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Pup farms fuelled by designer dogs craze

By Georgina Stubbs

The public's increasing demand for "designer" dog breeds is fuelling puppy farms, an RSPCA report has revealed.

Figures published in the animal charity's Puppy Report: Sold a pup?' Exposing the breeding, trade and sale of puppies, estimate that 430,000 young dogs come from unlicensed UK breeders each year.

Over the past decade, the RSPCA said the demand for "designer" cross-breed dogs and "handbag" dogs has soared - particularly for breeds such as French bulldogs, Pomeranians, shih-tzus, Yorkshire terriers, and pugs.

RSPCA's assistant director of public affairs, David Bowles, said it is unclear if the demand for certain breeds can be met through existing registered UK breeders - with just 70,000 puppies, representing around 10% of those sold annually in Britain, entering the market through legitimate breeders. Some dealers are thought to have been raking in £2m a year, or £35,000 a week.

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