Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Designer Dogs", Cabbages and Radishes

Stay with me here, dear reader, there is a connection.

Saturday night I was chatting with a geneticist. Not surprisingly, I brought up the topic of "Designer Dogs."

I told him about the effort to increase the running speed of Huskies by crossing them with Greyhounds. This misguided effort produced a long legged, fur-coated creature who sank into the snow on its slender, high-knuckled feet.

He laughed. "Ah, yes," he said. "Some well meaning souls decided to cross a cabbage with a radish. The reasoning was that the top of the cabbage is edible, but the root isn't. The root of the radish is edible, but the top isn't. They intended to create a vegetable with both an edible root and top. What they created was a plant that was completely inedible."

I know a very nice lady who purchased a "Miniature Golden Doodle" puppy several months ago. At the time of the purchase, she explained that this was the perfect dog for her. The breeder told her that it would not exceed fifteen inches at the shoulder when fully grown, the standard for Miniature Poodles.

Last I heard, the puppy, now six months old, is up to seventeen inches and still growing. The coat, by the way, is mixed, with areas of Poodle coat and areas of Golden Retriever coat. She is waiting for it to "mature" into the perfect texture.

I have reason to believe that the nice lady paid a substantial price for her "Miniature Golden Doodle." I'm sure that as an adult, it will be a cute dog that is a good companion. I am also certain that she could have gotten just as cute, just as companionable a dog--who actually is the size she was wanting with the coat she was looking for--from any of a number of Poodle Rescues.

What the breeder of the mixed breed dog that was sold as a "Miniature Golden Doodle" did not know or purposely ignored is that all true Poodles are genetically identical. Miniatures and even Toys are simply bred down from the Standard. Check the American Kennel Club website for the Poodle standard if you don't believe me. There is one standard for all three sizes.

That's why Toy Poodle parents sometimes produce a Miniature Poodle and why Miniature Poodle parents can produce a dog who grows taller than fifteen inches. Rescues are filled with Poodles who "fall between the cracks" of preferred show size. A few years ago my sister adopted a wonderful 16 inch Poodle: too tall to show as a Miniature, not tall enough for Standard aficionados.

Readers of this blog know that a pure bred Pekingese named Brody has been a personal concern of mine over the past year. He's a lucky little Peke. He is being well cared for by generous, knowledgeable dog people. If you can bear it, go to Petfinder, type in Pekingese, and see just how many of these little dogs are sitting in rescues in Southern California, waiting for homes that may never materialize. Of course, there are the "Designer Dogs"--Pekingese mixed with whatever some unscrupulous or hopelessly ignorant breeder decided would be "cute." Some of these Pekes are waiting and waiting and waiting in no-kill shelters. Some are in the other type of shelter.

We are entering the season of giving. Certainly we all need to remember our fellow human beings who are experiencing hard times. But also consider a gift to creatures with no voice but a bark or whimper. There are hundreds of thousands of dogs who pass through rescues and shelters every year. Some of those rescues are listed on the right hand side of this blog. They are run by selfless, hard working, caring people. A gift to any one or all of these rescues would be an appropriate way to celebrate the coming of The Great Rescuer of Humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment