Huskies are being increasingly purchased, and then abandoned, by owners who are attracted to the breed because of the hit HBO show, “Game of Thrones.”

One tell-tale sign that a husky was purchased because of the series is that they frequently are named after characters from the show, according to a report by San Francisco Gate. A British animal charity had reported a 700 percent rise in abandoned huskies by 2014, while two Bay Area husky rescue facilities — Bay Area Siberian Husky Club and Northern California Sled Dog Rescue — have reported similar a major spike in husky abandonment.

“These people, they watch these shows and think how cool these dogs are,” said Angelique Miller, president of NorSled, to The Gate. “People can’t even tell the difference between a husky and a wolf because they’re always asking us at adoption fairs if these dogs are wolves — and it’s clearly a husky. They’re just following the trend of what they think is cute.”

It’s hard to explain why huskies are getting abandoned more than other dog breeds. Perhaps it’s that many of the buyers aren’t as interested in owning a pet as they are in connecting their lives to “Game of Thrones.” Perhaps it’s the fact that their coats require weekly maintenance, they can only thrive with regular exercise and they can’t be left alone with small animals.

This isn’t the first time that pop culture has had a negative impact on the adorable animals promoted by popular properties. The success of the “Harry Potter” franchise led to a wave of abandoned pet owls; while owls are cute in the movies, they are notoriously difficult to raise as pets. Similarly, after Dalmatians became popular following the success of “101 Dalmatians,” dogs were frequently purchased and then abandoned because their irritable personalities and tendency to dislike children made them a poor fit for many families.

Even the best intentions can lead to disaster. After sales of clown fish took off following the popularity of “Finding Nemo,” reports sprang up of children flushing clown fish down the toilet so they could be freed to the ocean — a plan that, though effective in the movie, does not apply to real life.

The ability of pop culture to impact pet sales has not gone unnoticed by those who could make hefty profits from that trend. The American Kennel Club admits that dog shows like Westminster exist in large part to drive up business for purebred breeders, pet stores and puppy mills throughout the country. The fact that there are serious ethical questions about how these dogs are treated, as well as how it would be more compassionate to adopt from shelters than purchase purebreds, seems to matter little.

Responses to "“Game of Thrones” fans are buying, and abandoning, huskies in droves "

  1. This is a very sad story. :( Huskies are very difficult dogs to "own." I think (having lived with several -- all but one professionally trained) husky puppies should not be sold AT ALL to anyone who has not successfully lived with huskies before. They are not pets. They are autonomous canine beings who can, at best, be shown how to cooperate with their human pack mates. I love them. They are my favorite dogs, and I've had many dogs and known many more, but huskies are NOT for inexperienced dog owners who are unwilling to understand the breed. Huskies cannot be "only dogs" they really need a pack. Huskies must have a SUPER secure yard or large run. Huskies need HOURS of "hunting" (walking) every day. Huskies are not especially loyal. Huskies can be great friends to their humans. I would have huskies, but I'm no longer able to give a husky the very active life it deserves.

  2. Unknown says:

    As a Sibe dad, I am deeply saddened by this trend. People need to understand that huskies are not typical dogs. They are very strong-willed and oftentimes aloof. They require alot of coat maintenance and exercise. They have a wild side that you have to be prepared to deal with. They are typically very friendly and make horrible watchdogs. That being said, if they are trained properlt and get plenty of ecercise and regular hair...err, fur groomings (please never shave a husky), they are wonderful additions to the family. There are plenty of nreeder sites that tell you all about the breed. Do your dur diligence to see if a husky is right for you.

  3. Unknown says:

    "due diligence" are you kidding?.....these people think Huskies are wolves. I don't think they care what it takes to look after one. It is up to the breeder or seller or whomever and we all know how that goes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Our local Craig's List always has Huskies galore available for adoption....but, as is almost always the case, people will continue to acquire dogs without doing ANY research, hell most of them don't even ask their landlord if it's allowed prior to getting a dog, and then immediately have to re-home the poor animal. Way too many people consider dogs, or any of their pets, disposable items to be acquired and disposed of at the drop of a hat......they suck.....and education will NOT "fix" that!

  5. May the light and lesson be seen in all that happens.

  6. Eliza says:

    A word comes to mind .... RESPONSABILITY

  7. And, this is why I adopted a black cat, after going to initially adopt a husky. While I love the breed, I just did not have the time necessary to give a husky the attention, time and care that it needs.

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