Thursday, October 8, 2009

Designer Dogs

"Designer Dogs" are all the rage. A woman told me that she had spent $3000.00 for her Poodle-Golden Retriever mixed breed--the so called Golden Doodle. I've heard of Boston Terrier-Shih Tzu mixes. Reportedly, at least one outcome of this experiment resembles an Affenpinscher. Just this week, someone told me about a Beagle-Cavalier King Charles mix--bred purposely, I understand.

Give. Me. Strength.

You want a mixed breed dog? Check out Petfinders. They list tens of thousands of dogs in rescues and shelters in need of homes. These tens of thousands of dogs include thousands of mixed breed dogs.

The most I have ever heard of a private rescue charging for adoption is $350.00.* Public shelters charge much less. For $3000.00, you could shop every shelter and rescue listed on Petfinders, buy a two-way air ticket for yourself and a one-way air ticket for the dog and still save a packet, even if you traveled cross-country to find your Designer Pooch. If you NEED to tell people that you spent $3000.00 for your dog, round up your costs to the nearest thousand.

News Flash! Designer Dogs are Pure Bred Dogs. You want a Designer Dog? Go to the American Kennel Club website and click on Breeds. Spend a few hours reading comprehensive descriptions of the 150 breeds listed there. If you MUST have something rare and trendy, check out Foundation Stock Service Breeds (FSSB). These are breeds in the process of demonstrating that they are stable, distinct breeds that reliably pass predictable traits from generation to generation. Added bonus: I have no doubt that you can find a breeder who will accept $3000.00--or even more, if you insist--for one of their puppies. And since your willingness to consider spending Big Bucks for a mixed breed clearly indicates that you are not interested in the Show World, the breeder can sell you one of their Not Show Quality puppies for top price. Now THAT'S what I call a win-win!

What is being mislabeled as a Designer Dog is, in reality, the product of a random breeding between two dogs of different breeds. If the breeder truly believes that the product of such a mating will be a dog whose physical and personality characteristics can be predicted, that said dog will display 50% of the attributes of one breed and 50% of the attributes of the other breed in a desired order and relationship, you can add ignorance to greed to the attributes of the breeder.

A genuine Designer Dog is a breed that has been developed slowly and carefully by people who know dogs, know their history, know the parentage and ancestry of the breeding pair, and know the purpose of the breed.

The established breeds have been around for a very long time--in the case of Sight Hounds, centuries. Their physical characteristics, and even some temperament tendencies have been honed to GREAT predictability.

It should come as no surprise that I consider Greyhounds to be the epitome of a Designer Dog. Think about it. You want the Fastest Dog In The World. You want a dog who isn't a nuisance hanging out with you in your Silken Tent or Marble Palace, doesn't have doggie odor and doesn't pay much attention to your drunken guests, but adds to the ambience of the place. What would that dog look like? How would that dog behave? The truth is, that if Form Follows Function is your standard, there is nothing "modern" about it. It is centuries old and it is exemplified in the Sight Hounds whose beginnings are in very ancient history.

Or, take the Spitz group of dogs. Strength, endurance, all wrapped up in a double layer fur coat with a ruff for good measure.

I heard that some genius, trying to breed the Fastest Sled Dog, crossed a Greyhound with a Husky. The poor, pencil legged creature that was the result of this cross, sank in the snow on its slender, high knuckled feet under the weight of its heavy fur coat. Which was fortunate. If it had also inherited an absence of body fat from its Greyhound parent along with its long legs and slender feet, it would have frozen to death before it had run a mile--in spite of its spiffy fur coat.

So. If you long for a Labradoodle, Schnoodle, Cockapoo, Maltipoo, or Golden Doodle, check out the listings of Poodle Rescues. They are well supplied with all of these mixes. Pay the $300.00 fee. Donate $2700.00 to the rescue organization. Then you can brag to all your friends that you paid $3000.00 for your "Designer Dog."


* Today, Saturday, October 10, 2009, I heard of a rescue charging $470.00 for a dog. It is a Canadian rescue that ships in dogs from Louisiana and other Southern States. This puzzles me. I am confident that Canada has an ample number of homeless dogs in need of placement. Perhaps we have a trend here--people bragging about how much they pay for a rescued dog?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Portia’s Mom, for the educational analysis of so called Designer Dogs. Invariably when I disagree with someone on the merits of Designer Dogs, they mention that all dog breeds are created. However, they fail to read a breed’s history to find out just how the breed came to be and how long it took to develop what we see today.

    My breed of choice is the German Shepherd Dog beginning in 1965. Capt. Max v. Stephanitz is considered the father of the breed. In the late 1800s, when he became interested in breeding a shepherding type dog that could be used throughout Germany, he had a blueprint in mind of bone, structure, type, temperament, genetics, etc. for the ideal herding dog. He found what he was looking for in a dog named Horand and then continued to search for other dogs/bitches of similar type and structure. He developed very strict breeding standards and set up a very selective breeding program. If you click on this link (http://www.nsgsdc.com/breedhistory.shtml) and look at the old photo of his first stud dog and progeny, these GSDs do not look much different from the GSDs of today.

    Just because someone says they breed Labradoodles or Puggles or any other breed combination doesn’t make them breeders of purebred dogs. They are mixed breeds.

    I sincerely hope you pay heed to Portia’s Mom! Caveat Emptor!

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