Why handbag dogs are going out of fashion

The trend of toting tiny pups around as accessories has subsided, with owners dumping the £2,000 hounds at rescue centres. Is big the new small?

Name: Handbag dogs.

Age: Quite young, at first.

Appearance: Small and cute, up to a point.

Cute or not, I can’t believe people are still making handbags out of dogs. It’s as if 101 Dalmatians never happened. These are dogs that fit in handbags.

Oh. Which breeds qualify as handbag dogs? Pugs, miniature dachshunds, French bulldogs, that sort of thing.

You’d need a bloody big handbag to put a French bulldog in it. It works better when they’re puppies, which may be part of the problem.

What problem? The trend for handbag dogs has passed, it seems.

You mean we’ve reached peak pooch? It looks that way. The celebrity fashion for toting compact canines on the red carpet – Reese Witherspoon has a French bulldog; Adele a dachshund – had driven up demand in the UK, to the extent that handbag puppies were being stolen.

Perhaps the thieves were under the impression they were just stealing handbags. Possibly, although the dogs themselves can sell for as much as £2,000.

That’s a lot of money for not very much dog. But, these days, the little bug-eyed pups are being dumped at rescue centres in droves: the Dogs Trust has reported a 444% rise in the number of handbag breeds it has taken in.

Why have people fallen out of love with their wee dogs? Perhaps they have realised that a dog makes for a problematic accessory – they don’t, as a rule, like being zipped up in bags. Or it could be that the celebrities have moved on to bigger dogs. The Beckhams have a spaniel.

Even so, you wouldn’t catch me leaving a £2,000 dog by the side of the road. Sadly, many of these handbags dogs are smuggled into Britain on the cheap, so they can be had for a lot less, although they’re often sickly and rarely vaccinated.

When will people realise that a dog is for life, not just a trip to the shops? The Dogs Trust has commissioned a bag for life from designer Radley to convey just that message.

How many pomeranians could you fit in it? You’re missing the point.

Do say: “Let me just make sure I’ve got everything – keys, phone, wallet, Revels, glasses, Kenneth, headphones, lipstick …”

Don’t say: “Hang on, those aren’t Revels.”

The GuardianTramp

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