May 10, 2010

Tail Of Unintended Consequences

Wally Conran has regrets.

“I decided to stop mentioning the word crossbreed and introduced the term ‘labradoodle’ instead to describe my new allergy-free guide-dog pups,” he wrote.

The name caught on and interest in the labradoodle soared, but he began to worry about “backyard breeders producing supposedly allergy-free dogs for profit,” Conran wrote. He felt that he had opened up a Pandora’s box.

Better to say he fell into one.

Since the animal rights racket began targeting purebred dogs about 25 years ago, a steady trickle of propaganda masquerading as exposé began to enter the media mainstream. Time magazine's A Terrible Beauty (which includes scientific gems like "practically every species suffers from inherited diseases") is a textbook example.

Long on weepy anecdotes and lazy research, short on balance and meaningful rebuttal, the oft stated goal was to push the pet buying public towards shelter animals. For their animal rights puppeteers, the goal was for the public to forgo "enslaving" a pet at all.

Of course, Labs had been getting out of the yard and getting it on with the poodle down the street for as long as Labs and poodles have existed. But historically, the product of such matings rightly sold for a nominal fee, or - as they grew into the 30 lbs of puppy food a week stage - for nothing at all.

That all changed when media got involved to help spread the animal rights crafted message of Hybrid SuperiorityTM.

To Time magazine and others, Labradors and poodles weren't simply breeds developed for cold water retrieving that excel in a host of other disciplines - they were deeply flawed symbols of a corrupt and elitist social class intent on forcing artificial standards of beauty on the health and welfare of millions of innocent family pets.

Within the past century, though, and especially over the past 50 years, the most popular types have been bred almost exclusively to look good -- with "good" defined by breed-specific dog clubs and the American Kennel Club (AKC). "Form has been separated from function," says Brian Kilcommons, a dog trainer in Middletown, New York."Styles come in vogue. The competition at dog shows is geared almost exclusively to looks." This focus on beauty above all means that attractive but unhealthy animals have been encouraged to reproduce -- a sort of survival of the unfittest. The result is a national canine-health crisis, from which few breeds have escaped. [...]

"Criticize the AKC, and there will be retribution," says one New York dog trainer. "Judges may find they are no longer getting assignments. Breeders might discover their dogs are no longer winning prizes."

Never mind that the AKC registers only a fraction of the purebred dogs born in America, and puppies produced by competitive show lines account for only 5% of those - the few hundred dogs awarded breed ring rankings each year were responsible for the gene defects of tens of thousands of largely unrelated purebreds churned out for the commercial market. To that end, Time (along with countless others) advised;

Most of these genetic problems would disappear if Americans could somehow be persuaded to abandon purebreds in favor of mutts. While individual mixed-breed dogs have problems, the animals on average are a lot healthier than their high-class cousins.

The public was paying attention. The result was an epic backfire in mankind's long history of unintended consequences.

With the birth of a new type of snob appeal - that of the morally superior, politically correct dog owner - came an explosion in the breeding of so-called "designer dogs".

A puppy who might command $35 in his grandsire's day was suddenly worth $1200. And why not? If that was the going rate for a purebred standard poodle puppy, surely a fillintheblankpoo, endowed with media-certified hybrid vigour, was worth as much - or more?

No matter that the $1200 purebred might represent thousands of dollars investment in genetic testing, post sale support, and health guarantees - along with the predictability in adult size, coat type, temperament, and trainability so critical in matching a puppy with his owner's lifestyle and environment.

No matter that late onset defects are often the product of dominant genes, which require only one affected parent to produce disease in offspring, or that many breeds share the same disease genes for common problems such as hip dysplasia.

No matter that purebreds are so often screened for sub-clinical disease or carrier status that handy databases exist ready to be mined and publicized by their critics - while crosses receive little or no such testing at all.

And no matter that crosses between breeds of different physical types can result in grotesque malformations of structure (such as jaw alignment) and coat care nightmares.

