A total of 71 abused and neglected dogs were rescued by the RSPCA in Dorset last year – as the charity calls on more people to adopt the animals in its care.

The data from the RSPCA also shows that the number of calls to its neglect and abuse hotline rose from 7,265 in 2017 to 7,720 in 2018.

This month, the charity is promoting ‘Adoptober’ - an initiative to get more people adopting dogs from its care centres.

The organisation revealed that there are growing numbers of designer breeds coming into its care, including a 700 per cent increase in chihuahuas, a 236 per cent increase in French bulldogs, a 600 per cent increase in Dachshunds and a 440 per cent increase in Pomeranians.

In spite of this, Staffies, lurchers, Jack Russell terriers and German shepherds are still the most common breeds entering care. The RSPCA has also seen more crossbreeds and breeds used for common crosses come into its care.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “Although Staffies, lurchers, Jack Russell terriers and German shepherds are still the most common dogs coming into our centres, we are seeing a general decrease in their numbers while seeing an increase in the number of fashionable cross-breeds and so-called designer dogs like Dachshunds and French bulldogs arriving in our care.

“We know that the animals coming into our care tend to reflect general dog ownership trends and there’s been a huge surge in recent years in people buying ‘designer dogs’ and cross-breeds such as cavachons, puggles and cockerpoos.

“As part of our rehoming drive this October - called Adoptober - we want to shine a light on all of the dogs in our care and encourage people to adopt a rescue dog instead of buying a puppy. All the animals in our care have a lot of love to give and we have a huge variety of dogs in our kennels waiting for homes, of all ages, shapes, sizes and breeds.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a charity that aims to campaign to support the welfare of animals, whether they be on farms, in homes, in the wild or elsewhere.

Anyone interested in adopting one of the RSPCA’s dogs should visit rspca.org.uk/findapet

All dogs from the organisation will be neutered and vaccinated. People who adopt can also take advantage of four weeks of free pet insurance through RSPCA Pet Insurance.

People who are unable to adopt a pet are still encouraged to donate to the charity to support Adoptober, which can also be done through the website.