Dogs Trust

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Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust Logo 2020.jpg
Formation1891; 129 years ago (1891)
Registration no.227523
Legal statusCharity
Headquarters17 Wakley Street, London, England, UK

Clarissa Baldwin (1986–2014)
Adrian Burder (2014–2018)
Owen Sharp (2019–)
Formerly called
National Canine Defence League

Dogs Trust, known until 2003 as the National Canine Defence League, is a British animal welfare charity and humane society which specialises in the well-being of dogs. It is the largest dog welfare charity in the United Kingdom, caring for over 15,000 animals each year.[1] Dogs Trust's primary objective is to protect all dogs in the UK and elsewhere from maltreatment, cruelty and suffering.[2] It focuses on the rehabilitation and rehoming of dogs which have been either abandoned or given up by their owners through rehoming services.

Dogs Trust has 20 rehoming centres across the UK. Its first international rehoming centre opened in November 2009 in Dublin, Ireland.[3] Its charity guidelines ensure that no mentally or physically healthy dog taken into the protection of its rehoming centres are euthanised. Dogs Trust also manages microchipping and neutering schemes in the United Kingdom and abroad, in order to reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and stray dogs.


The National Canine Defence League (NCDL) was founded in 1891 at a meeting during the first Crufts show chaired by Lady Gertrude Stock. The NCDL campaigned against vivisection, unnecessary muzzling and prolonged chaining, as well as providing care for stray dogs. It also campaigned against cruel treatment of dogs by railway companies, who often refused to provide water for dogs. More unusually, in the 1920s, it provided AA wardens with pistols. This was because dogs and other animals were often involved in car accidents, and the pistols were provided to allow the wardens to euthanise the animal as a last resort in the worst cases. In 1957, the NCDL campaigned against the use of the Russian space dogs in space flight, organising a minute's silence in honour of Laika, who died in orbit from overheating and stress. In 2003, the NCDL was rebranded as Dogs Trust.[4] In 2016 the Trust declared an income of £98.4 million and expenditure of £86 million.[5] In 2017 the Trust declared an income of £106.4 million, an increase of £8 million from 2016.[6] In November 2017, Dogs Trust assisted in the effort to reduce dog homelessness in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by contributing to the funding of a major rehoming centre.[7] On 14 March 2019, Dogs Trust officially unveiled plans to open a new rehoming centre in Cardiff in 2021.[8]

The charity is best known for its slogan "A Dog is for life, not just for Christmas", which is used either in full or shortened to "A Dog is for Life" in advertising. The phrase was created by Clarissa Baldwin, the former Chief Executive of the charity, to reduce the number of dogs which are abandoned as unwanted.[9] The slogan is a registered trademark. More recently it has adopted another slogan: "Dogs Trust Never Put a Healthy Dog Down". During the COVID-19 pandemic, they adapted this slogan to "A Dog is for Life, not just for Lockdown".[10]


Rehoming aims to rehome most dogs under its protection at the Dog Trust's 21 rehoming centres across the UK and Ireland.[11] It also obtains two large mobile rehoming units known as 'Dogmobiles'. These are large vehicles fitted with air conditioned kennels and are specially designed to tour the local area, carrying a small number of dogs from nearby rehoming centres that are desperately seeking new homes.[12]

Dogs Trust never euthanises healthy dogs, however some dogs suffering from potential trauma are unable to be rehabilitated in order to live in a normal home environment. The charity takes care of these dogs under its popular Sponsor a Dog scheme.

They have also created an animal sanctuary where selected dogs unable to be rehomed can live together free from excessive human contact.

List of Dogs Trust rehoming centres:

At the beginning of June 2012, the charity opened its eighteenth UK rehoming centre in Leicestershire. Dogs Trust Loughborough aims to be the greenest animal rescue centre in the world. The centre runs on renewable energy from its biomass boiler, green roofs, under-floor heating, solar thermal panels, photovoltaic panels and a rainwater recycling system.[13] The project will be constructed with the aim to achieve BREEAM (BRE Environment Assessment Method) outstanding classification and the highest levels of sustainability. The charity says the facilities will significantly reduce running costs.[14]


Dogs Trust has campaigned against docking of tails and unnecessary euthanasia, such as that carried out on foxhounds after fox hunting was banned by the Hunting Act 2004. It also offers free neutering services in certain poorer countries and runs international training programmes[15] for other animal welfare charities with the aim of reducing feral populations.

In 2010 the charity introduced the term 'battery farming of dogs' to associate the practice of Puppy farming in the minds of the public with that of battery farming of chickens, and aims to educate the public as to where they can safely go to buy a ‘cruelty free dog’.[16]

In 2009 Dogs Trust started the process towards making microchipping compulsory for all dogs.[17] They successfully lobbied for changes to the laws in the United Kingdom to make that happen starting in 2015. In 2017 they declared the program a success and lead the public to believe that their microchip program reduced the stray population of dogs in the UK and prevented euthanasia.[18][6] However, they failed to mention that they had nearly doubled the amount of spay/neuter services for five years leading into the implementation of compulsory implant of microchips in all dogs in the UK, and have promoted a misconception that microchips (returns to owner) instead of spay/neuter reduces the population and prevents euthanasia. The following is a table of the UK dog population and the Dogs Trust spay/neuter and microchip services published by Dogs Trust.[19][18][20][21]

