The RSPCA rehomed 95 dogs in West Sussex last year and, while Staffies are still the most rescued breed, designer dogs are appearing more and more in the charity’s rehoming centres.

As part of the RSPCA’s special rehoming drive Adoptober, new national figures have been released showing that while pure-breed and crossbreed Staffies, lurchers, Jack Russell terriers and German shepherds are still the most common dog to come into its care, more trendy ‘handbag’ breeds and fashionable crossbreeds are also ending up in the charity’s 17 national animal centres.

The number of chihuahuas coming into the RSPCA’s care has gone up by 700% in the last seven years (14 in 2012 to 112 in 2018), while the number of French bulldogs is up 236%, Dachshunds are up 600% and Pomeranians are up 440%.

The charity is also seeing more crossbreeds and breeds used for popular crosses – such as cocker spaniels and poodles – arriving in its centres as inspectors shut down puppy farms and collect abandoned dogs and puppies.

Last year, the RSPCA rescued 85 dogs from abuse and neglect in West Sussex and received 7,248 calls to its 24-hour cruelty hotline about animals in the county.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “Although Staffies, lurchers, Jack Russell terriers and German shepherds are still the most common dogs coming into our centres, we are seeing a general decrease in their numbers while seeing an increase in the number of fashionable crossbreeds and so-called designer dogs like Dachshunds and French bulldogs arriving in our care.

“We know that the animals coming into our care tend to reflect general dog ownership trends and there’s been a huge surge in recent years in people buying ‘designer dogs’ and crossbreeds such as cavachons, puggles and cockerpoos.

“As part of our rehoming drive this October – called Adoptober – we want to shine a light on all of the dogs in our care and encourage people to adopt a rescue dog instead of buying a puppy. All the animals in our care have a lot of love to give and we have a huge variety of dogs in our kennels waiting for homes, of all ages, shapes, sizes and breeds.”

The RSPCA rescues animals from the worst abuse and neglect and, by giving dogs a home, you are giving them a second chance at life.

Thankfully, not all the dogs rescued by the RSPCA need to be rehomed as some already have owners and can be returned. Some pets go to vets or come into RSPCA hospitals for treatment, while we also work closely with other charities who sometimes assist us with rehoming.


Adoptober is a rehoming drive to raise awareness of some of the animals in RSPCA care who so desperately need a forever home. To offer an RSPCA rescue dog a new home please visit to find your paw-fect match – dogs like Toyah and Barnabas

One of the benefits of adopting a dog from the RSPCA means they are already neutered and vaccinated. You could also take advantage of four weeks’ free RSPCA Pet insurance*. What’s more, if you decide to take out a full RSPCA Pet insurance policy once this has expired, you will also be supporting other rescue pets as 15% of the premium you pay goes towards helping animals in need.

If you are not in a position to give a pet a home this October, you can still help thousands of animals in our care by donating at, sponsoring a dog kennel or cat pod for just £1.50 a week, or showing your support for rescue pets with one of our RSPCA T-shirts. Or if you want to support the work of your local RSPCA branch visit their website.

Case studies:


Name: Toyah

Age: Six

Breed: German Shepherd

Where: RSPCA Mount Noddy Animal Centre, Chichester, West Sussex

A bit about:  Toyah is an energetic, intelligent German Shepherd.  She was brought into the branch after her previous owner was unable to care for her.

Why she’s special: Toyah is affectionate, comical, playful and intelligent. She would make a fantastic dog for German Shepherd enthusiasts. Toyah has struggled a little with being in kennels, and can be unsure of meeting new people. But she loves toys and these can be used to build a bond with her. Once she knows you Toyah has so much love to give and really enjoys cuddles and a groom.

Adopters will need to be prepared to spend time working with the centre when getting to know her before taking her home.

Ideal home: A calm and quiet adult-only household in a semi-rural location, with German Shepherd enthusiasts that have a keen interest in dog training.

More information:  Check out Toyah on findapet

Name: Barnabus

Age: 11

Breed: Labrador x Utonagan

Where: RSPCA Mount Noddy Animal Centre, Chichester, West Sussex

A bit about: This handsome goofball loves people and would make a great family pet.

Why he’s special: He’s big and strong, but a gentle giant, who loves toys and games.  He has a lot of energy and would benefit from learning some constructive games to keep his brain engaged.

Ideal home: He can live with children aged 12 and up who are used to big dogs.He would like to be the only dog in a home, and can not live with a cat.

More information: Check out Barnabus on findapet.