A DOG rehoming centre has seen a surge in the number of wolf look-a-like breeds since Game of Thrones first hit screens.
And staff at Dogs Trust Kenilworth hope the final season of the hit tv show, which starts on Monday, will spell the end of wolf-like dogs being handed in.
In 2010 – a year before the first series aired – fewer than 80 Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Akitas were cared for by Dogs Trust, compared to 411 last year – a 420 per cent rise.
Centre manager Emma Healey said: “Since the start of Game of Thrones we have seen a huge increase in the popularity of wolf look-a-like dogs.
“They are beautiful, large, powerful dogs and they make loyal companions but as they were originally bred for more physical past-times, such as pulling sledges in cold climates and hunting, they need a lot of physical and mental stimulation every day and not all owners are able to provide that.
“Owners have done the right thing bringing their dog to us if they can no longer look after them. We love looking after our wolf-like breeds but of course what we really want is for them to find their forever homes.”
The four dogs all need different home environments but are looking for owners who understand the demands of the breed and can offer a life-long commitment.
Emma added: “Our staff have a great bond with our wolf look-a-likes but we would them all to find their ideal homes soon. They may be cute but they are powerful, large dogs who need regular exercise and socialisation so it is important that we find owners who can provide them with everything they need.”
The direwolves have featured in Game of Thrones from the start.
Former Warwick schoolgirl Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, became particularly attached to her direwolf Lady.
When Lady was killed off in the show, Sophie adopted the Mahlek Northern Inuit dog who played her, and took her back to the family home near Warwick.
To find out more about dogs in need of new home at Dogs Trust call 01926 569236, visit www.dogtrust.org.uk or visit the centre in Honiley.