It is no secret that all of the many dog rescue and rehoming centres in the UK are engaged in a constant battle to educate dog owners and raise awareness of the plight of homeless dogs. One of the many important roles that rehoming centres fulfil is to provide information to prospective dog owners, and to make sure that the dog that they might be considering is a good fit for them. Almost all of the rehoming centres and shelters within the UK, including Battersea Dogs Home and The Dog’s Trust are constantly at full capacity or close to it. Many centres find themselves in the unfortunate position of sometimes having to turn dogs away due to a simple lack of resources, funding and ability to provide for even one additional dog. A large proportion of the dogs that end up in rehoming centres and being cared for by shelters while awaiting their new forever home, end up there because their original owners simply found themselves unable to manage the dog that they took on, or had not done enough research about the specific needs and issues surrounding their breed of choice. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has even gone so far as to collate the data of the ten most commonly seen dog breeds and types that pass through their doors, in an attempt to educate prospective owners about these breeds and highlight the plight of homeless dogs and what is involved in caring for them. Here are the ten most commonly seen dog breeds and types that Battersea Dogs Home and many other shelters take care of on a regular basis.
Overall, dogs of mixed breeding, Heinz 57 type dogs, mongrels, mutts, or any other name you choose, are always going to make the list. There are more dogs of mixed or unknown ancestry in the UK than there are of any one individual pedigree breed, and so automatically, there will be a proportionate number of mongrels and mixed breeds in need of a good home at any given time.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier or ‘Staffy’ is one of the most popular breeds of dog within the UK, and has enjoyed a massive upsurge in popularity within the last twenty years. Dogs of Staffy breeding or crosses of the Staffy type make loyal, loving family pets, but they are also a popular pick for unscrupulous people seeking a status dog, or fighting dog.
The Japanese Akita is a large, versatile working breed that requires a lot of exercise, plenty of food, and firm training and handling. A loyal, noble and very handsome dog, the Akita is not a good pick for the novice owner, and should only be considered as a pet for someone who has undertaken a significant amount of research on the breed and is confident of his or her ability to fulfil all of their needs.
The Doberman Pinscher is a handsome black and tan dog of Germanic origins, muscular but lithe and often traditionally used for guarding roles and as a working security dog. Along with the Rottweiler, who also makes our list, The Doberman Pinscher is often the go-to dog that people seeking a guarding dog will pick, sometimes without spending enough time and attention caring for the needs of the dog or learning about the traits of the breed and their requirements before making a purchase.
While the Rottweiler was originally bred as a herding and cattle guarding dog, their muscular build, loyalty to their owners and fearless natures have meant that their skills easily transferred to home guarding roles and working security roles. Like the Doberman Pinscher and many other dogs that are often considered to be good guards dogs and protectors, a significant number of Rottweilers find themselves without homes every year as the realities of caring for a dog become clear to their inexperienced owners.
The German Shepherd dog is popular across the world as a guarding dog and working dog alongside of the police, military and private security firms. Intelligent, loyal and protective, the German Shepherd dog makes a great pet and companion, but is another dog that is prone to incorrect handling or insufficient training by inexperienced owners biting off more than they can chew!
Lurchers are sight hounds with sensitive natures that thrive on love and attention and suffer greatly from rough handling or harsh treatment. They are generally quiet, affectionate dogs that make good family pets and are relatively easy to care for. Lurchers will very often have a tendency to chase and hunt smaller animals, including domestic pets such as cats, and many inexperienced Lurcher owners find themselves running into difficulties with recall and controlling their dogs outside of the home. While there are of course exceptions to any rule, Lurchers and other sight hounds are often very difficult to keep safely alongside of smaller pets such as cats.
The Greyhound shares many common traits with the Lurcher, and Lurchers often share a partial common ancestry with the Greyhound. Like the Lurcher, Greyhounds of all types make great family pets, and a significant amount of ex-racing Greyhounds are retired from the tracks every year and need to be found new homes to enjoy their retirement in; an adjustment that can be challenging for dogs that have lived to maturity without ever really experiencing life as a pet.
The Border Collie is, at heart, a sheepdog- they love to run and run and run, require lots of exercise, have bundles of energy, and are prone to displaying herding behaviour, even if they have never seen a field of sheep in their lives! They require a lot of stimulation, and a significant amount of time to be dedicated to their training and exercise. One half hour walk once a day is unlikely to keep a Border Collie happy and healthy, and many first-time Collie owners find that they have grossly underestimated the needs of their new pet.
Terrier-type dogs also make the list, and terriers of all kinds, including Jack Russell Terriers, Border Terriers and many other dogs of terrier breeding pass through the doors of Battersea Dogs Home and other rescue centres every year. People often make the mistake of thinking that smaller terriers will be low maintenance, easy to keep dogs that don’t require a lot of attention, but nothing could be further from the truth. Terriers are lively, intelligent dogs that can be prone to stubbornness, are quick to learn, and require firm handling and clear and unambiguous training. In some terriers, the hunting instinct is strong, and unruly terriers that hold the alpha role in the household may be snappy and difficult to handle by the inexperienced owner.