Influx of Huskies at Raystede
Tuesday 3 July
Over the past few years certain dog breeds have become status dogs within British subculture which has resulted in mass over-breeding. Due to the lack of breeding legislation in this country the integrity of the breed seems to have become of secondary importance to financial gain and consequently many dogs have ended up unwanted and needing rehoming in rescue centres. Maybe the best example of this is the Staffordshire bull terrier and their crosses with literally thousands ending up unwanted each year, leaving rescue centres unable to cope with the seriousness of the situation. Unfortunately we're now seeing a similar trend starting to occur with Huskies and are therefore trying to prevent the problem becoming out of control and the breed suffering in the same way. Few breeds have had the good fortune of the Siberian Husky as not only is the individual dog generally healthy and of good temperament, but throughout the years there has not been an abundance of genetic issues. However, the recent upsurge of breeding is bringing with it undesirable traits, both physical and behavioral – which, if left, could lead to the downfall of the breed.
Huskies are prone to canine hip dysplasia and eye problems such as hereditary or juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy. Whereas registered breeders, who are passionate about the breed and will hip and eye score all their dogs to ensure that these are not passed on through generations, most back yard breeders do not see the importance of such checks and are passing on puppies which may have a lifetime of problems ahead of them. It's not just pure breed Huskies who are suffering but crosses too as they are now being mixed with other breeds such as Malamutes, German Shepherds and most worryingly, Staffies. As Huskies are not known to be aggressive and do not make good guard dogs there are some people who see this as a flaw and try to breed out their laid-back nature. The Husky’s popularity is easy to see as they are stunning looking dogs but irresponsible breeders are playing on this appeal and not warning new owners about the special needs of the breed relating to their stamina levels and desire to be kept busy. They also grow rapidly from cute balls of fluff to large, powerful adults that can jump 8 feet from standstill and be a real challenge to train.
At Raystede we are working closely with Siberian Husky Aid Rescue and Education (S.H.A.R.E) to take in, neuter and sensibly rehome the breed and provide advice and information to people so that potential new owners can make an educated decision as to whether they are choosing the right dog for them. Over the past year, we have seen the number of Huskies coming in for rehoming rise by a massive 80% and SHARE estimate the number of dogs which will have passed through for fostering or re-homing will easily top 100 by the end of its first year of which approximately 30% have come from council dog pounds and kennels where they have been either unclaimed strays as lack of recall and high prey drive is endemic in the breed or they are abandoned as they are no longer wanted.
We currently have four Husky crosses in our care waiting for homes. Summer is a beautiful large Husky cross (probably Malamute) who came to us as a local stray. She is very friendly and is fast becoming a happy, outgoing dog despite being initially a little shy. Saffie is a stunning Husky cross who adores everybody she meets. She loves to run and when she gets into her stride can just keep going so new owners should be up for this level of exercise. Mika is a pretty little Husky cross who suffers from a neurological condition (probably as a result of a previous injury) this means she shakes and needs considerate handling as she feels vulnerable and can lack trust in people. However, she enjoys her walks and playing with other dogs and has a cheeky character which really shows when she is bouncing around with her toys! Finally, we have Shona. This poor Husky was rescued after she was surplus to requirements on a puppy farm where she had been used as a breeding machine and is in terrible physical condition. She demonstrates “learned helplessness” as a result of having never had any control over her environment or the things that happen to her. Basically Shona has given up and we now have considerable work to do to try and bring her out of her shell. She will have quite a stay with us as she needs to learn how to interact with people, other dogs and her environment and that these experiences can be enjoyable. We're determined to support her in becoming a happy dog, though are realistic that we have a long term commitment to achieving this.
If you would like to support her or any of the other dogs in our care whilst they undergo rehabilitation and await rehoming then please donate by visiting our web page at www.raystede.org or call the centre on 01825 840 252. Details, photos and videos of our dogs that are looking for homes and how to apply to adopt can also be found on our web page.