If you have ever spent any time looking at rescue centre pages seeing the dogs available for adoption, you have probably noticed a strong presence of certain dog breeds in rescue places. Particularly prevalent seem to be the bull breeds – there are often several Staffordshire Bull Terriers in any non-breed specific rescue – and very often my own breed of choice, the Border Collie. Why are there more of some dog breeds in rescue than others?
There is more than one factor in play when it comes to answering this question. Different breeds have differing tendencies in how they prefer their life to be. Some dogs are content with short walks and a comfortable sofa on which to snooze. Some feel a deep need to be busy and on the go much of the time. Certain breeds have more needs requiring fulfilment in certain ways than others. Take my example of the Border Collie for instance. These dogs are attractive to look at, very intelligent and, in the right homes – make wonderful family members. Neglect to give them enough exercise or forget to work their brains and all of that intelligence and energy has to go somewhere, usually in a direction that their human family can find problematic.
Some breeds, if they find themselves in rescue spaces, are less likely to be rehomed than others. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are at particular risk of this, along with some mastiffs. The Dangerous Dogs Act and its categorisation of some breeds as of being ‘pit bull type’ and therefore at risk of being seized and, in the best case scenario legally deemed as ‘of type’ and subject to large amounts of restrictions on their lives, or even worse being euthanised as a banned breed. This concept of the ‘pit bull type’ has been damaging to these breeds, and led to many languishing in kennels far longer than for other dog breeds in rescue.
There is also the ‘cute’ factor to consider. The pretty breeds and the ones that are fashionable rarely find themselves inhabiting a rescue kennel or foster space for long. How many French Bulldogs are seen in rescue for any length of time? Very few, as these and the other popular breeds of the moment can probably be rehomed any number of times over, while other lovely dogs that could be perfect for a particular family are passed over because they aren’t as cute or as pretty.
If you are looking to add a canine family member from a rescue, try to go in with an open mind. The dog with whom you could find the perfect bond may not be that breed you have always wanted, or be the prettiest looking dog you have ever seen. Go looking for that beauty inside the dog instead of focusing on breed and find the next canine love of your life.