

    As to how they’re doing, the answer is: variable. 24 out of the 41 breeds’ registrations are down on 2015, while 17 breeds have increased their numbers. If you extrapolate that analysis out over the past 5 years, some trends begin to emerge.

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    The biggest losers are:

    Bearded Collies
    Bullmastiffs
    Deerhounds
    English Setters
    Irish Red and White Setters
    Irish Wolfhounds
    King Charles Spaniels
    Mastiffs
    Norwich Terriers
    Parson Russell Terriers
    Scottish Terriers
    Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers
    & Welsh Springer Spaniels

    All of whom registered their lowest figures in five years in 2016. The Scottish Terrier has moved onto the At Watch list for the first time, despite the breed’s high profile win at Crufts 2015. The Bullmastiff is now also officially At Watch, while the Beardie and the Welsh Springer have moved from At Watch to Vulnerable.

    The biggest winners were:

    Smooth Collies
    Sealyham Terriers
    Field Spaniels
    & both varieties of Welsh Corgi

    Which all registered their highest figures in five years. Meanwhile, the Irish Terrier has moved off the Vulnerable list in 2015 to the At Watch list in 2016.

    Altogether the Vulnerable and At Watch British breeds accounted for a total of 3.5% of KC registrations for 2016. (By comparison, Labradors alone made up 15%.)

    British breeds in the Top 10 include Cocker Spaniels (2nd), English Springers (5th, down a place), Bulldogs (6th, up one) and Border Terriers (10th, down). Staffies, Cavaliers, Westies and Beagles are all in the top 20. Interestingly, the Westie also saw no spike in popularity following its 2016 Crufts win – in fact, Westie numbers have been rapidly declining since their 2004 high of 10,110.

    Many other British breeds show worrying decline in their numbers, with the Norfolk Terrier and Wire Fox Terrier in particular very close to finding themselves on the Vulnerable list in the near future. What’s to be done?

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    December 1st, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles

    Dogs Trust is taking a stand against impulse puppy purchasing by changing its name to Socks Trust, encouraging Brits to #GiveSocksNotDogs this Christmas. To highlight the huge number of Christmas gift pups given up by ill-prepared owners, the charity has created an exclusive line of festive socks featuring some of the loveable hounds left abandoned over the festive season.

    Championing the most conventional and possibly least returned Christmas present of all – a safe pair of socks – Socks Trust is working to avoid the plight of puppies bought on a whim and neglected when the reality of dog ownership sinks in. Last year, a staggering 3,400 calls were made in the 30 days following Christmas from new owners wanting to give up their dog, amounting to a staggering 113 calls about unwanted dogs per day.

    Sadly, this is an ongoing problem as every year over 1,000 unwanted dogs are handed in to the 20 Dogs Trust rehoming centres in the weeks following the festive puppy-buying rush, with 1,256 handed in during this period last year alone. Dogs Trust’s iconic slogan ‘A Dog is For Life, Not Just For Christmas,’ remains as relevant as ever, as the charity finds itself picking up the pieces when the appeal of a cute puppy wears thin.

    Adrian Burder, Dogs Trust CEO, who rescued abandoned Christmas pup Skipper in 2014, commented:

    “There’s no denying that buying a puppy for a loved one can seem like an extravagant and exciting purchase. Unfortunately, the realities that come with being a new dog-owner are often overlooked in the thrill of it all and we have seen how some people end up simply abandoning puppies as if they are just another one of their unwanted gifts left under the Christmas tree.

    “We want to avoid these unfortunate situations and as Socks Trust, we are encouraging prospective buyers to make sure they’ve thoroughly thought about the reality of dog ownership before they impulse buy. Instead, opt for a safe pair of cosy socks that their loved ones definitely won’t give back this year. After all, we can never have too many pairs of Christmas socks!”

    Whilst any pair of socks will do as an alternative to buying a dog this season, Socks Trust’s range aims to feed the desire for pups under the mistletoe by featuring eight pooches and their personal stories. The limited-edition socks can be purchased from Dogs Trust Charity Shops across the country and the Dogs Trust eBay shop. All funds raised from the purchases will go towards caring for over 16,000 dogs in the charity’s care every year.

    We’d love to see your Socks Trust socks, so please share your images on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #GiveSocksNotDogs

    Remember, it’s really important to think before you click, because you never know where your new puppy might be coming from. Click here for our advice on what to look for when you are getting a new puppy. 

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    November 30th, 2016Laura P (Editor)Articles

    As temperatures start to drop, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are warning pet owners to make sure their dogs and cats are kept free from hidden and potentially fatal hazards this winter.

    During the winter your pets can be affected by the cold and get ill. To avoid this walk dogs for less time but more often when temperatures drop, and consider putting a dog coat on old dogs or those with thin fur to keep them warm. Keep older cats inside when the weather gets very bad and make sure that even healthy cats are able to access shelter and warmth.

    Do not bathe your dog or cat too often over the winter months – unless they’ve rolled in something unbearable! If you do, make sure it’s with warm water and that they are dried thoroughly to prevent them getting cold and becoming ill.

    When walking your dog in ice and snowy conditions, do not let it off the lead and avoid walking in areas where ponds or lakes may have frozen over – animals often don’t understand the difference between solid ground and ice and can fall through. In this situation vets urge owners not to go in after their pet as although distressing, it is never worth risking your own life as well as your dog’s. 

    Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association said:

    “Each season brings its own set of hazards and winter is no different, so we ask owners to make sure their animals are kept safe and warm over the winter months. Simple things like leaving your dog sat on the cold ground outside a shop whilst you pop in or putting your cat out all night can cause it to get excessively cold which may have a negative impact on their health. Pets still need their usual exercise through the winter, but be mindful of the temperatures outside – it may be better to go outside more regularly for less time than be outside for a long time on one long walk.” 

    Ross Allen, spokesperson for the British Small Animal Veterinary Association said:

    “Give paws a thought – when it gets cold many of us use de-icer, which often leaks onto the ground– this can prove deadly to pets, so it is worth wiping down their legs and paws after being outside. Extreme cold, as well as salt and grit used on the road, can irritate your pet too so when you wipe paws also check for cracks and bleeding. The cold can also worsen some established conditions, such as arthritis. If you’ve not had your annual check-up with your vet, this is a good time of year to schedule a visit.”

    Other top tips to keep your dogs and cats safe this winter:

    • Make sure your pet’s bed is in a draft free, warm spot off the floor in the house.
    • Dogs need to be exercised, however during the darker winter months try to walk your dog before night falls. If that isn’t possible, make sure you use a reflective lead, collar or dog coat for your dog and always carry a torch so that other road users can see to avoid you.
    • Make sure to wipe your dog’s paws and belly on returning home from a snowy walk to remove any ice or salt, and to regularly check for cracks in paw-pads or for redness between the toes.
    • Wiping your pets’ paws can also prevent them from ingesting toxins that they may have stood in whilst outside. Antifreeze in particular is highly toxic, with one in four vets reporting having to treat cats for antifreeze poisoning in the last year and a further 2% also treating dogs.

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