OK. I’m stepping up onto my soap box. I know with the national news I should be talking about the political scene or the latest natural disaster – but I’m not. I’m stepping up to the podium to have a rant on a topic that irritates and perturbs me beyond all reason. Designer Dogs. Yep the current trend to create mutt dogs and then give them goofy names and charge exorbitant amounts of money to unsuspecting consumers (and if you didn’t take the time to vote then you can’t complain about the state of our government).
The purebred dog is one that has been bred selectively over hundreds of years to produce a specific size, color, and most importantly temperament – Every. Time. Yep. That’s the key and the litmus test of a purebred animal. You have 2 black Labrador Retrievers and you breed them. YOU WILL GET BLACK LABRADOR RETRIEVERS!!!!! You can estimate with a very tight margin of error the maximum and minimum height and weight for males and females. You will have a very good idea of the energy level and the inherited predisposition for intelligence, trainability, and social temperament for the breed. Not to mention you will know what they will look like and the type of hair coat and color. There is no guessing and no surprises.
I opened the newspaper and discovered nothing but advertisements for mixed breed designer dogs. The list included: Pomshih (Pomeranian x Shih tzu), Daniff (Great Dane x Mastiff), Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle), Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever x Standard Poodle), Poochi (Poodle x Chihuahua), Pomchi (Pomeranian x Chihuahua), Shepsky (German Shepherd x Siberian Husky), Dorkie (Dachshund x Yorkshire Terrier), Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Bichon Frise) and Puggle (Pug x Beagle). Edit: just saw a new one a Roxer (Rottweiler x Boxer) which if that isn’t a bonanza for the veterinary profession I don’t know what is! The boxer is a cancer factory with lots of problems and the rottweiler has hip dysplasia and joint problems including arthritis which does NOT improve this breed’s disposition as it ages… The price tags attached to these mutt dogs ranged from $400 to $650! This is more than many of the purebred puppies listed ($250 for Miniature Poodles and $275 for Boxers). The people selling these mixed dogs are laughing all the way to the bank! I can’t believe people are so foolish to spend lots of money on a mutt. I’m thinking the Humane Societies and the City Pounds should start labeling the dogs with designer breeds and charging a little more. They would be hot tickets and be adopted instantly.
I am well versed in genetics and I recognize the phenomenon of “hybrid vigor” by which you introduce new genes into a closed line in hopes of minimizing the expression of recessive traits. Those persons advocating designer breeds tout so many benefits – healthier animals, getting the best of 2 different breeds, creating “hypoallergenic” animals, to name a few. I am a Registered Veterinary Technician and having worked in veterinary clinics, I can tell you that this is rarely the case. Invariably the pups from this kind of cross end up with the worst of the 2 breeds. It is a rare instance when they dodge the medical issues AND the other behavioral issues. Poodles have been over bred to the point that they are real cash cows for the veterinary profession – heart problems, knee problems, collapsing trachea, bad ears and a predisposition to dental issues. The Dachshund is known for spinal disc issues, auto immune issues, and a bad temper. Yorkies, Pomeranians, and Chihuahuas all have very small bladders resulting in house breaking problems. The Chihuahua is known for hydrocephaly (water on the brain), tremors, and “little dog syndrome” which is an over-sized attitude and an underdeveloped ability to know when to back down. This results in many Chihuahuas being chomped in half by big dogs. The small breeds like the Yorkie require grooming and mixing it with a breed that has shorter hair does NOT eliminate the need for grooming. They will still mat and the hair may even become more problematic! As for the claims of hypoallergenic dogs – it isn’t the hair. It is the proteins in the saliva and the dander. Breeds that are professionally groomed and bathed every 2 to 4 weeks will be easier for the allergic individual but there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog (unless it has been taxidermied and shellacked)!!
Anyway that is my rant. Instead of paying mega bucks to purchase a Designer Breed, use that excess cash you have laying around and adopt a mutt from the pound or shelter. Use the leftover $500 to donate to human and animal charities. Really, people.
As a little bit of levity*:
Q: What’s the best kind of dog for retrieving data?
A: A Labragoogle!
* this was a joke told on the webcomic “Questionable Content” by Jeph Jacques. I love that comic and read it daily…