Tag Archives: designer dog

Designer Dogs: The Pros and Cons 12/22/2012

 
 
 
labradoodle (not my dog)

labradoodle (not my dog)

 

 
 The labradoodle in the photos below is bathed and groomed about once each month. It takes (one) groomer 6-8 hours to bathe and groom two dogs. The owner of these labradoodles prefers her dogs with the shaggy look thus it takes the groomer much longer to comb through a LOT OF HAIR. It is said that the labradoodle was first mentioned in a book by Sir Donald Campbell in 1955.  Certainly his dog was not the first “mutt” that resulted from the combination of poodle and labrador. However, it seems that Sir Campbell was most likely the first person to coin the word labradoodle.  
 Further down the road and many miles away, The Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia, received a request from a woman in Hawaii who was asking for an allergy free guide dog because her husband was allergic to dogs. A Mr. Wally Conron was in charge of the breeding program for guide dogs and the job of producing or finding an allergy free dog became “his baby.” After receiving the assignment Mr. Conron thought it would be quite easy to produce an allergy free dog. Initially he decided to breed standard poodle to standard poodle. He reasoned that the poodle would be the right size as a guide dog, it had superior intelligence and trainability and its coat was tightly woven and shedding was virtually non existent. Many litters later and there were still no allergy free dogs. After that experiment failed he decided on another strategy. The second idea was to use the two smartest breeds- the labrador and a standard poodle ( these are the largest of the poodles). With this mix he hoped to get an allergy free dog. The first cross produced only three puppies. A hair sample of each puppy was sent to the woman in Hawaii and viola, one sample proved to be a winner.  Puppies that are bred to be service dogs are farmed out ( fostered)  with people who want to help raise, socialize, and teach basic commands to these dogs which are then returned to the association to complete their training as guide dogs. It seems that when it was time to “farm” the puppies out, no one wanted to foster the puppies because these were crosses and people considered them to be mutts. Mr Conron became desperate as time began running out for foster placement. Thus he reasoned that if he gave these cross bred puppies a name, then people would be more likely to want to foster. The ploy worked and numerous people wanted to foster puppies after they were given the name labradoodle. Media attention ensued and the labradoodle became the new rage as sort of a miracle dog. However, for Mr. Conron the challenge was just beginning. Reproducing more dogs was not that easy and there were quite a few dogs bred in order to get more numbers that were actually allergy free. He continued to breed these two breeds and he was able to produce a total of 31 dogs that were  “winners” meaning allergy free.  The breeding continued for a number of years but currently The Royal Guide Dog Association no longer conducts a cross breeding program. There are some other guide dog associations, however, that continue  to produce labradoodles.     
Word about this great dog spread like wild fire and became international within a very short time. Soon back yard breeders saw the potential for making quick money and there arose a plethora of just about any kind of “doodle” because, to put it simply, it had become the new craze- fad- must have, kind of dog. There were snoodles, shoodles, and groodles, to name a few. But the craze for a designer dog did not end there. Backyard breeders began crossing the miniature poodles with smaller breed dogs as well. Today, designer dogs remain popular but none of these cross breed dogs has gained admission into the American Kennel Club.  One of the biggest draw backs is the fact that the labradoodle and other poodle mixes do not breed “true.” This means that within any litter, size, coat, and body type varies. And out of any litter only one puppy to no puppy will have an allergen free coat.  Mr. Conron is now in his early eighties- retired of course and enjoying life breeding and training horses which happen to be his first love. He has never owned a labradoodle but his two dogs are purebred labrador retrievers. He has stated that he regrets that he was responsible for creating the labradoodle because people jumped at the chance to breed what they considered, a dog that is unique. Here in the states, this cross bred dog most likely, will never gain acceptance into the American Kennel Club. The mixing of these two breeds just can not produce puppies that all look alike. But there are many fans of this cross bred dog. People love the gentle disposition, cuteness, and intelligence of this mixed breed dog. The fact remains that individuals do not care if the dog has AKC papers or not. What matters is that the labradoodle is a good all around family dog and there is no denying that this gentle mutt is easy to love.   The pics in this post is one dog among four labradoodles that one family owns.  I can say with assurance after seeing these dogs up close and personal that they ARE CUTE and VERY SMART.  

 A Labradoodle that is bathed and groomed each month.

A Labradoodle that is bathed and groomed each month.

     

 Post and photograph – Yvonne 

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Did You Call My Dog a Mutt? (click on photo to enlarge)

Puppy: My Border collie x Australian Shepherd. A really smart dog.

Puppy: My Border collie x Australian Shepherd. A really smart dog.

Puppy waiting for a ride on the cart. Example of a mutt. Border Collie x Australian Shepherd cross.

Puppy waiting for a ride on the cart. Example of a mutt. Border Collie x Australian Shepherd cross.

Puppy is a Border Collie/ Australian Shepherd cross.

Puppy is a Border Collie/ Australian Shepherd cross.

Numerous individuals take great offense if their dog is referred to as a mutt. Here in the states a dog of unknown ancestry which could mean the mix of numerous breeds, is generally called a mutt- AKA mixed breed, mongrel, feist, Heinz 57 variety and, cur. 

Folks who own a purebred dog with a known pedigree can laugh all they want but the truth of the matter, to me, is the heart of any dog. I am a strong proponent mutts. Throughout my life almost all of the dogs that I have been fortunate to call mine, have been mutts. This assortment of mutts were smart, loyal, watchful and, loving. Each of my dogs brought a different personality and all of them lived to  13-15 years of age with no health problems to deal with. Maybe I was lucky. 🙂 

A mutt simply means that it has no known history of its pedigree or that it is clearly not a purebred dog. It is generally the result of random breeding but often this type of breeding actually produces a healthier animal (as a rule). 

Then there is the dog of mixed breeding which some people still call a mutt (if you are a snob). Numerous individuals intentionally cross breed two breeds in order to create desired traits.  This is often seen in rural areas where farmers and ranchers are looking for a dog that has a little extra special something.  It may be to create a better hunting dog or herding dog. In central Texas the Border collie is often crossed with an Australian Shepherd and these dogs are indeed pretty, very smart and, are often much healthier than their ancestors. 

The smartest dog that I have ever owned happens to be a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd cross. I have taught him a number of tricks. If he were not intelligent, he would still be my favorite dog of all my dogs.  

An example of a mixed breed dog is the Labradoodle which has become quite popular. Obviously the name implies that this dog is poodle and labrador cross. I wrote an earlier post about the fascinating history of this breed.  

 Look for a re-posted “Designer Dogs, The Pros And The Cons   July 27,2011    (All about the labradoodle that is considered a mutt by AKC standards) 

Post and photography Yvonne Daniel

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