The RSPCA said it is “picking up the pieces” as it sees the impact of the rise in demand for designer dog breeds.

Pumpkin the pug.
Pumpkin was found in a garden in Wimbledon.

The animal welfare charity has reported an increase in the number of popular, fashionable breeds coming into its care. Last year, it rescued a number of pugs and French bulldogs that had been abandoned.

Pug abandoned

One case involved a pug puppy abandoned in a garden in Wimbledon alongside a note reading: “Free pug xxx”. The puppy, named Pumpkin by RSPCA staff, was found in a plastic carrier without a door.

Inspector Phil Norman said: “The note indicates Pumpkin had been dumped deliberately, so it may be he was an unwanted pet and his owner didn’t realise the amount of work a puppy takes, or they did not want to pay the cost of vet care.”

Pumpkin was re-homed by one of the VNs who cared for him.

Dog thrown out of car

The RSPCA was also contacted after a pug was found lying by the side of the road with serious injuries after having been thrown out of the window of a moving car.

The three-year-old, named Crumble, was found collapsed in Writtle, Essex, and was taken to a vet. However, she was paralysed and had organ failure, so was euthanised.

It is believed the bitch had previously been used for breeding as veterinary staff said there were signs she had produced several litters. The RSPCA therefore believe she had been cast aside as she could no longer produce pups to sell.

Huge demand

Crumble the pug.
Crumble had to be euthanised.

RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, who leads the charity’s special investigations into the puppy trade, said: “In this country, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of people buying pugs and French bulldogs, and the RSPCA is starting to see that trend first-hand.

“Unfortunately, as responsible and reputable breeders of these types of dogs cannot keep up with demand, underground breeders and traders are filling the gap in the market.

“[They] are offering buyers the chance to buy puppies at cheaper prices and without waiting lists – often with disastrous consequences.”


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4 Comments on "RSPCA highlights impact of designer dog demand"

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Gill Key
Gill Key
3 months 16 days ago

The dogs referenced in the article are not designer dogs but pedigree breeds. A designer dog is a mix of pedigrees, eg cockapoo etc. Granted the dogs referenced are over popular and fashionable but that is not the same as designer dogs and therefore discredits the value of the article

3 months 11 days ago

Nit-picking to say the least. The article still stands whether or not the correct term of reference is used – the abuse/neglect of dogs to fulfill a fashion trend.

3 months 11 days ago

It does not matter what you call them, Gill! It is animal abuse. This article is just the tip of the iceberg of cruelty inflicted on innocent animals due to breeders lack of genetic and physiological knowledge. Most care about money only. Altering a species should left to those with the proper knowledge only, and those people will have a PhD or MD attached to their names.

3 months 11 days ago

I’m afraid I would have to disagree as a designer dog isn’t only a pure breed but something that has been made desirable by celebrities and that people put a high value on such as designer handbags for example. French bulldogs and pugs are purebreeds as u rightly say but they are the highest value out of the pups that are being traded. What ever the correct term is the pups are most certainly the victim in this horrendous industry


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