The thing that really mattered was that they weren't "bred to look good".

And so, Labradoodle beget Goldendoodle, which begat Cadoodle, which begat Doodleman Pinscher, which begat Giant Schoodle, and so forth, all of them commanding prices well in excess of the original purebreds that went into the mix - for the commercially bred purebreds used in such crosses are invariably the least worthy for breeding.

After all, no one with a poodle or Labrador from generations of health tested, champion stock would consider wasting that investment in a hybridized dead end.

Puppies produced by low quality Labrador parents might command $250 in a market saturated with pet Labradors - hardly enough to merit the work involved in producing a litter or the risk of being saddled with unsold puppies.

But by simply breeding the Lab to an equally invaluable poodle, the value of their puppies could instantly quadruple. Better yet, the profit margins were huge. The Labradoodle puppy requires no more "per unit investment" than does any other mutt - bargain basement breeding stock, dog food, and a vaccination. In contrast, a comparatively priced standard poodle puppy might represent hundreds of dollars of input costs.

Wally Conran knew these things, of course. What he couldn't have known is how a left-leaning media largely sympathetic to the animal rights agenda would turn his little guide dog experiment into a Gen X status symbol and canine cash-generating monster.

Posted by Kate at May 10, 2010 11:29 AM

I think every kid should grow up with a dog as a pet/best friend. (Provided the kid and parent is reponsible enough).

I still today miss Lady, my Chihuahua-Toy Terrier cross, who died over 35 years ago! She was the mother to hundreds of pups and whenever she had a fresh batch, which was always, all the neighbouring farm kids wanted one. Lady was a bit of a skank, perpetually in heat. I don't know how many horny suitors we used to chase out of the yard!

Sorry for the memory lane drama, Kate!

Posted by: Eskimo at May 10, 2010 11:40 AM

No matter that the $1200 purebred might represent thousands of dollars investment in genetic testing, post sale support, and health guarantees - along with the predictability in adult size, coat type, temperament, and trainability so critical in matching a puppy with his owner's lifestyle and environment.

To say nothing of the thousands of purebred dogs that responsible breeders take back when purchasers can't keep them due to divorce, moving to pet-free housing, health reasons, etc. Responsible breeders of show dogs are not to blame for the thousands of unwanted dogs showing up in shelters.

(We recently visited the Calgary Human Society to look at cats. Because we have an unspayed bitch in the house, we can only adopt a cat if we take in the empress Theodora's AKC and CKC registration papers. "Spay or neuter your pet!")

About time someone wrote something sensible on the subject, Kate.

Posted by: Charles MacDonald at May 10, 2010 11:59 AM


Posted by: Charles MacDonald at May 10, 2010 12:01 PM

Paris Hilton, Lyndsay Lohan, et al. Bred for good looks but have severe genetic fault making them totally useless for anything else. Stretching here? Maybe.

Posted by: tim at May 10, 2010 12:12 PM

I've never paid for a dog in my life, and probably never will. The best things in life may not be free, but my best four-legged friends were.

Posted by: Yukon Gold at May 10, 2010 12:13 PM

Interesting article. I won't disrespect show dogs, or their breeders, and I'm agreed on the animal rights racket. But there is nothing inherently wrong with having, or wanting to have, a cross-bred dog, if you simply want a companion animal.

My Sis has a labradoodle, and it's a great little dog. Well, not that little, but not a BIG dog. And I have a Basset X Border Collie, and she is also a fine pet.

The root of the whole issue is one of people assigning false value to things, whether for venal reasons, or ideology, or simply to acquire status.

Posted by: gordinkneehill at May 10, 2010 12:20 PM

Me too. Best dog I was ever friends with was free. Although she was purebred Border Collie.

Show her once and she knew it. If there's such a thing as a perfect dog, she was it. Someday I hope to see her again.

