Game of Thrones inspired: how to choose a dog breed for Planet Earth 2019

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan do you look out for the Dire Wolves in every episode?  Maybe you’re thinking of getting a ‘Dire Wolf’ puppy?

As a dog trainer, over the past few years, I’ve seen the effect the ‘pet’ dogs – the Direwolves –  in Game of Thrones have had on the puppy buying public. It’s inspired a video, this blog, and a t-shirt! (If you’d like the t-shirt click here)

Well, obviously you’re not actually getting a Direwolf as they’ve been extinct for an even longer time than it’s taking George R. R. Martin to write all the Game of Thrones books.

But if you’re after your own ‘Direwolf’, should you be considering a Husky?

Modern dogs aren’t actually directly related to Direwolves, whose branch of canines, canis dirus has no living descendants. They are closer to the Gray Wolf, canis lupus.

Let’s be clear. There’s as much (or as little) connection between a Direwolf and a Husky as there is with a Poodle or a Chihuahua.

Let’s assume for now that you’ve decided to get a puppy – and you are sure that you’re prepared for the commitment bringing any puppy into your home involves. So why is it that so many people from dog rescue centres to leading stars of the hit series itself are telling you not to get a Husky or similar breed just because they look a bit like the Direwolves in the series?

Let’s look at just a few real-world facts

Sure, huskies are big and beautiful and the puppies are cute as all puppies are but they’ve got plenty of competition!

Did you know how much of that beautiful coat Huskies regularly moult? 

So, if you don’t want your entire house and wardrobe to appear as fur-coated as your dog, that means a LOT of grooming and vacuuming!

Huskies were bred to be sled dogs. 

And as that suggests, they’re strong and they have the energy to run … and run … and run … and run whilst pulling something … So, unless you lead a VERY active life – do you really want the consequences of a large bored dog full of pent-up energy exploding around your home? Think of the destructive potential and the guilt you’ll be feeling as yet again you haven’t found enough time in the day for your dog.

Do you have a very secure garden or yard? 

A bored Husky won’t take long to either scale or jump what may look like an impossibly high fence or, if it actually is impossibly high, dig their way out.

They are not an easy breed to train. 

You’ll need a lot of experience or a great deal of time and money to invest in training.

Think about all the other great breeds and breed mixes available from a good breeder or rescue centre. Breeds that may well be far better suited to you and your lifestyle.

One thing I can absolutely guarantee – whatever dog you decide upon is just as likely to alert you to the approach of a White Walker as a Direwolf or even a Husky …actually, more likely as a Husky will probably be off enjoying a run in the snow!

Think carefully before you decide on the perfect puppy for you …

Puppies are not always a walk in the park

Puppies are cute and lovely, but it can be a real challenge to bring them up to be lovely dogs. Puppies jump, hang, bite, destroy, run away, empty bins and make-up bags, chew on shoes, trainers and plug sockets — the list goes on. Of course, all puppies are different, therefore some people will remember those days fondly; others will remember how stressful and tiring it was; but most will have erased this stressful time from their memory.

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What is your dog trying to tell you?

Learn to talk dog courseDo you often wonder what your dog is saying? Clearly, it’s not in words so Google translate can’t help! But we can learn to understand our dogs so much better, so that in future a quick glance at any dog will tell you a great deal about how they’re feeling.

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In the kennel with … Sarah Whitehead

Dog Coach Videos interviews top dog trainers & behaviourists

Sarah and Jack 2010 copy.jpg

One of the UK’s top dog trainers, Sarah Whitehead, is an authority on puppy training, development and behaviour, aggression, and canine body language. She has an MSc in Animal Behaviour and has been involved in research with Dr John Bradshaw. She used to be Deputy Editor of Dogs Today magazine and is also the author of 24 behavioural and training books, booklets and DVDs. She appears regularly as a consultant on TV and radio.

Sarah also runs the Clever Dog Company chain of puppy and dog training classes with eighteen branches across the UK and has just launched a new on-line dog training programme Train Your Dog Online.

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In the kennel with … Peter Neville

Clickety Clips interviews top dog trainers & behaviourists

Peter Neville, Professor in Companion Animal Behaviour
Peter Neville has been in practice for the treatment of behaviour problems in pets for over 25 years. He is a founding partner of COAPE (Centre of Applied Pet Ethology) which offers a range of residential and distance learning courses in companion animal behaviour and behaviour therapy and Adjunct Full Professor, Dept of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, USA. He is a lecturer and speaker in high demand at veterinary, behaviour and training meetings around the world.
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In the kennel with … Steve Mann

Clickety Clips interviews top dog trainers

Steve Mann, Dog Trainer & Behaviourist, Chairman of the IMDT
Steve has been a full-time dog trainer for over 20 years. He has trained thousands of dogs and hundreds of professional dog trainers. He is founder and chairman of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers and presents seminars, courses and workshops for dog trainers and behaviourists worldwide. A regular on TV, Steve has starred in several shows including ‘The Underdog Show’ and ‘Who let The Dogs Out?’ alongside Ashleigh & Pudsey.

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Games dogs play

games dogs play


How often do you play with your dog?

Is play part of your routine together, or something that gets sidelined depending on your mood and motivation after a hard day? Do you prioritise training or physical exercise over games with your dog? Perhaps now’s the time to think again!

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In the kennel with … Steve Goward

Clickety Clips interviews top dog trainers

Steve Goward, Dogs Trust
Steve with his dog Molly, a 7 year old Newfoundland cross from Dogs Trust’s Shrewsbury kennels

Steve Goward, Deputy Head of Canine Behaviour & Training, Dogs Trust
Steve started as a volunteer at Dogs Trust in 2000 whilst studying animal welfare as a mature student, and went on to study canine behaviour at Bristol University. Now, as Deputy Head of Canine Behaviour & Training, he supports all Dogs Trust’s centres across the UK with staff training and advice on behaviour and welfare.

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