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The Huskies Are Coming: Shelters Notice Trend Between Hit ‘Game of Thrones' and Uptick in Drop-Offs

Employees are calling it the "Game of Thrones" factor.

What to Know

  • Since the show "Game of Thrones" first aired, there is an increase in husky impounds at Riverside County’s animal shelters.
  • Husky impounds grew from 1.7 percent of all dog breeds in 2013 to nearly seven percent of impounds this year.
  • Husky breeds also account for the highest number of returned breeds at the shelter.

Several employees at the Department of Animal Services believe there is a correlation between HBO’s hit fictional television show "Game of Thrones" and a rise in the number of huskies populating Riverside County’s animal shelters.

Based off an extinct North American prehistoric carnivore, dire wolves resemble large wolf-like creatures on the television show. In the show, the dire wolves first appear as puppies. As they grow, they become more vital to the storyline and develop relationships with the characters.

In addition to their wolf-like resemblance, dire wolves characteristics resemble Siberian Huskies. Animal Services Chief Jaclyn Schart believes fans of the show are making the correlation, and are seeking huskies as pets. 

"We really do believe the series has caused our husky spike," said Schart in a Department of Animal Services press release. "It's the same trend shelters experienced with '101 Dalmatians' or 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua.' Popular culture drives up interest in certain breeds."

In 2013, 351, or 1.7 percent of all impounds, consisted of husky or husky mixes in the county’s shelters.

As the show has gained popularity, the number of husky or husky mixes has increased to 1,027, or nearly seven percent of impounds in the county’s shelters.

Although "Game of Thrones" may be a reason for the increase in husky impounds, Schart believes there is another reason for the large intake of husky breeds.

"They're very cute as puppies, but then they grow up to become huskies and they're hyper active," Schart said in the news release. "Then the adopter brings them back."

Huskies account for the highest returned breeds at the shelter at nearly 13 percent, based on 2018 statistics.

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