Posted by: ol hoss at May 10, 2010 12:20 PM

Looking at purebreds with disdain and mutts with approval is simply multiculturalism gone dog. The only difference is that, unlike peoplecentric multiculturalism, with dogs the goal isn't to wipe out the ones with white fur.

Posted by: INP at May 10, 2010 12:24 PM

My wife and kids wanted a dog and I said you can get whatever you wish as long as it don't shed, can get bet out running around the back yard and I don't have to walk it.

We got a pure bred Bichon Frise, with breeding papers. I immediately had him done - I don't have time for all that breeding crap - and yes, I walk it. lol.

Posted by: J at May 10, 2010 12:29 PM

I lost my American Eskimo last November, we said no more pets. Well that lasted all of 5 months. I spent the money on a pure breed (again Miniature American Eskimo). He is worth every cent. After having one with so much brains, there was no way that I would take a "mutt". I have found that with cross breeds, one never knows the health problems, temperament or even size. I can't believe how many dogs that were picked up from the SPCA and either put down or turned back in because of health or behavior problems.

Posted by: MaryM at May 10, 2010 12:30 PM

We have four pre-bred Maine Coons. We donate a fair amount every year to local spay and neuter programs for cats. But several snotty-nosed PC types have criticised us for having "breeder cats". You just can't win with the PC/crowd. Their ignorance may be bliss for them, but they are doing real damage to diversity.

Posted by: Patrick B at May 10, 2010 12:38 PM

I have to admit that being an urban apartment dweller I really don't get a lot of Kate's one-off dog breeding posts. It's just completely out of my experience and I can't fill in the blanks due a lack of subject matter expertise.

Thanks, Kate, for providing all the background information on this issue. It was an interesting read and made me re-think my plans for getting a dog when I move into a house with a yard.

Posted by: Daniel Ream at May 10, 2010 12:42 PM

Aren't purebreds the inevitable result of crossbreeding?

Posted by: Warren Z at May 10, 2010 1:40 PM

"Unintended consequence"? For Wally Conran maybe. He's a guy who likes dogs.

Fully intended by the media and bunny huggers, I would hazard. They hate everything. If its older than 1960 it is part of The Establishment, and therefore bad. This includes dog breeds, particularly hunting breeds who exist to aid in the slaughter of innocent wild animals.

Me, I like golden retrievers. They are goofy, they nibble on you, and they like to steal your socks. They will also go get that duck you just shot if you train them a bit, which is really handy.

As a conservative I am public enemy number one so far as bunny hugging Leftists are concerned, no surprise my dog is too. It pleases me to be despised by people with such low morals. If the Left hates you, that's a really good sign.

They REALLY hate Kate. Kate rocks. ~:D

Posted by: The Phantom at May 10, 2010 1:41 PM

I am part Scottish, part English, German and French. So I'm cross-bred! Big deal!!

Posted by: Joe Citizen at May 10, 2010 1:51 PM

Regarding dogs with behavior problems; I really believe that there are few dogs that cnnot be trained and most of the behavior problems are owner related.

Seems like the same people always have well behaved dogs and the same people always have " Free Spirited" (should be read "doesn't listen worth a damn")dogs.

It is very easy to put a puppy in its place, but considerably more difficult to put a 100lb "free spirit" in its place.

Posted by: trevor at May 10, 2010 1:59 PM

Me too. Best dog I was ever friends with was free. Although she was purebred Border Collie.

Show her once and she knew it. If there's such a thing as a perfect dog, she was it. Someday I hope to see her again.

Posted by: ol hoss at May 10, 2010 12:20 PM

I had a male Border Collie, smarter than most people I've met, he's been gone 8 years and I still miss him.

Perhaps he, and your dog, and somewhere discussing philosophy at this very moment.

Posted by: Nemo2 at May 10, 2010 2:12 PM

The latest designer breed is a pit bull/collie cross, the "Pollie".

After it mauls you, it runs and gets help...

