THE number of abandoned wolf-like dogs is rising because of the popularity of vampire-themed films and shows, an Oxfordshire charity has warned.

Blue Cross, which has centres in Lewknor and Burford, says the number of huskies and other wolf-like breeds has more than doubled in a year.

In Oxfordshire the number of Alaskan malamutes like Blue, left, has jumped from none from January to June last year, to five this year already.

Claire Stallard, animal behaviourist at Blue Cross, said: “These beautiful and distinctive breeds have become fashionable over the years, but unfortunately they may be chosen on their looks alone.

“One theory is that these breeds have a wolf-like appearance and the fashion for vampire-themed TV and films may be a feature of their increasing popularity.”

Popular films featuring wolves include the Twilight saga, which heavily features werewolves. Other television shows being blamed for the rise include Game of Thrones and True Blood, a series based around the lives of vampires.

But the charity said people often did not think about the amount of exercise such dogs need.

Ms Stallard said: “Siberian huskies are able to pull sleds across miles and miles of icy terrain. If not given enough exercise, these dogs can become frustrated which may manifest in all manner of problem behaviours.”

Blue came into the Burford centre more than four weeks ago and is desperately in need of a new home.

Centre manager Aly Jones said: “He is full of energy and loves to be out and about, and is distinctive in that he has one blue eye and one brown eye.

“He has a great personality and needs someone who can invest the time to take him on daily long walks.”

Nationally, the number of Alaskan malamutes in the Blue Cross’ 12 centres has jumped from two between January and June 2011 to 10 in the same period this year.

The number of Siberian huskies has risen from 13 to 30 – from three to four in Oxfordshire – and utonagons from zero to three.

The percentage increase in the number of Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies at its centres was causing added strain at a time when more pets were being abandoned, the charity said.

Centres across the county are desperately trying to find homes for abandoned pets as the UK enters deeper into recession.

William Walker, who runs Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Jack Russell Rescue in Weston-on-the-Green, near Bicester, said: “People are dumping dogs. The vets are expensive, food is expensive and so the first thing to go is the dog.”

How to adopt Blue or other dogs:

See Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary – visit oxfordshire or call 01865 890239. Blue Cross – visit or call 0300 777 1500 or 0300 777 1897.