The UK’s dog rehoming problem

Dog rehoming is at epidemic levels here in the UK. Is it possible to keep your dog? Could you try a little harder to be a good owner? before giving up and off to the rescue centre with it. Actually giving your dog a second chance could be the difference between life and death.

The dogs trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, reported they care for up to 15,000 dogs a year across their 20+ rehoming centres. Figures taken from other dog rehoming charities including Blue Cross, RSPCA, & Battersea conclude there are an estimated 120,000+ dogs going through these organisations each year. If you equate the overseas rescues into these estimates the number rises to a scary 150,000. On top of all this, these organisations have been quoted to say that up to 20% of rescue dogs have already been through the system once before. It is also reported that healthy dogs are euthanised daily due to issues like aggression and anxiety.

Then we have to look at the facts about why we are giving our beloved pets away. There are statistics showing behaviour problems lead to people dog rehoming, Signs of aggression like growling, barking and lunging at other dogs. also anxiety problems, to name a few. With an estimated 9 million dogs in the UK this means that there are literally millions of dogs with behaviour problems.

Trying to get to the bottom of the dog rehoming problem is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There seems to be accumulation of reasons for our unwanted dogs, if we can at least tackle some of them we can go along way to reducing the numbers,

Professional dog trainers are working everyday to lower the number of dogs that are rehomed. I myself have had many clients that were on the brink of calling it a day. Luckily for those dogs their owners found a reliable trainer,  I am proud to say many have changed their minds because of me. As a trainer I meet many people and their dogs. I often find that my customers did not expect a dog with a high energy drive, or a protective herder, or a constant barker. It is obvious that people sometimes just choose the wrong breed for themselves and their families. It is easy to do I guess. Perhaps potential owners need to do more research into the breed they are looking to get. This simple task could be the difference between a dog for life or a dog for  Christmas.


Instead of going to a breeder and paying up to £2000 for a dog, perhaps more of us should consider going to a dog rehoming centre. It is understandable that some choose the breeder option. You get a perfect puppy with no history of neglect or cruelty inflicted on them. A brand new puppy that you can bond with and love. “Lets hope you choose the right one” remember to use a  professional trainer if you need support to give your puppy the best start. By not allowing the bad habits to manifest you are will be much happier in the long run.  On the other hand you could give all that love and support to a rescue puppy too. There are plenty to choose from and of course they need you. Bringing a rescue dog into your life won’t solve the Uk’s dog rehoming issues, although it is necessary that many of us do and of course every little helps.

Licencing or Microchips

The UK government abolished the dog licencing scheme in 1987. The dog licence law was supposed to protect dogs from being abandoned or neglected. Actually it was just another pipeline for the government to make revenue. Statistics show that only 60% of dog owners complied with the law. It became more expensive to police the system than the revenue being generated from it, leading to it’s demise.  If the government reintroduced the dog licence would it help? In my opinion the answer is yes! it  The RSPCA would like to see new laws around licencing but what about dog owners. I mean the already responsible owners would have to pay for a licence. Is that fair? especially when the less responsible will continue to flaunt the law and get away with it. Micro chipping has become the new way to register dogs in the UK and I for one am in favour of making this mandatory. Surely there has to be a tangible way to monitor our dog population. Or do we just let it keep growing until our dog rehoming charities are busting at the seams.

The Conclusion

There is no one definitive way to solve this growing problem of dog rehoming in the UK. Us small folk can’t control how the government deal with this, it appears the emphasis is on the dog rehoming organisations and charities that already exist. Responsible owners can do their part. Lets work together and help to reduce this growing problem. After all these intelligent animals deserve our help.