Pet Fad Starter (Trivia)
When the appearance of an animal in a media leads to a growing demand for it.
When the appearance of an animal in a work of media leads to a sudden spike in demand for that animal. Basically, an animal version of The Red Stapler. Just like with songs or certain pieces of merchandise, the appearance of a certain animal in a work of media will often lead to sudden attention on the animal, and thus a spike in demand for that animal. Quite common with dog breeds (as many dogs on TV are purebred) but does happen with other animals as well. As with the impulse buy of any animal, this often leads to problems for the people who buy them. When a movie featuring a certain animal comes out, animal advocacy groups often put out messages to discourage people from buying the animal, and for good reason: when the hype dies down people often get bored of the pet, especially when the pet turned out to be more work than they expected. This has led to a lot of animals being abandoned. Sub-trope to The Red Stapler.
- All Girls Like Ponies is a frequent stereotype and thus many horse-related materials cause this in girls (and children in general). Breyer toys, My Little Pony, The Saddle Club, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Black Beauty. etc. Thankfully, most kids don't actually get horses due to their parents realizing how expensive and large they are, but they often start liking them at least.
- Inverted with black cats. Folklore says that black cats are bad luck or are affiliated with witches, and Cat Stereotypes keep the trend alive. Many shelters outright refuse to adopt out black cats in October due to fears that the cat will be abandoned after Halloween or it might be injured in some sort of ritual. There have been attempts to boost the popularity of black cats however completely black cats (and large, black dogs) are still amongst the most frequently euthanized pets in animal shelters.
- Thanks to a lot of popular media making it seem as though Everything's Better with Monkeys, many people feel encouraged to seek primates out as pets, believing they'll make charming and fun companions. Unfortunately, in reality, all primates are absolutely terrible pets in just about every way possible. Housing them is extremely difficult, being very noisy, very messy, very destructive animals by nature that require specialized diets and a LOT of open space; primates are also very social animals who live in tight-knit groups in the wild, but when kept as pets are often deprived from the company of their own kind; these unnatural living conditions causes their psychological health to suffer immensely. Contrary to what movies and cartoons would have you believe, they have extremely unpredictable and often nasty temperaments; they may be cute and passive as babies, but as they mature they quickly become very unruly and aggressive, especially in such stressful, confined living conditions. They are agile and very physically strong, possessing powerful jaws with large teeth, as well as sharp fingernails that can easily cause severe, even life threatening injuries. To top it all off, they can carry a number of diseases that are both contagious and very deadly to humans. Most owners end up disposing of these animals when they prove far too difficult to manage, and sadly, genuinely good sanctuaries for unwanted apes, monkeys, and lemurs are few and far between, so many of these animals end up changing hands between incapable owners, or in shady roadside zoos, or substandard sanctuaries.
- The popularity of the Easter bunny has caused many parents to buy their children rabbits for the holiday. However, most of these rabbits are either abandoned or killed due to the parents not understanding how to take care of them. Many shelters and animal welfare/rights associations have attempted to avert this trope with campaigns about how rabbits shouldn't be brought on a whim.
- The famous "Taco Bell Dog" is often cited as the original source of the popularity of the Chihuahua breed.
- Morris the Cat, the 9-Lives cat food mascot, is sometimes cited as a pre-Garfield example of this occuring for orange tabbies.
- The mascot to the dog food company Cesar is a West Highland White Terrier. Advertisements for the brand helped boost the Westie's popularity.
- Due to Heidi, Girl of the Alps St. Bernard dogs are very popular because of the dog Joseph, which doesn't appear in the original novel.
- The popularity of the 1977 anime Rascal the Raccoon was single-handedly responsible for the introduction of feral raccoons in Japan. Up to 1500 raccoons were imported as pets, but now the descendants of abandoned or escaped raccoons live wild in 42 of Japan's 47 prefectures.
- Hamtaro made many people want hamsters, and in some lands it was a true boom. It faded some years after, however.
- A relatively obscure dog breed, the Weimaraner, has gained popularity through William Wegman's photos and videos featuring this breed.
