Looking at Designer Dogs

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…

42 thoughts on “Looking at Designer Dogs

    1. I love some AKC purebred dogs. The Doberman and the Australian Shepherd, and the Border Collie are all among my favorite breeds. I’m all for a pure bred dog. I just don’t like the mixed breeds being pawned off on the public as if they are some special designer breed and conning people into paying big $$ for a mutt.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. We’ve always had mutts. Sometimes from the pound, and sometimes given to us. The first dog we got after we were married was an accidental mix of basset hound and some sort of terrier. The best dog we ever had was a schnauzer-poodle mix. I still miss her. I’d like another dog now, but I would not like having to take care of one, so I’m trying to resist even pictures of cute puppies. I can go pet my daughter’s dog next door whenever I want, so that’s good.

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    1. Haha! If you can manage that you’ll be rich and famous!!! I’m not a big fan of yappy little dogs…but a well mannered and behaved dog (no matter the size) is a joy to be around.

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  2. We won’t pay more than a hundred for a dog. Lately we been look at dogs who families have given them up because of moves or shelter dogs. I want something bbn potty trained

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      1. Yes. My requirements are a Male or fixed female and potty trained. The puppies are cuter but the one I was the main cleaner up after was a demon dog. He is lucky we kept him to six months when he finally settled down some. He ended up bring a pretty good dog but we started out life with that one dog that you will never get another one like.

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          1. I mean compared to most family members and friends who have dogs ours are excellent dogs. My mom’s dog has no manners and she is the type to potty train and call it good. Mine can and still get in trouble. We work on obedience often like stay while I walk away. Sit before getting attention.

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                1. That is the great mystery – A barking dog is most worrisome. As a dog owner I’d want to know why they were barking and then remedy the situation… These are probably the same people who let a baby cry and never think to change/feed/burp the poor child.

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                    1. Yikes. Sound like that neighbor may not be aware of the issue… Would a gentle comment help? In the winter it might not be as much of a problem but I can see that in the summer with the windows open it would be horrible!!

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                    2. Yes. The guy who sold them 5he house was suppose to be out May 1 a couple years ago. He started moving late afternoon April 20. Anything left when he had to quit that day they threw outside. Including about a 100 dollars worth of meat which he struggled at that point to make ends meet. We knew then we were going to have issues. The guy has 7 or 8 tractors in the yard at all times. The wife walks her dog with no leash and it don’t listen at all and she yells at me when it runs into my yard and won’t leave my dogs alone. The other day it happened and she yelled at Wrangler. He was less than nice

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  3. A “Dorkie”??? Really? Sounds like he ought to be wearing an argyle sweater vest and a pocket protector. When I’m out walking him and people say how cute he is and ask what breed he is, I’d be embarrassed to tell them. All but one of my dogs were pound pups, all Pit mixes. Pits are prolific escape artists, I’m told, that’s why there are so many Pit mix puppies needing homes. The $100 adoption fee imposed by the county pound covered license/tag, vet check, first shots & worming, locator chip, and spay or neuter, a bargain if ever there was one. Pound pups, in my experience, are 100% loyal to their owners, so grateful to have found their “forever home.” 🙂

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    1. Most rescues somehow sense that they have been saved from an untimely death… they are devoted pets and really try to prove that they deserve to be part of the family. Around here they don’t (can’t) adopt out Pit bulls or Pit bull mixes so they call them Boxer mixes or miniature mastiff mixes… They get real inventive.

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      1. They don’t call them pit mixes here either, but I can tell by their distinctive eyes and wide jaws. No inventive titles, the signs just say “mixed breed.” Did you know Pits were once called the “babysitter breed” because they were so gently protective of the kids in their family? 🙂

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        1. I always heard them referred to as Nanny dogs… Of course they were originally used for bull baiting. It is that fearlessness that the criminal element sought to manipulate and exploit. Too many backyard breeders and the breed is damaged with some strains being volatile which gives all of them a bad reputation. I’ve seen lots of loving pit bulls and I’ve also seen vicious ones. The sad part is that due to their anatomy if one bites it is a serious bite where if a chihuahua bites the wound is not near as large/deep and rarely life threatening. Seems many of the small breeds are much more willing to sink their teeth into you!!

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  4. My last dog was a Shepsky, Boo is a Zuchon (Shih-tzu + bichon frise). Oreo is a poodle + shihtzu mix. I call him a shit-poo. All three of these designer dogs were rescued; two from the humane society and one I acquired when his owner passed away, but she had rescued him from the humane society. I didn’t get any of them because they were “designer dogs,” but because they chose to be my dogs. There was an immediate attachment with each of them that became a strong bond over time. I prefer mutts and will always choose to rescue animals.

    As a side note, we’ve had a variety of rescued animals over the years: a rabbit, a finch, two cockatiels, a pygmy hedgehog… it’s not just dogs and cats that need rescuing!

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    1. I think you had Pearl when we first met. I wish I’d have met Tia (Sparky would have been in heaven). I think Oreo and Sparky could be best friends but I’m not sure Boo will ever warm up to Sparky ever again. I think mixed breeds can be the best kind of pet but not when flim-flam artists are asking the public to pay outrageous sums for mutts in every shelter in the country!

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  5. I shared this with FB. I remember my first encounter with the craze of tea cup poodles. I foresaw a bunch of trouble. We adopted a pet the Vet owned at the local shelter. (we wouldn’t give it back when she returned from vacation) We called it a dorkie because it had terrier hair and the body of a dachshund. Plus the bugger taught our other dog how to get in the trash when we left the house. Other dog adopted from a mutt that gave birth in the local gas station.

    I’m the same with cats, no pure breeds. Bought one bird, gave it back to the breeder in exchange for a cockatiel. The other a Quaker was a rescue. Have had them over 25 yrs. Quaker going blind.

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    1. Sorry to hear your Quaker parrot is having eye issues. 25 years is a good long life – shows that you have provided a great home! Once a breed gets popular they tend to be over bred and then you get inbreeding and that results in problems…

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  6. I’m a cat person. Cats usually find me and then I have to take them to the vet, which once cost me 1000. She’s extremely athletic and smart, but I don’t think she can see well. They all have different personality beyond my control. Gotta love them like children!

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  7. I have to admit that I love it when people comment on how beautiful my dogs are but I doubt that I would love them less if they were ugly, and I couldn’t love them more if they were registered show dogs. Dogs are like people, they’re beautiful when you love them no matter what they look like.

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  8. I couldn’t agree more! “Designer dogs” are mixed breeds, pure and simple, and have been around forever. But what really bothers me about designer dogs are the prices they fetch…because that encourages people to go into breeding who don’t care about dogs at all. They don’t take care of the dogs they are breeding and they don’t screen the homes they go to; anyone willing to pay the price can have a dog. I volunteer at a large, open-admission animals shelter, and we do rescues form sub-standard breeders (puppy mills) all the time. You wouldn’t believe the horrible conditions some of those dogs live in, and the horrible condition the dogs are in either. This trend is hurting dogs for sure.

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  9. Thought my dog is suppose to be a designer dog (shichi–half chihuahua half shih tzu) he was free. I was after one that someone didn’t want or a rescue dog. This one was not wanted. He’s a sweetie and has been so good for me.

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