Experts caution jumping on to movie-influenced pet trends


HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – Popular movies and TV series featuring dogs tend to affect the popularity of those breeds, but the American Kennel Club is reminding people to always research before getting a new pet. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is an organization that keeps a registry of purebred dogs in the U.S.

If you see it, you like it, and you want it, you may want to do some research before you go get it.  

While it is not the intention of TV show or movie makers to cause a surge in popularity for a featured animal, it’s often the case.  

For example, after the movie “Finding Nemo” premiered in 2003, clownfish became a fish tank favorite. The demand increased so much that conservationists became concerned about the species’ numbers out in the wild.  

This led to the creation of sustainable breeding initiatives to make sure that the fish did not disappear in the Great Barrier Reef, where they come from.  

Brandi Hunter with AKC said this happens quite often with dogs, but does not anticipate a huge spike in Dalmatian demand following the new “Cruella” movie.

“We do generally see an uptick when there is a dog featured in a very popular movie,” said Hunter. “Especially if it’s a children’s movie or a wildly popular family-style movie.” 

Hunter recalls a spike in registered labrador retrievers after the 2008 movie “Marley and Me.” 

Huskies had a demand increase thanks to the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones” because of they are the dog breed with most physical similarities with wolves, according to Hunter.  

The 2021 prequel “Cruella” premiered May 28, but Hunter said they do not anticipate an increase in dalmatian registrations because the film is geared more towards adults than children.  

Regardless, if you are looking for a Dalmation through a reputable breeder, do not expect to get one right away.  

“Generally responsible breeders are not really driven by demand, they’re driven by breeding responsible litters and making sure the dogs are coming out the healthiest. What does happen is that breeder waitlists get very long if it’s a particular breed that people want,” said Hunter.  

Most importantly, when considering adopting any dog breed, it’d best to look into whether that dog will fit your type of lifestyle and if you can provide for its specific needs.  

A social media post gained traction this week after making the same point.

Please, please, please, don’t rush out and buy a Dalmatian after watching ‘Cruella’ [or] rewatching ‘101 Dalmatians.’ Don’t let your friends or family members impulse buy one, either. Do your research before bringing one home! They’re wonderful dogs but they are definitely not a good fit for everyone,” wrote the author of the post.

The AKC provides resources for education on dog breeds, training, and more on their website.  

Local animal shelters also offer a variety of dogs in need of homes.

“We always advocate at the AKC that though it may be cute and cuddly on screen or on Instagram or on TV, you should definitely do your research first and make sure that that breed is conducive to your lifestyle,” Hunter said. 

Editor’s note: It was originally reported that golden retrievers saw a spike in popularity after the movie Marley and Me, however, it was the labrador retrievers that saw the spike. The story has been updated with the correction.

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