Dogs Trust

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
Dogs Trust Logo 2020.jpg
Formation1891; 130 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 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 re-homing centers 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 re-homed 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 re-homing centre in Leicestershire. Dogs Trust Loughborough aims to be the greenest animal rescue centre in the world. The center 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 programs [15] for other animal welfare charities to reduce feral populations.

Puppy FarmingEdit

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]

Compulsory MicrochippingEdit

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

Puppy smugglingEdit

Since 2014, Dogs Trust has been working to reveal the cruel puppy smuggling trade.[22] They have released yearly reports detailing this trade and encouraged MPs to back their campaign.[23] This has included intercepting puppies far too young to be imported into the country and pregnant dogs being smuggled in so their puppies can be born and then sold in the UK. Dogs Trust set up the "Puppy Pilot", a scheme to intercept, care and rehabilitate puppies seized at ports before they are rehomed through the charity.[24] In 2020 they continued this campaign, highlighting "Dogfishing". These are scams where apparently healthy pets are bought but suddenly fall ill or die soon after.[25][26]

Celebrity supportEdit

TV game show winnings


Freedom ProjectEdit

Dogs Trust Freedom Project provides foster care for dogs so those suffering domestic abuse can escape from these situations.[32] The service operates in Greater London and the Home Counties (Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire), East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire), Yorkshire, the North East and North West of England and Scotland. This essential service allows people to find safety in refuges which often don't accept pets.[33][34]

Hope ProjectEdit

Dogs Trust has been working with homelessness charities, such as St Mungos,[35] throughout the United Kingdom for over 20 years to help support dogs owned by people in housing crisis. This includes giving out Christmas gift packages including items such as dog treats, leads and dog coats. The Project also helps those struggling with vets bills for their dogs.[36]


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

Waggy WalksEdit

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 HonoursEdit

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.[37]

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016Edit

To mark the charity's 125th anniversary, a garden entitled "A Dog's Life" was designed by Paul Hervey-Brooks and built by G K Wilson Landscapes was shown at Hampton Court Flower Show 2016. It won a gold medal. The garden offered a semi-formal and contemporary area for both dogs and people. This included dog-friendly features and planting including tunnels and "sniffer tracks".[38][39]

Rehoming figuresEdit

Year Dogs cared for Dogs rehomed Dogs reunited
with owners
Dogs died[40] Reference
2005 13,506 11,563 168 273 [41]
2006   15,162   12,993   192   215 [42]
2007   16,177   14,022   185   334 [43]
2008   16,238   14,169   190   260 [44]
2009   15,886   13,909   178   226 [44]
2010   16,813   14,590   237   276 [45]
2011   15,986   13,830   178   309 [46]
2012   16,879   14,825   202   199 [46]
2013   16,879   14,865   220   238 [47]
2014   14,630   14,419   203   214 [48]
2015   15,196   12,987   204   188 [49]
2016   15,343   13,067   226   270 [50]
2017   15,446   13,141   242   312 [51]
2018   15,015   12,624   310   331 [52]
2019   14,301   11,790   244   292 [53]

See alsoEdit


  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 "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". The 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. ^ "Dogs Trust Puppy Smuggling Reports". Dogs Trust. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  23. ^ Winter, Stuart (11 March 2019). "'APPALLING!' Fury at dog-smuggling gangs as UK campaigners issue plea". Daily Express. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  24. ^ "Coronavirus: Fears over dog smuggling as lockdown puppy prices rise by up to 89%". Sky News. 13 August 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  25. ^ Shukman, Harry (20 January 2020). "Puppy Smugglers sell thousands of unhealthy dogs". The Times. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  26. ^ Barber, Richard (12 February 2020). "Coronation Street star Daniel Brocklebank takes on cruel dog fishing criminals". Daily Express. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Dogs Trust announces new celebrity patrons | Vet Times". 13 November 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  28. ^ Eamonn Holmes. "Charity – Eamonn Holmes". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  29. ^ "Supported Charities - John Barrowman Official Site".
  30. ^ "All Star Mr & Mrs". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Johnny Vegas on Twitter: "@DogsTrust_IE @rickoshea @MaiaDunphy @DogsTrust I just said "Awwwwwwwww" out loud. Impossibly cute!"". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  32. ^ Hulme, Jenny (31 December 2016). "Meet the Pet Rescuers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  33. ^ Jeffray, John (15 April 2019). "Charity offers haven to pets at risk from domestic abuse". The Times. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  34. ^ Winter, Stuart (13 July 2014). "Animal abuse is 'first sign' of domestic abuse risk". Daily Express. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  35. ^ Catchpole, Lewis (24 December 2020). "Dogs Trust and St Mungo's partner for Christmas charity initiative". Pet Gazette. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  36. ^ Burns, Andrew (27 November 2017). "Free veterinary care for homeless people's dogs can change lives". iNews. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Dogs Trust: A Dog's Life Garden". RHS Show Garden. RHS.
  39. ^ Henderson, Emma (7 July 2016). "Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016: which gardens to see and who to watch out for". The Independent. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  40. ^ 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
  41. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ 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)
  45. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  46. ^ 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)
  47. ^ "Once Upon a Time : Annual Review 2014" (PDF).\accessdate=2016-04-28.
  48. ^ "Annual Review 2014" (PDF).\accessdate=2016-04-28.
  49. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  50. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  51. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  52. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  53. ^ "Annual review" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.

External linksEdit