YE 31 March UK Strays UK Euthanised YE Dec. 31st Spay/Neuter Microchip
2009 107,228 9,310 NA NA NA
2010 122,000 6,404 2009 45,814 NA
2011 126,000 7,121 2010 48,520 10,677
2012 118,000 NA 2011 64,691 62,367
2013 111,000 8,985 2012 67,244 144,600
2014 110,675 7,058 2013 68,619 90,968
2015 102,363 5,142 2014 73,549 264,240
2016 81,050 3,463 2015 77,047 196,214
2017 66,277 2,231 2016 33,453 107,826
2018 56,043 1,462 2017 22,789 NA

Compulsory implant of microchip laws allow shelters to implant the pet upon intake without hold times. In 2017 (Report of YE 31 March 2018) Dogs Trust reported 15,446 dogs cared for and 312 deaths, the highest for the last 10 years.[6] The report for the year ending 31 March 2019 shows 15,015 dogs cared for and 331 deaths, and increase of another 10% in the death/care rate.[22] Adverse event reporting for microchip implant became compulsory with the implant laws. Yet it does not appear that any of their deaths were reported as adverse events of microchip implant, but just dismissed as another death in the shelter. Shelter deaths are a concern in themselves and also as a general indicator of the health of the population. It is a wonder that the mandatory microchip implant program was put in with adverse event reporting[23][circular reference], but no monitoring of the inflammatory markers of the pets being implanted.

Celebrity support[edit]

TV game show winnings

Waggy Walks[edit]

From 2009 to 2011, Dogs Trust held an annual charity event held at locations across the UK, where members of the public could complete either a 5 km or 10 km walk around a course in an area which is usually close to the rehoming centre for that location.

Dogs Trust Honours[edit]

A Dog's Life, the Trust's award-winning garden at the 2016 Hampton Court Flower Show

In 2008, the charity created Dogs Trust Honours, an annual 'Doggy Pride of Britain Awards' ceremony celebrating the relationship between Human and dog and honouring dogs who have greatly helped their owner, local community or society.[29]

Rehoming figures[edit]

Year Dogs cared for Dogs rehomed Dogs reunited
with owners
Dogs died[30] Reference
2005 13,506 11,563 168 273 [31]
2006 Increase 15,162 Increase 12,993 Increase 192 Decrease 215 [32]
2007 Increase 16,177 Increase 14,022 Decrease 185 Increase 334 [33]
2008 Increase 16,238 Increase 14,169 Increase 190 Decrease 260 [34]
2009 Decrease 15,886 Decrease 13,909 Decrease 178 Decrease 226 [34]
2010 Increase 16,813 Increase 14,590 Increase 237 Increase 276 [35]
2011 Decrease 15,986 Decrease 13,830 Decrease 178 Increase 309 [36]
2012 Increase 16,879 Increase 14,825 Increase 202 Decrease 199 [36]
2013 Increase 16,879 Increase 14,865 Increase 220 Increase 238 [37]
2014 Decrease 14,630 Decrease 14,419 Decrease 203 Decrease 214
2015 Increase 15,196 Decrease 12,987 Increase 204 Decrease 188 [38]
2016 Increase 15,343 Increase 13,067 Increase 226 Increase 270 [39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The History of Dogs Trust | Dogs Trust".
  2. ^ "Dogs Trust Constitution | Dogs Trust".
  3. ^ "Lucky dogs get the star treatment". 5 November 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  4. ^ "National Canine Defence League rebrands as Dogs Trust". New Media Age. 16 October 2003. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Charity overview".
  6. ^ a b c "Annual report" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Dogs Trust gradi centar za udomljavanje pasa na Ilidži vrijedan 20 miliona KM" [Dogs Trust building a rehoming centre in Ilidza, estimated at 10 million EUR] (in Bosnian). Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Copping, Jasper (6 January 2008). "Pedigree dogs are dumped in record numbers". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  10. ^ Quinn, Ben (4 May 2020). "Dogs are for life, not just coronavirus lockdown, says charity". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Our centres". Dogs Trust. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Dogmobile at autumn show (From Evesham Journal)". 24 September 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Dogs Trust Loughborough Website page". Dogs Trust. Loughborough.
  14. ^ Siegle, Lucy (12 December 2010). "Clarissa Baldwin's innovation: low carbon-footprint dog rescue". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Langford, Mark (8 January 2010). "Dogs Trust Warns People Could Unwittingly Buy Dogs Born On Puppy Farms". British Sky Broadcasting. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Annual report" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Stray dog report" (PDF). Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Accounts and Annual Reviews | Dogs Trust".
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Stray dog report" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  23. ^ Microchip implant (animal)
  24. ^ "Dogs Trust announces new celebrity patrons | Vet Times". 13 November 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  25. ^ Eamonn Holmes. "Charity – Eamonn Holmes". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Supported Charities - John Barrowman Official Site".
  27. ^ "All Star Mr & Mrs". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  28. ^ "Johnny Vegas on Twitter: "@DogsTrust_IE @rickoshea @MaiaDunphy @DogsTrust I just said "Awwwwwwwww" out loud. Impossibly cute!"". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Dogs Trust never destroy a healthy dog, but obviously have to put some dogs to sleep if it is in the dog's best interests
  31. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ "Once Upon a Time : Annual Review 2014" (PDF).\accessdate=2016-04-28.
  38. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  39. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2019.

External links[edit]