A rescue centre has warned of a recent influx in larger dog breeds needing new owners due to ‘outgrowing’ homes when they reach full size.

Jayne Shenstone from the German Shepherd Dog Rescue explained that they could not have foreseen the enormous puppy boom during last year’s lockdown, but that ‘backstreet breeders’ had been cashing in on the unprecedented circumstances.

She told TeamDogs: “We know that German Shepherd puppies have not been available for much under £2,500 and some are being advertised for much higher figures.

“When people realised just how much prices were rising last year, they turned to rescues.

“We of course had very few come in when people realised they could sell them for thousands online. We were swamped with adoption forms but over 90 percent of them we wouldn’t have rehomed a hamster to.”

The rescue was founded in 2001 (Image: GSDR)
The rescue was founded in 2001 (Image: GSDR)

The German Shepherd Dog Rescue centre is a charitable organisation dedicated to the rescue, short term fostering and long term adoption of German Shepherds and occasionally other larger breeds of dogs.

Founded in 2001, the rescue is run entirely by volunteers, and rehomes dogs across the UK, including Greater Manchester.

After the scramble for puppies subsided, Jayne said they have seen the trend go the other way, with people reaching out to the rescue to rehome their 'unruly' dogs who have since outgrown their homes.

“The issue we now have is that many pups bought since March 2020 have not been socialised properly so they are dog aggressive and don’t like strangers.

“We have had a flood of rehoming forms coming in for dogs bought during lockdown with the main reasons for rehoming being either behavioural problems because of lack of socialisation or because owners have gone back to work.

“It’s quite clear too that many of these dogs have been bought by people who have never had a large breed before and they did not do any research.”

People have reached out to the rescue to rehome dogs who have grown too large (Image: GSDR)
People have reached out to the rescue to rehome dogs who have grown too large (Image: GSDR)

In general, the rescue does not rehome to households where the dogs are left alone for more than five hours a day, or to places that don’t have a secure garden where they can stretch their legs and let off steam.

They also will not rehome to owners who expect to breed the dog, or who will keep their new pet outside as a guard dog rather than housing them indoors with the family.

One particular cause of concern for the rescue is the rehoming of Caucasian Shepherd dogs, one of the largest breeds in the world

The breed, which can grow up to 75cm tall and weigh around 60kg were originally bred as mountain dogs for guarding sheep and are often simply too big for suburban living.

GSDR have helped successfully rehome some Caucasian Shepherds to rural home (Image: GSDR)
GSDR have helped successfully rehome some Caucasian Shepherds to rural home (Image: GSDR)

Jayne said: “This is not a breed for suburban households and very few people will be capable of dealing with this breed.

“They are the most adorable cute teddy bears when they are pups but grow into 60-70kg adults. Many times the owners state on their rehoming form - the dog grew too big for their home.”

“We rehome the ones that will do okay in a rural environment but many of these dogs will not make pets for your average household.

“The two sanctuaries that can help them are over capacity now with waiting lists and our fear is that many of these dogs- and German Shepherds too- will be put to sleep simply because there are no rescues that have space for problem dogs.”