© Darlene Arden - 2007 -First Published in NK Concepts

Designer Genes?!

Designer Dogs, sometimes called Hybrids. You’ve heard of them; they’re the Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Puggles, Yorkiepoos, Cockerpoos, Schnoodle, and on and on it goes. What a concept. Take a dog from two different breeds, breed them together, put a combo-name on the pups and you have a “Designer Dog” litter. Now, charge big bucks for the puppies and tell people they’re getting something “special.”

Let’s start with the infamous “Poo” breeds. The Cocker Spaniel/Poodle crosses have been around for awhile but, despite what their “breeders” will tell you, they are not a recognized breed. It takes more than a few generations of breeding which may, or may not, occur with these dogs. Creating a breed means setting type in the breed with a reliable Breed Standard so that any reputable Judge can recognize the dog and judge it according to the Standard for the breed. This is true of dogs registered with The Canadian Kennel Club, The American Kennel Club, The Kennel Club (U. K.), F.C.I. and other reputable dog registries around the world. It is considered a compliment to say that a puppy or dog is “typey.” That means he or she well matches the type for his breed and that has to do with the Breed Standard, which not only specifically describes the dog’s physical appearance but its temperament as well.

The only thing we can consistently say about the alleged “Poo” breeds is that Poodles will mate with anything! When the Labradoodles were first being bred it was with the intention of creating a dog that wouldn’t shed and would carry the best characteristics of both breeds. Theoretically a nice idea but it didn’t work in reality. It is my understanding that the originators of the breed never could set type but that didn’t stop others from crossing Poodles and Labs and passing them off as “Designer Dogs” that wouldn’t shed.

Think about this for a minute: how can anyone prove that the puppies won’t take after the Labrador Retriever half and shed prodigiously? No dog is truly “Hypoallergenic,” that’s merely a myth. Some dogs, like Poodles, have hair not fur so they won’t shed anymore than we do but that still doesn't
mean that you can’t be allergic to them.

There is the myth of “hybrid vigor.” Why do I say it’s a myth? Think about it. The puppies can only be as healthy as the dogs behind them. If the dam or sire have hip dysplasia, cardiac or eye problems, collapsing trachea, elbow dysplasia, kidney problems, etc. what makes you think the puppies won’t inherit those problems? Are these alleged breeders of “Designer Dogs” doing the proper testing to screen out these diseases? Or are they simply enthusiastic backyard breeders and puppy mills looking for a fast buck? Are they offering a written health guarantee to a reasonable age? If you insist that you want to overpay and buy a so-called “Designer Dog,” research the genetic diseases found in each breed of dog that creates the combination and then ask the “breeder” what he or she is doing to eliminate those problems, ask to see proof of health tests for those genetic problems that were done on the dam and sire before breeding. Are the dogs, for example, free of hip dysplasia, eye problems, etc.? You are going to be responsible for some very big veterinary bills if the “Designer Dog” you buy isn’t healthy. If something happens during the dog’s lifetime, will they take the dog back? Do they care about the life they’ve produced?

It doesn't really matter if it’s one of the infamous “Poo” breeds or a Puggle, or any of the other mixes. Make no mistake about it: What you are buying is a very expensive mutt! And whose behavior characteristics will the puppies have inherited?

Here’s some free advice: go to your local shelter, pick a mixed breed dog or puppy from there, save a life, make a donation to the shelter (which will be a LOT less than you would pay one of those alleged breeders of a “Designer Dog”), call it anything you please and save a life. Or go to Breed Rescue and get a Poodle or a Pug, or a Golden or Labrador Retriever and give it a new lease on life, a forever home.

Sadly, people spend more time choosing their new refrigerator than their new family member, or they want the latest trend. Start your own trend: give a deserving shelter dog or breed rescue a new home. Don’t be taken in by a ridiculous “trend.”








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