It's time to talk about it again: so called "Designer Dogs."
I have a friend whose beloved Lab is aging and will not be around for many more years. What does she want for her next dog? A Lab that doesn't shed. I wish her well. That's almost like wanting a Lab with a delicate appetite.
It's not surprising that my friend is beginning to think about a "Labradoodle."
"Doodles" are all the rage.
Since she is a reasonable person, I was able to talk to her about the randomness of mixed breeding outcomes. I think that at the very least, when it comes to choosing a new canine companion, if she still wants a Labrador/Poodle mix, she will choose an older dog whose coat is mature, so she will definitely know if it's a "shedder" or not. The fact is, if the mix is not a shedder, it will probably look a whole lot more like a Poodle than a Lab. Regardless, she will be able to find the dog of her choice if she visits a poodle rescue.
A wide variety of Poodle mixes are constantly available for adoption from rescues. If you want to pay a couple of thousand for a mixed breed dog, it's a free country. But if you are reading this post, you can no longer do it innocently. The fact is, if you buy a "Designer Dog", there is no redeeming counterbalance to the fact that you are directly contributing to the misery and euthanasia of shelter dogs. If you really, really need to pay a high price for a dog, go to dog shows. Study the various breeds. Make an intelligent decision about which breed will best fit into your life. Get acquainted with the breeders who show that breed. Make a judgment about who is most trustworthy and buy a puppy or an adult dog from them. In my opinion, that is the only defensible option to either formally or informally giving a home to a dog in need. (BTW, Brody, an adorable PURE BRED Pekingese, STILL needs a forever home!)
I remember years and years ago when Poodle/Cocker Spaniel mixes were all the rage: so called "Cockapoos". That fad lasted long enough for other mixes to come into popularity: "Schnoodles", particularly. It also lasted long enough for such mixes to become a permanent part of the homeless dog problem.
But the Labradoodle/Goldendoodle phenomenon is of more recent vintage. How did it start? Innocently, even altruistically, as it turns out.
A man in Australia who bred Labs for seeing eye dogs, had a client with severe allergies. He purposely crossed a Lab with a Poodle in a controlled breeding to produce a dog who could be less allergenic than a full bred Lab. When word got out, other blind allergy sufferers asked for similar dogs. The breeder knew he was breeding mixed breeds, but he was so pleased with being able to help some very needy people, he coined the name "Labradoodle". Now, advanced in years, he regrets that the name he made up has served to popularize not only the breed mix he was breeding, but a whole host of mixes. http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/pets/2010/05/05/2010-05-05_man_who_invented_the_labradoodle_regrets_decision_to_breed_worlds_first_designer.html#ixzz0nG1po1NK
Today I stopped by my local humane society to donate a small kennel that is of no use to us. In the short time I was there, I observed four pure bred dogs being walked by volunteers, including one of the cutest Cairn Terriers imaginable.
Do you want a mixed breed? Check out your local humane society, animal control or private/breed rescue. You want to brag about how much you paid for your dog? Make a generous contribution to the rescue. In these difficult financial times, they can really use it.