Inspired by stars who treat these tiny pets as just another fashion accessory, celebrity-obsessed members of the public have been buying the dogs on a whim, only to find they can’t cope with them or afford them. The dogs can cost upwards of £1,000, and that’s before any food, grooming or vet bills are taken into account.

The Dogs Trust is so concerned about the trend for teenagers to acquire handbag dogs simply to be ‘cool’ that it’s launching a dog-care education programme for schools.

For many, it is already too late. This is why hundreds of pint-sized pooches ranging from chihuahuas and dachshunds to shih tzus and pomeranians, once spoilt rotten as they peered out from their owners’ designer handbags, are having to adjust to life in the less than salubrious surroundings of rehoming centres.