If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will know who Tyrion Lannister is. You will also know what a dire wolf is. But did you know how this show is influencing an alarming trend for buying huskies, or dogs that resemble the dire wolves?
This is just the latest example of how popular culture can inspire something else, which then becomes unpopular! Since the show’s first series, the number of huskies appearing in animal shelters in the UK has increased diabolically. To quote the Mirror newspaper, “Since the show premiered in 2011, animal rescue centers in the UK have reportedly seen a 700% increase in abandoned huskies”. There’s no reason to think a similar trend has been observed in other countries as well.
When we look at a stylized picture of a scene from Game of Thrones (by the way, I am a massive fan of the show), and if you buy into the whole story, it’s easy to see why dire wolves have got our attention. Larger than normal wolves, and highly protective of the one person they are bonded to, they come across as something very special and unique – not everyone gets to own one. So it’s easy to see why people across the world have been inspired to get their own version of one – namely a husky, or similar wolf-life breed of dog.
If you are already a dog owner yourself, you can maybe guess what comes next!
The dog breeds that most closely resemble wolves, also have some of the same characteristics. Whilst they may not howl and hunt prey, they thrive on lots of hard, physical exercise. In fact, without this they are likely to feel a degree of unhappiness.
Similar to packs of wolves roaming vast plains, huskies were bred to be part of a pack pulling sleds over many, many miles. If you take a dog like that, and plonk him/her in front of a TV after a 10-minute walk around the block, do you think they would be content?
So the people who have been inspired to get their own dire wolf, end up realizing these breeds are not right for them, and then they end up in a shelter somewhere. The trend is also backed up by many of the shelters reporting that over a quarter of these incoming huskies are names after characters from Game of Thrones.
Where does Tyrion Lannister fit into this?
Tyrion is a key character in Game of Thrones, and for me, he’s one of the most exciting, despite being a dwarf, and unloved by his father and most of his siblings, he is exceedingly clever. definitely ahs the wittiest dialogue in the show!
He is played by Peter Dinklage, who is now so concerned about this popularizing of huskies through the show, he has spoken out publicly. He said
“Please, to all of Game of Thrones’ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies.
Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned – as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.
“Please, please, if you’re going to bring a dog into your family, make sure that you’re prepared for such a tremendous responsibility and remember to always, always, adopt from a shelter.”
So not only is he asking people to think about dog ownership seriously, he is advocating for adopting from rescue shelters – a man after my own heart!
I have also written before about selecting a dog breed that is best suited to you and your circumstances. There is a great quiz included from Animal Planet – it’s quite short and really nails down your suitability to a particular breed. Click here for Help to Choose the Right Breed of Dog
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