- One of the more famous examples is 101 Dalmatians. The film made the breed more popular, and as a result, demand jumped up. Like many "fad" animals, several were abandoned a few months later, aided by the fact that Dalmatians are very high-maintenance dogs that many owners aren't prepared to deal with.
- As with Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp led to a sharp spike in demand for the Cocker Spaniel breed. The poor breeding done to meet the demand compounded the health problems the breed already had.
- When the film Rio came out, some people feared that the film would lead to an increased demand for parrots, which would've been particularly bad since parrots are extremely high-maintenance animals that need constant attention and lots of patience, not to mention they often live for several decades. Thankfully, that never came to pass, though likely for cost reasons; parrots are expensive and run from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Not exactly an impulse buy, especially for a first-time bird owner.
- Ratatouille caused a demand for pet rats. Not the worst case, as rats are easy to care for even for a child, but it did lead to some abandoned rats.
- Finding Nemo made tropical saltwater fish popular for a while, which was pretty ironic because a major point of the movie was that fish belong in the ocean.
- All Dogs Go to Heaven increased demand for German Shepherds. Of course, German Shepherds have always been highly popular, and are an easy-going and relatively low maintenance breed.
- Demand for guinea pigs went up significantly for about a year after G-Force came out.
- Balto thankfully didn't do this for wolf-dogs (who are very high maintenance and more like wolves than dogs, not to forget illegal in many regions), however it did help boost interest in the Siberian Husky.
- The Disney film Snow Dogs led to a short spike in demand for Huskies, the breed featured in the film.
- Legally Blonde is one of a few things that has been credited with popularizing Chihuahuas as "accessory" dogs.
- Marley and Me made the already popular Labrador Retriever even more popular despite the fact how high-maintence Marley was.
- The original Our Gang shorts helped popularize the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the early 1900s. Pete was smart, loyal, and good with kids which made the breed become popular with families (to the point where it had a nickname of "Nanny Dog"). This trend has been inverted due to media and the news frequently depicting Staffys as dangerous, violence guard dogs.
- The release of 102 Dalmatians, with a blue-eyed white puppy named Oddball, triggered a run on blue-eyed white Dalmatian puppies from parents who didn't realize that the blue-eyes gene is strongly associated with deafness. (You thought a hearing Dalmatian was high maintenance? Try a deaf one...) Blue-eyed white Dalmatians (and indeed, Dalmatians in general) were bred at such a rate that puppy mills would inbreed lines with extreme prejudice if they could get away with it. They usually did, and caused enormous damage to the breed in general, with congenital defects ranging anywhere from extra dewclaws to clubbed limbs to clinical insanity.
- Cujo inverted this trope. It caused a decline in the sales of St Bernard dogs (despite the fact the dog is actually rabid instead of naturally mean). This later ended up fixed by the release of Beethoven.
- The Air Bud franchise boosted the popularity of Golden Retriever, which was already popular.
- The Marmaduke film averted this, as the eponymous Great Dane is portrayed as being very high-maintenance to say the least. Certain animal welfare groups were concerned about this trope, but it doesn't appear that the film has done much to increase or decrease the popularity of Danes. The utter failure of the film at the box office probably didn't hurt.
- I Am Legend likely helped the popularity of German Shepherds.
- Beverly Hills Chihuahua did its best to avert this with a message in the credits saying, essentially, "make sure that you really want and are prepared to care for a dog should you get one." Ostensibly, this film is immune to the effect, as it was made in response to a terrible cultural trend that was already in existence (and apparently on the decline at the time). If anything, The Simple Life and Paris Hilton are to blame for the trend that led to the film.
- The only reason pretty much anyone outside of Africa has even heard of the Basenji is the 1950s novel and film Goodbye My Lady.
- Most people who saw Turner & Hooch probably couldn't have named Hooch's breed to save their lives. Demand for the French Mastiff didn't explode by any means, but that movie and other appearances in media have definitely invoked this trope, since it's a massive, high-maintenance dog that, as the vet herself said, "Not many people [have room for]." Or time for, or money for. And that's with the movie actually playing it fairly straight in terms of how high-maintenance Hooch was.
