Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Designer Dogs

You’ve all heard of them, the labradoodle, the pekeapoo, the goldendoodle or the daisy dog. (I really could go on for days all the mixes I’ve heard of.) They are the newest craze in pet ownership. The designer dog. Sit down, grab a cup of coffee, cause I have something to say about all of this.

First and Foremost, I believe that every dog, once on this earth deserves to be loved beyond its wildest dreams. I do not believe in banishing breeding like PETA does. (PETA will get a special post all their own one day). I also believe that if you bring it into the world, you are responsible for that dog for its entire life. If the home you placed the dog in, doesn’t work out, you need to give them back their money and take your dog back.

What I do not believe in is breeding dogs like they are livestock in order for you to make your mortgage payment. I don’t care if you are breeding prize winning poodles or Mutt’s and mixed breeds. Yep, I said mutt’s and mixed breeds. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you got something special just because it has a cute special name and you paid a fortune for it. A bidet is still a toilet people! I love mutts and mixed breeds. My Buddy is a mixed breed. I love him just as much as all of my other dogs.

The people that are breeding these Designer dogs are doing it to make cash. They will tell a puppy buyer anything to make the sale and very seldom will you find a breeder that will take a puppy back.

Here are some of the common myths:

Hybrid Vigor – A poodle mix dog is healthier than a pure poodle. FALSE.
Hybrid vigor is hog wash especially in the case of the doodles. You take a breed like the Standard poodle that is known for hip dysplasia and now you’ve gone a bred her with a Golden Retriever or a Lab that is also known for hip dysplasia. You have just doubled up on those bad genes. To top it off, at least the purebred breeder will have screened for hip dysplasia and other hereditary diseases, the backyard breeders aren’t going to take the time to do this because health testing will cut into their profit margin.

Secondly, If I were the breeder of good quality healthy line of standard poodles, I would never, ever sell one to be used to make mixed breeds. Often, purebred breeders have spent their entire adult lives trying to improve their line of dogs; they certainly aren’t going to sell a puppy to be used as livestock and be bred willy nilly with anything to make a buck. I can guarantee that the quality Lab and Golden breeders are of the same mind set. So since they can’t get a good lab and poodle to start their new money making adventure, they go and buy cheap animals from the Walmart parking lot. (All the while taking note the amount of possible sales traffic they’ll have to come back and set up camp to sell their puppies). This means that instead of starting out with the best specimens of the breed they have started quite possibly with the worst. Just to make a buck

They don’t shed – FALSE, FALSE AND more FALSE.
First, everything sheds, even a poodle. No, they don’t shed like a golden or a lab, but I still have hair in my cottage cheese as a condiment just like anyone else. While I will admit I have not groomed one of these mixes, I have had them in my obedience classes and I will tell you that these dogs shed worse than a golden and to top it off the hair is curlier and matts terribly! I can’t tell you how many people that have these dogs are pissed that they didn’t get the nonshedding version their backyard breeder promised them. As far as their coats go, I have also never seen two of these dogs with the same coat. No consistency.

They look more like a “man’s dog” or Poodles look too foofy – FALSE
Give me a break, if you are that insecure in your man hood, and think the way your dog looks reflects on you then you need to get some serious help. Sure, when they are in the conformation ring they are in the weird haircut that is all exaggerated. Since I don’t show anymore, my dogs are kept in retriever cuts. Their entire body is the same short length and there is no poof on the tail or legs. Remember this was a water retrieving breed, they have a beautiful physique.

Purebred dogs are crazy or hyper – FALSE
My dogs are not crazy or hyper. Sure they go nutty when someone knocks on the door, breeding in dogs isn’t like marrying your cousin and then having kids. No one should breed a dog with poor temperament even if it was the most winning dog in history. Period. Temperament is genetic in that if the parents have a poor temperament, they are going to pass that on to the puppies.

I think the thing that really rocks my world about people buying the designer dogs is that people are paying such outrageous amounts of money for them. I call these people PT Barnum people. (You know, a sucker born every minute or more money than brains) In Michigan you can get a quality standard poodle puppy from health tested parents for around $800. These people are paying $1500 for a designer dog that is a mutt that they could go to the shelter and adopt for $50!

For more information why these dogs are not all their cracked up to be, please visit these sites:
http://www.tivinpoodles.com/Tivin%20Web/Articles/Designer%20Dogs.doc
And Versatility in Poodles at www.vipoodles.org and for information on health clearances visit www.offa.org.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mixed breeds are now more popular than purebreds here. I think this mainly because of the amount of genetic problems showing up in purebreds.

Every single scientific study that's been done shows that mixed breeds (or mutts, if you prefer) live longer and healthier lives than purebreds.

I think a greater number of people would choose a purebred if the breed clubs were less concerned about meeting the "breed standard", and took a bit more interest in improving the health of their chosen breeds. JMO.

pandafan said...

