Designer Dogs or Dogs of Good Design: When and Where was the Line Crossed?
For over 100,000 years, dogs and man have enjoyed a symbiotic and profitable relationship. And that association began when early wolves would scavenge near human encampments and enjoy the warmth of human fires.
As time went on, man expanded his relationship with wolves, beyond providing warning and protection, into joint hunting efforts. And as this relationship evolved, so did the wolf.
Roughly, 100,000 years ago, today’s dog (Canis Familiaris) began to develop from Canis Lupus, the wolf. Now the Mesopotamia’s recognized their Arabian Desert wolf as an impressive hunter, and over time using selective breeding, they developed the first example of a purebred dog. And that dog still exists today as the Saluki or Persian Greyhound.
The Labradoodle, the first dog to be labeled a ‘Designer Dog,’ was developed in the late 1980′s to fill a void in human/dog world . . . that of an allergy friendly guide dog.
The development of the Labradoodle, and later the Goldendoodle (a golden retriever /poodle hybrid), allowed people needing a service dog who suffered from dog allergies, to get the help they needed to make life more manageable.
These are dogs were bred with intent. They fill a vital niche in the dog world – allergy friendly service dogs. Unfortunately, the original intent and purpose of the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle hybrid development has been lost in the media hype over designer dogs.
‘Designer Dogs’ actually began as dogs of good design. However, that all important purpose of breeding with intent has been sacrificed at the alter of human greed.
Unfortunately this ‘good design’ has been corrupted by people breeding hybrids purely to make money, not to create a healthy, useful dog. Their only creations are dogs with cute names, rather than dogs with a purpose.
One reason many people look into ‘Designer Dogs’ is hybrid dogs can be healthier than purebred dogs, due to what is known as ‘Hybrid Vigor’. An unscrupulous breeder will tell you there was no need to do health testing on the parent dogs, because that hybrid vigor guarantees you a healthy dog.
Not true! Beware of common genetic linkups. And here’s why, hip dysplasia is a very real problem in purebred Poodles, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.
If you have a Goldendoodle whose Poodle father is genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia and whose Golden Retriever mother is similarly inclined, your Goldendoodle stands an overwhelming chance of having hip dysplasia.
So when purchasing a ‘Designer Dog’, be aware of the physical and temperament traits of the parent breed. Traits existing in both parents can’t be bred out in the puppies.
For example, Pugs shed profusely and can be a challenge to train. Beagles also shed and are known to be a strong willed dog that can also be a challenge to train. So beware of the Puggle breeder telling you the Puggle puppy will be low shedding and easy to train.
One of the unfortunate results of the ‘Designer Dog’ trend is an increase in purposefully bred hybrids in the shelter system. Rehomes of some ‘Designer Dogs’ go through organizations committed to that particular hybrid or one of the parent breed rescue organizations.
The key to any dog whether hybrid or purebred is their training. This takes a commitment by the owner. See your dog as a companion and giver of unconditional love. A being who will enrich your life in ways that cannot be expressed.
Whether designed with intent or by happy accident, all dogs deserve a loving, nurturing, forever home.
By Edie MacKenzie
Edie MacKenzie is the author of a comprehensive guide to Labradoodles that covers, Multi-gens, F1’s, choosing a breeder, health considerations, and training and discipline. Discover the principles of raising healthy, happy, and well-tempered Labradoodles even if you’ve never owned a dog. You can read about The Definitive Guide to Labradoodles at http://www.labradoodle-guide.com.