Dogs Trust

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Dogs Trust
Industry Animal welfare
Founded 1891
Headquarters United Kingdom
Key people
Clarissa Baldwin (1986-2014)
Adrian Burder (2014—)[1]
Slogan Dogs Trust never destroys a healthy dog

Dogs Trust, formerly known as the National Canine Defence League, is an animal welfare charity and humane society in the United Kingdom which specialises in the well-being of dogs. The charity rehabilitates and finds new homes for dogs which have been abandoned or given up by their owners. People are encouraged to sponsor a dog for at least £1 a week, even if they are not able to rehome the dog. It also runs microchipping and neutering schemes in the United Kingdom and abroad, in order to reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and stray dogs put to sleep by other organisations.

Dogs Trust has 20 rehoming centres across the UK, and its first international rehoming centre opened in November 2009 in Dublin.[2] The charity claims never to put a healthy dog to sleep.[3]


A Dogs Trust's truck in Belfast.

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]


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 to reduce the number of dogs which are abandoned as unwanted by Clarissa Baldwin, the former Chief Executive of the charity.[5] The slogan is a registered trademark. More recently it has adopted another slogan: "Dogs Trust Never Put a Healthy Dog Down".


Dogs Trust tries to rehome most dogs which it cares for and it runs 20 [6] rehoming centres across the UK and Ireland, as well as 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.[7]

Dogs Trust never euthanises healthy dogs, however some dogs may have had a particularly bad start in life and would not be happy living in a normal home environment. The charity takes care of these dogs under its popular Sponsor a Dog scheme.

They have also created a sanctuary where selected dogs can live together free from excessive human contact.

There are currently centres in:

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.[8] 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.[9]


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 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’.[10]

Celebrity supporters[edit]

Celebrity donations[edit]

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]

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.[15]

Rehoming figures[edit]

Year Dogs cared for Dogs rehomed Dogs reunited
with owners
Dogs died[16] Reference
2005 13,506 11,563 168 273 [17]
2006 Increase 15,162 Increase 12,993 Increase 192 Decrease 215 [18]
2007 Increase 16,177 Increase 14,022 Decrease 185 Increase 334 [19]
2008 Increase 16,238 Increase 14,169 Increase 190 Decrease 260 [20]
2009 Decrease 15,886 Decrease 13,909 Decrease 178 Decrease 226 [20]
2010 Increase 16,813 Increase 14,590 Increase 237 Increase 276 [21]
2011 Decrease 15,986 Decrease 13,830 Decrease 178 Increase 309 [22]
2012 Increase 16,879 Increase 14,825 Increase 202 Decrease 199 [22]
2013 Increase 16,879 Increase 14,865 Increase 220 Increase 238 [23]
2014 Decrease 15,239 Increase 14,895 TBA TBA

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Lucky dogs get the star treatment". 5 November 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Dogs Trust - About Dogs Trust". Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  4. ^ "National Canine Defence League rebrands as Dogs Trust". New Media Age. 16 October 2003. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  5. ^ Copping, Jasper (6 January 2008). "Pedigree dogs are dumped in record numbers". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Dogs Trust Loughborough Website page". Dogs Trust (Loughborough). 
  9. ^ Siegle, Lucy (12 December 2010). "Clarissa Baldwin's innovation: low carbon-footprint dog rescue". The Guardian (London). 
  10. ^ Langford, Mark (8 January 2010). "Dogs Trust Warns People Could Unwittingly Buy Dogs Born On Puppy Farms". British Sky Broadcasting. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Lowe, David (23 February 2009). "Wonder dog Oscars are go". The Sun (London). 
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^

Other projects[edit]

Media related to Dogs Trust at Wikimedia Commons

External links[edit]