Siberian huskies, the strong, wolf-like dogs originally bred for sled-pulling in the Arctic, have along with some of other wolf-esque breeds like the Alaskan malamute been gaining huge popularity in the US and the UK the last several years, due in large part to the influence of Game of Thrones — and before that, the Twilight movie franchise. The Daily Mail reported on the problem of large numbers of abandoned huskies showing up in British shelters three years ago, and here in the Bay Area, the phenomenon continues — and as the Chronicle reports, the dogs often show up in shelters with weird GOT-inspired names like Ghost, Nymeria, and Grey Wind.
The dogs are likened to the Stark clan’s direwolves, and it seems that far too many people are buying or adopting huskies hoping to add some Stark-like swagger to their homes, only to find out these dogs are a heavy-shedding handful.
Angelique Miller, president of Northern California Sled Dog Rescue, tells the Chronicle that her numbers of monthly intakes of abandoned dogs has more than doubled, and she’s seeing about 45 new dogs per month. “These people, they watch these shows and think how cool these dogs are. 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.”
She says in the past there have been upticks of abandoned dogs connected to movie releases like Snow Dogs and Eight Below, but clearly the biggest influence is now GOT — with many owners who sought out huskies as pets after the show premiered in 2011 now recognising that they can’t take care of the dogs anymore because they require too much exercise and grooming.
San Francisco Animal Care & Control also reports seeing a lot of huskies come through, as has Bay Area Siberian Husky Club (BASH).