Fun Facts about dogs

  • Domestic dogs come in all shapes and sizes - the UK Kennel Club has registered 217 breeds - but they are all the same species – Canis familiaris
  • Dogs are the most widely abundant omnivore on the planet
  • There are seven different main breed groups in the UK: Gundog, Hound, Pastoral, Terrier, Toy, Utility and Working
  • Hounds are Breeds originally used for hunting. The scent hounds include the Basset, Beagle, Foxhound, Harrier, Staghound, Otterhound and Bloodhound and the sight hounds such breeds as the Whippet and Greyhound
  • Greyhounds can reach speeds of up to 43 mph (70 kmh)
  • A terrier is a dog of any one of many breeds or landraces of terrier type, which are typically small, wiry, very active and fearless dogs. Terrier breeds vary greatly in size from just 1 kg (2 lb) to over 32 kg (70 lb)
  • The word terrier comes from the Middle French “terre”, derived from the Latin word for earth, as these dogs were bred to hunt animals underground
  • Some dog breeds are banned in the UK because some people consider them too dangerous or because it is believed they are bred for dogfighting (although none of these things may actually be true). These are: Pit Bull Terrier types, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero.
  • Dogs are famous for their incredible sense of smell, which is unsurprising given they have roughly forty times more smell-sensitive receptors than humans. 
  • In 2016, the League Against Cruel Sports had eight canine companions at head office (Winnie, Harley, Benji, Molly, Lyla, Stanley, Doris and Rudy) – not to mention all those owned by non-office staff

A group of hounds

Why we need to protect dogs

Dog fighting

Dog fighting as a ‘sport’ was banned in 1835, as even then it was considered barbaric. But this horrific form of dog abuse still goes on. Forcing dogs to fight each other is a devastating betrayal of the trust that dogs put in humans. Training methods which brutalise the dogs and the fights themselves inflict untold physical and mental suffering on ‘man’s best friend’.

Terrier work

Terrier work, which is often associated with hunting, sees terriers introduced to a hole in the ground to flush out or force a wild animal to escape, or to dig it out and kill it. If the animal does not escape the hole immediately, the terrier men will dig down to access the animals, a process which can take hours. If the animal, usually a fox, does not bolt from the hole there can be an underground battle between the fox and terrier in which severe injuries can be sustained as they each fight for their lives. While the fox is the ‘victim’ of terrier work, the terriers also suffer greatly.

Brown Patterdale Terrier

Hunting hounds

Hunts regularly breed more puppies than are required for the hunting pack. Only the most promising are selected, often through the tradition of ‘cub hunting’, during which the riders surround an area containing fox cubs and send the hounds in to learn how to kill them. We also have recent evidence of fox cubs being thrown to the hounds at a hunt kennels – to teach the dogs that they should kill these animals. Those dogs that fail to make the grade at any stage from birth onwards are killed.

Once dogs have entered the pack they are killed, normally shot, if they fail to thrive as hunt animals, if they are believed to be too old to hunt with the pack (even if they still have many more years to live), or when they become surplus to requirements for any other reason. The average hunt dog lives much less than the normal life expectancy for a dog of the breed they belong to.

Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing involves highly trained dogs racing around a track in pursuit of an artificial lure. Betting on greyhound racing is big businesses which means that the treatment of the dogs often fails to live up to acceptable animal welfare standards.

Dogs can be kept for long periods in lonely kennels, can suffer painful injuries from racing and training, illness and neglect. Shockingly, thousands of surplus dogs die or disappear every year. The League believes dogs should not suffer or die for entertainment or for the profit of the dog racing industry.

What is the League doing to protect dogs?

  • Our Project Bloodline investigation continues to look into dog fighting in the UK. Our work includes undercover investigations as well as working with partners who are also involved with dog fighting such as police forces, councils and other charities
  • We are working with politicians to educate them about the cruelty of dog fighting, and its links to other crimes, and are pushing for stronger sentences for those involved in dog fighting
  • We are calling for the prohibition of the use of dogs underground – so called terrier work – as part of a strengthening of the Hunting Act.
  • Our investigators continue to look for evidence of fox hounds being abused by hunts
  • Our work on greyhound racing contributed to a government inquiry into the greyhound industry and we shall continue pushing for a ban on the sport

Pup in chains

How can I help dogs?

  • Sign our petition for stronger penalties for dog fighting
  • If you live in an area where there is a greyhound track, contact your MP and ask them to look into our concerns about abuse in the greyhound industry.
  • Join one of our supporter groups to help us raise awareness about dog fighting, greyhound racing, the treatment of fox hounds and terrier work
  • Contact your MP and ask them to help strengthen the Hunting Act to ban terrier work once and for all. 
  • Share this page on your social media


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