Posted by: djb at May 10, 2010 2:22 PM

djd that was a very breedist remark! Shame on you!

Posted by: ChrisinMB at May 10, 2010 2:34 PM

All of which leads to people who are actually willing to pay $600 for a mutt because it's (and I quote) "part purebred" as opposed to $1200 for a pure bred.
I sold cars for a living for 4 years, and some of the very same people who were aghast at the thought of a dealership getting a $1200 gross profit on a $30,000 mini-van with a sunroof and power seats, are the actual people paying $600-1000 for "part purebred" dogs.
I used to joke that our old Terrier cross (read: mutt) was a Prairie Standardbred.

Posted by: Bill Greenwood at May 10, 2010 2:41 PM

There are no purebreds, only different classes of people with somewhat known or unknown origin... Oh, we where talking about dogs?

Posted by: Skip at May 10, 2010 2:49 PM

Me, I like mutts as pets. Hybrid vigor and all that.

But breeding pure-breds has it's place.

Look at it this way: after we all kill ourselves off, all the dogs will go back to the generic Canidae "wild dog" model anyway.

Posted by: mojo at May 10, 2010 3:31 PM

Interesting points about designer dogs, but why stop at blaming the "animal rights racket" and the "left-leaning media"? Let's throw in all "latte-sipping liberal Torontonians" too! And "multiculti Trudeau-ites"!

And "entrepreneurialism" and "capitalism."

Posted by: Davenport at May 10, 2010 3:34 PM

My dog (God rest his furry soul) was part husky, part timber wolf, all cuddly beast.
I'm no expert in dog breeding but I'm sure there are more problems breeding teacup dogs than carefully breeding pets.
Just my thoughts.

Posted by: Osumashi Kinyobe at May 10, 2010 3:38 PM

And also as a result every back yard breeder and puppy mill is now breeding "multipoos" and a whole lot of other poos and charging an arm and a leg. Check out any classified section of any newspaper. Responsible breeders always seem to end up taking a hit for taking extraordinary care of their animals while uneducated buyers trot off to the pet store and feed the puppy mills. Anyone looking for a dog, so some research talk to breeders and decide what fits your lifestyle before adopting another member of your family.

Posted by: Rick Rae at May 10, 2010 3:38 PM

Hey! I agree. This hybridization can result in some confusion.

Take my kids for example: 1/2 haggis, 1/2 kraut.

Every time they meet an authority figure they don't know whether to raise their legs or raise their arms in salute.

Posted by: Jamie MacMaster at May 10, 2010 3:41 PM

My wife and kids wanted a dog and I said you can get whatever you wish as long as it don't shed, can get bet out running around the back yard and I don't have to walk it.

We got a pure bred Bichon Frise, with breeding papers. I immediately had him done - I don't have time for all that breeding crap - and yes, I walk it. lol.

Posted by: J at May 10, 2010 12:29 PM .

After losing Taylor I said No More dogs, named her after Charleton Heston Planet of the Apes. But, now , my 8 year old daughter had to have a puppy. She got a registered female German Sheperd back in mid-October, and yes J, I was suppose to be relieved of all duties, yea right, started walking Cinnamon back in November, good Lord, I would walk a mile and she would run 5, in 7 months she has gone from 18 pounds to 70 and I have gone from 240 pounds to 215 and can damn near get back in my 36 x 34 Levi's, LOL.

Posted by: Ratt at May 10, 2010 3:42 PM

Excellent post, Kate. My best dog was a purebred and registered German Shepherd, gone 2 years now. Intelligent, beautiful. Replaced by another of same! Sorry, I don't go for mutts. I think if the "market" for mutts disappeared, perhaps people would have to be more careful about unintended breedings. As for all the "-poos" around. Uggh. And you do know the "type" dogs sold at places like Petland are from puppyfarms, right? Avoid at all costs.

