Why 'Thrones' fans are irritating dog breeders

A newly 'resurrected' animal is not what you think it is

It's amazing what selective breeding can do. 

It's responsible for pretty much every type of dog we know today, and, as it turns out, for resurrecting the fabled dire wolf – the preferred pet of House Stark on Game of Thrones.

Yep, someone has "brought back" the species, but there's something you should know. 

This pooch is not the "direwolf" from the HBO show, which is roughly the size of a small car. In real life, the dire wolf (the animal's actual name) was only a little bigger than its modern-day counterpart. 

And the "resurrected" dire wolf is not a wolf, extinct or otherwise. It's a new breed of dog that's been bred to look like its namesake (but act like a loyal and lovable household pet). 

But that hasn't stopped Jon Snow wannabes from taking an interest in the dogs, which is something their creator finds a little troubling. 

'They don't care about the animal'

Believe it or not, the existence of this new dire wolf – actually called the American Alsatian – has nothing to do with Game of Thrones

Oregonian Lois Schwarz actually began breeding them as part of "The Dire Wolf Project" in 1988. In a Washington Post interview this week, she said the HBO show has created an increased demand for her dogs. 

But there's a dark side to that trend.

“It sends me people who only want dire wolves," Schwarz tells the paper. "They don’t care about the animal. They’re very sensitive, loving, kind dogs. They don’t want to fight.”

The Post says thousands of people have ordered Schwarz's pups, and that many are currently on waiting lists. 

Huskies becoming a fad, too 

The American Alsatian certainly isn't alone in all this Thrones-inspired mania. 

There are now reports of a "Siberian Husky craze" brought on by the popularity of the Starks' pets – and it's creating a troubling trend. 

The San Francisco Chronicle says there was a "700 percent rise" in abandoned huskies reported in the United Kingdom in 2014, and more recently, a similar phenomenon in the Bay Area.

"It's really becoming a huge problem," the operator of a local husky rescue group told the paper.

How did shelters notice the connection between the show and the abandoned pups? 

The Chronicle says it's usually the "funny names" that give away the surrendered huskies – like Lady, Ghost, Nymeria, Grey Wind, and Summer.

Hopefully no one decides it would be cool to start breeding dragons. 

This story is part of our Best of the Web section – which is just interesting stuff we find online and want to share with you.

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