- Jurassic Park Increased the demand for frilled lizards as pets, due to them looking like the portrayal of the dilophosaurus in the film.
- The documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed created an inversed reaction to this. It brought to the mainstream the health issues of various breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Boxer, Pug, and German Shepherd. This in turn caused many people to get into mutts instead of purebreds and start protesting dog breedrs. The documentay caused a lot of controversy around dog breeding in general.
- Surprisingly, the popularity of Harry Potter led to a big demand for snowy owls. So much so, that an owl sanctuary had to be opened to accommodate all the owls that were bought as pets but then abandoned.
- The children's book Stargirl provoked some readers to get interested in pet rats.
- The popularity of Shiloh caused this with Beagles.
- The popularity of Warrior Cats has gotten many people into cats. Since it's about feral cats, most aren't purebred so fans can't exactly be drawn to certain cat breeds, but fans often get interested in certain pelt colours due to liking characters with said designs.
- The popularity of Lassie led to a large demand for Collies. As with other dog breeds that come into this effect, several were bred to meet the demand, leading to unhealthy, inbred dogs. Many people blame this for health problems the breed has today.
- Because of the badass direwolves of Game of Thrones, wolf-like breeds such as the Siberian Husky have become increasingly popular. Of course, many of these dogs wound up with owners who had neither the appropriate housing nor the necessary time and experience for keeping them.
- Nintendogs tried to avoid this by including a message in the manual:
Nintendogs is an interactive entertainment experience centered on puppies. In the uniquely imaginative world of Nintendogs, the young dogs do not age, always remaining puppies. They boast docile habits and personalities, and are easy to handle.However, since real puppies are living things, they have habits and personalities that may be different from those of the Nintendogs, so when training and caring for a real puppy, please be sure to understand the real puppy's habits and personality.When caring for living dog, the trainer holds ultimate responsibility for the survival and well-being of the dog, so be sure to consult with your family before raising a real dog.
- Shiba Inus have experienced a spike in popularity thanks to Doge the Internet meme, according to the experiences of Jonathan Fleming, the photograph of the picture that would become the "hipster doge." Fans of the breed advise against first time dog owners owning them. While not bad pets by any means, Shibas are quite a stubborn breed (to the point where many call them "cat-like") and could be hard to handle for inexperienced owners.
- The fad for pet red-earred slider turtles that began when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a big deal on TV. A lot of imported turtles were abandoned after the show fell out of favour and the luckiest of them were dumped in rivers and reservoirs. Various areas of Britain report that water features suddenly developed resident turtle populations after the end of the show's run on TV, possibly when owners realised they weren't going to morph into superheroes and that the real thing is rather prosaic and boring - and possibly long-lived. Sefton Park in Liverpool, for instance, now has an unwanted turtle population which defies attempts to cull it and is a pest, preying on native fish and wildfowl. Fishermen across the UK hate the imported alien population of snapping turtles, for their part in depleting fish stocks. Attempts are periodically made to cull them.
- Many people want a Great Dane due to Scooby-Doo. This is despite Scooby intentionally being the antithesis of what a Great Dane "should" be like. The creators researched Great Danes and made Scooby the opposite of breed standards.
- Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh were apparently Genre Savvy enough to be aware of this trope when they developed Phineas and Ferb, which is why they deliberately gave their protagonists a pet that was uncommon, an animal that kids could not "pick out at a pet store and beg [their parents] for". Perry is a Platypus.
- From time to time, seeing a big celebrity with a pet leads to a demand in them:
- Paris Hilton is a notable example, and is often credited with/accused (depending on who you ask) of popularizing tiny "purse dogs" like Chihuahuas.
- This has happened with people. It was trendy for dames at the French royal court to have a black dwarf servant following them around after Louis XIV's wife was gifted a dwarf slave by the King of Dahomey, named Nabo. The fad came to an abrupt end when the Queen gave birth to a black daughter and Nabo abruptly disappeared from the historical record.
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