Imported rescue dogs; reasons, methods and welfare


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Student Research


Investigator(s): Charlotte Norman

Supervisor(s): Dr Carri Westgarth (University of Liverpool), Dr Jenny Stavisky (University of Nottingham)

In recent years more and more dogs have been rescued from overseas, yet there is very little known about the process of overseas adoption and what happens once they are in a home. This study investigated the reasons people choose to rescue from abroad, the process they used to get the dog, any issues faced when back in the UK and potential welfare problems associated with this practice.
An online questionnaire was advertised on social media and received 3,080 responses from people living in the UK, who had adopted a rescue dog from abroad in the last 5 years. The results showed that participants primarily adopted from abroad because they had come across a particular dog that they wanted, had been refused dogs from UK rescues, or were concerned for the safety of the animal. 1 in 5 of the surveyed dogs had a known health condition and a similar rate of participants suggested that their dog displayed challenging behaviour.
This study provides valuable insight into not only the importation and impact of infectious diseases, but also importation under the incorrect law. It also highlights the successes of international organisations who have been able to secure high adoption rates, which UK equivalents could learn from.
Read the final paper published in Vet RecordImporting rescue dogs into the UK: reasons, methods and welfare considerations

Watch Charlotte Norman present at the 2018 Discussion Forum  


Full Report