Posted by: wendy.g at May 10, 2010 4:16 PM

I don't know. I have a purebred Lab, and it is the best dog I ever had. It was worth the price. I had him fixed even though many people who see him want to breed him with their lab bitches. He is a beautiful dog. I am quite sure that breeder selection for temperament had a lot to do with him being a great dog as selection for looks.

Posted by: tim in vermont at May 10, 2010 4:33 PM

Our dog is half daschund and half chihuahua. A nice mix.
But it was only after we got her that we learned that her cross has an actual name: a "Chiweenie", also nicknamed the "Mexican hot dog".
I think people invent these silly cross names to sell more dogs, not to describe a specific dog and its attributes. It's all about the $$$.

Posted by: turtle at May 10, 2010 4:35 PM

dogs sold at places like Petland are from puppyfarms, right
Posted by: wendy.g at May 10, 2010 4:16 PM

Always had some questions about what constituted a "puppy farm." It seems as if someone attaches that handle to any breeding operation, the place is doomed. It's like calling something a concentration camp.

Is a PF a place where the number of animals exceeds a certain amount?

Is it the conditions?

Is it the fact that dogs are sold for profit?

What the hell constitutes a puppy farm?

It's far to easy to brand a place a "puppy farm."

I know good, decent people have had their livelihoods ruined because some socially-retarded do-gooder decided to call the OSPCA and report a "puppy farm". Just because it didn't fit her twisted idea of how an animal should live.

There are dairy operations locally where 500 cows have 500 calves on an annual basis. Is that a "calf farm"?

Take a drive north on Hwy 10 and tell me if those barns with hundreds and hundreds of thoroughbred mares constitute a foal farm.

Posted by: Jamie MacMaster at May 10, 2010 4:36 PM

Mutts are Us !

Posted by: Fred at May 10, 2010 4:46 PM

Ok, so this is a bit of a nit, but I think Wally Conran is taking a bit too much credit for the Labradoodle. When I was a kid I had a book on World Land (and water) Speed Record holders. Donald Campbell (Son of Sir Malcolm and both of Bluebird fame) was pictured with his black labradoodle in the book. I'd say I was maybe 11 or 12 when I first read about this and I'm 50 now. Also, Donald Campblell was killed in 1967 and he looked fairly healthy posing with his dog so 'inventing' the breed in the late 80's (unless it was supposed to be 1880's) might be a bit self-serving of good Mr. Conran.

Check the 8th name on the list...

Posted by: Brian M. at May 10, 2010 4:52 PM

I have both mixed breeds and pure-bred dogs. The mixed breeds are the accidental type - not designer breeds. I love them all - they are good dogs. Both types have their place.

And this (from the TImes article?) is utter bull-hooey: "Within the past century, though, and especially over the past 50 years, the most popular types have been bred almost exclusively to look good -- with "good" defined by breed-specific dog clubs and the American Kennel Club (AKC). "Form has been separated from function,"" - it has a grain of truth for the lines of dogs that win at conformation dogs shows (a VERY small percentage of the population of dogs), but I compete at dog agility, and the pure-bred dogs there are NOT breed for looks. My Cattle dog that I compete would be kicked out of a conformation show - but she kicks butt at agility (and I learning herding with her).

Posted by: agile_dog at May 10, 2010 4:59 PM

The worst case of cross breeding I saw was at an animal rescue shelter. A black lab crossed with a daschund. The head was a lab's head, on a daschund body. It was like watching a sci-fi episode of some sort. I couldn't laugh, I felt so sorry for it. Was the mom a lab and the dad the daschund?

Posted by: GaryInWpg at May 10, 2010 5:01 PM

Any dog that makes you feel good, enjoys a run in the country and is there for treats and pets is ok with me. I've had both and my favourite was a Springer show dog that was never shown. The instinct is what got me. Never trained for birding she would quarter in six inches of snow, just the ears flying behind. It was a sight. She also responded to hand signals although I never trained her.