As a breeder myself I have to take issue with being "less concerned about meeting the breed standard". HELLO....That is what breeders are SUPPOSED to do! If I buy a beagle, I want to know that it is #1 going to look like a beagle, #2 act like a beagle is supposed to and #3 have the temperament of a beagle! People who are out there breeding "for the Benjamins" could care less what they are producing. I breed Newfoundlands and have personal experience in people who come to me with dogs that they say are Newfs but look more like a large lab or a flat coated retriever and yet have all the problems associated with our breed. As an ethical breeder, I do ALL health clearances required plus a couple of extra before I ever breed one of my dogs. I had the #4 dog in the country a couple of years ago but chose NOT to breed that dog because one of the hips was not perfect on x-ray. We ARE trying to "improve the health of our breed" but when you get people who just do it because "My kids need to see the miracle of birth" and take no responsibility of what they've done, then we are left to pick up the pieces of their idiocy.

As for mixed breeds (and I have one of those too, so I'm not against them, just do not promote making more) living longer and healthier....that's crap. You see more problems in purebreds because we choose to acknowledge that we HAVE the problem and try to fix it, rather then put our dogs down and get another. These animals are NOT disposable creatures and most people are not willing to put thousands of dollars in their dogs.

As for designer dogs, anyone that would pay big dollars for a mutt...a fool and his money are soon parted. You "get what you pay for" but have no idea what you are getting so don't be pissed when you don't it. Thousands of dogs are put down in shelters every year, 25% of them being purebred dogs. Do we really need to make more? JMO

Shelley said...

What are these "scientific studies"? Can you name them instead of just throwing out the statement? What context is the article/statement? I have no issues with mixed breeds other than they should not be marketed as a "new breed". This is completely false information put forth by people who want to make a quick buck preying on both people and animals. Unfortunately, the human is only out monetarily. The dogs loose homes and love when they don't live up to the expectations promised by disreputable breeders. It sickens me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shelley,

Here are just some of the studies that show that crossbreds are healthier and live longer than purebreds:

References on compared mortality and morbidity
in purebreds and mixed breeds:
R. Beythien, Tierarten- und Hunderassenverteilung, Erkrankungshäufigkeit
und prophylaktische Maßnahmen bei den häufigsten Hunderassen am Beispiel
einer Tierarztpraxis in Bielefeld in den Jahren 1983-1985 und 1990-1992,
1998, Diss., Tierärztl. Hochschule Hannover

Mongrels less often in a vet surgery

B.N. Bonnett, A. Egenvall, P. Olson, Å. Hedhammar, Mortality in Swedish
dogs: rates and causes of death in various breeds, The Veterinary
Record, 12/7/1997, S. 40 - 44)

Insured dogs .“Mongrels were consistently in the low risk category” (S. 41)

A. Egenvall, B.N. Bonnett, P. Olson, Å. Hedhammar,Gender,
age, breed and distribution of morbidity and mortality in insured
dogs in Sweden during 1995 and 1996, The Veterinary Record,
29/4/2000, p. 519-57

Insured dogs. “The low risk for morbidity of mongrels also agrees with
previous findings
that mongrel dogs are less prone to many diseases then the average
purebred dog.” (S. 524)
Second lowest morbidity and mortality of mongrels in ten “most
common breeds" (again, without size distinction in mongrels).

(Lowest risk breeds, however, are 10 other breeds, of which 9 are
Scandinavian native hunting dogs, and Sibes. Results probably
skewed by this fact and therefore residences in remote regions.)

H. Eichelberg und R. Seine, Lebenserwartung und Todesursachen bei Hunden
I. Zur Situation bei Mischlingen und verschiedenen Rassehunden, Berl.
Münch. Tierärztl. Wschr. 109, 292-303,1995


A. R. Michell, Longevity of British breeds of dog and its relationship
with sex, size, cardiovascular variables and disease, Vet. Rec., 27 Nov.
1999, S. 625-629

“There was a significant correlation between body weight and longevity.
Crossbreeds lived longer than average but several pure breeds lived
longer than cross breeds, notably Jack Russell, miniature poodles and
whippets” (S. 627) - Thus only small and toy breeds, as to be expected

G.J. Patronek, D.J. Walters, L.T. Glickman, Comparative Longevity of Pet
Dogs and Humans: Implications for Gerontology Research, J. Geront.,
BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 1997, Vol 52A,No.3, B171-B178

“The median age at death was 8,5 years for all mixed breed dogs and 6,7
years for all pure breed dogs… For each weight group, the age at death
of pure breed dogs was significantly (p=.0001) less than for mixed breed
dogs.” (p. B173) Mongrels lived 1 - 3 years longer.

H.F. Proschofsky et al, Mortality of purebred and mixed breed dogs in
Denmark, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2003, 58, 53-74

Higher average longevity of mixedbreed dogs (lumped together! Age at
death mixed breeds Q1 8, Q2 11, Q3 13, purebreds 6, 10, 12

K. Stromberger, Genetisch-epidemiologische Untersuchung ausgewählter
Erkrankungen beim Hund - Vergleich Rassehund - Mischling, Thesis,
Veterinary University Vienna, June 2000

Only study using epidemiologic procedures and opposing the category
“pedigree dog” with the category “mixedbreed” (no weight groups).

No difference found, though some heterosis stated. Severe bias: there
where ca. 50% small dogs among purebreds as against 5% in mongrels .

Basically, these findings show that the bigger the dog, the shorter the life span, yet bigger mongrels still live longer on average than large pure breeds, this in spite of the testing and poring over pedigrees that the serious breeder does, while mongrels are almost never tested and certainly no have no pedigrees to be studied.

Every single piece of research shows the same thing - crossbreeds live longer. I've yet to find ANY that show the reverse.