Pet Fad Starter YKTTW Discussion

Pet Fad Starter
When the appearance of an animal in a media leads to a growing demand for it.
(permanent link) added: 2012-02-17 21:44:34 sponsor: BlackbirdMizu (last reply: 2014-05-09 19:03:14)

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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.


  • The famous "Taco Bell Dog" is often cited as the original source of the popularity of the chihuahua breed.

Film-Live Action
  • The Disney film Snow Dogs led to a short spike in demand for huskies, the breed featured in the film. Many dog and husky enthusiasts advised against this, as huskies are very high energy breeds (after all, they were bred to pull sleds for long distances) and aren't very good for many first-time owners.
  • Legally Blonde is one of a few things that has been credited with popularizing chihuahuas as "accessory" dogs.

  • 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.


Live-Action TV
  • 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.

Western Animation
  • Pet turtles grew in popularity when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and movies became a hit. Many parents bought them for their kids without realizing how long the turtles can live, leading to many getting released in the wild and even becoming an invasive species in a few places.

  • 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.
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