Posted by: Speedy at May 10, 2010 5:24 PM

Lying beside me, asleep as I work, is the perfect clone of the pup whose pic graces the top of your piece Kate.

Big, honking goldendoodle. Lovely animal, bought "second hand" from a person who knew a bit about training dogs and was bright enough to realize 80 pound dogs need a backyard and two small boys to be happy.

As you said at the time I asked about goldendoodles, "nothing wrong with them but they are mutts".

Yup. And it seems to be a good cross.

As "used dogs" go, Stoffal is a $1200...Are you nuts?

Posted by: Jay Currie at May 10, 2010 5:37 PM

Longest thread you have ever posted.

Posted by: trent at May 10, 2010 5:45 PM

You want a great pet? Go to your local previously enjoyed dog mart(SPCA) and pick up a winner.

Posted by: Ben Dover at May 10, 2010 6:10 PM

Hey Ben, do you know Phil McCrackin?

Posted by: The Phantom at May 10, 2010 6:20 PM

I have a purebred Berner and she,like my last dog (a mutt), is a charmer. She believes that all people were put on this earth to have their hands on her and she likes nothing better than a room full of people- a target rich environment.
It's an education watching her 'work the crowd'.
She has all the positive personality traits I have seen outlined for Berners and a couple that are unique to her.
I firmly believe that guardian angels inhabit this earth but they have four paws and love bones.

Posted by: Rich at May 10, 2010 6:25 PM

You guys talk about "mutts" making great pets, and I am sure they do, but what if you live in the country and want a dog with a specific temperament? One that stays by your side, and doesn't wander the area looking for chickens or goats to kill? Picking breeds is way more about behavior of the breed than the looks, if you ask me. Gang bangers would like the looks of Labs if they were vicious and Lab owners would prefer the look of Staffordshire Terriers if they were a gentle to all comers, stay at home type of breed.

Posted by: tim in vermont at May 10, 2010 6:35 PM

My girlfriend has a rescue dog - when I first met her I had a vision of a St. Bernard with a cask around it's neck filled with gin and vermouth. Turned out he was abused (who knew?). Anyway, he is the most beautiful, good-natured (100lb hairball) dog that you could possibly imagine. There's a lot to be said for a used dog. I gather they don't all work out this well, but Maxx is great. His only flaw is that he won't swim. One of his original owners disciplinary techniques was to spray him with water. So last summer we bought him the biggest doggy life jacket you can buy and dragged him (gently) into the lake at the cottage. You can only imagine a dog this big pawing at the water with his front legs while letting his rear legs float motionless - spread out like a bullfrog... It was embarrassing! Anyway, he finally got the hang of using the back legs so this year, we're hoping for a solo swim on his part.

Posted by: Brian M. at May 10, 2010 6:38 PM

Bad breeding is far worse than purebred breeding. The problem is there's a huge variation in breeders. A couple I know bought a german shepherd a few years back. Took good care of the dog and disciplined it. One day it simply snapped. Had to be put down.

These breeders are the problem, as well as anyone that abuses their pet. Purebred or not. It's true "mutts" are less prone to certain diseases.

Posted by: allan at May 10, 2010 6:41 PM

Should we ban certain races of humans from breeding within their own "race" because they're more likely to have genetic diseases?

West Africans having sickle cell.
Native Americans suffering from lactose intolerance.
Hispanics and blacks having higher rates of diabetes.


Funny how the people that are upset about purebreds would be the first to defend "purebred" human babies.

Posted by: allan at May 10, 2010 6:59 PM

I prefer dogs to liberals. They smell better and their personal hygiene is better.

This, 'let's pretend to be long as it isn't inconvenient' business is getting old, isn't it?

It's getting to the point it is getting tough to make jokes about it.

Posted by: Quent at May 10, 2010 7:01 PM

Please post a new topic. If I have to look at that dog again, I'll likely have to go to the pound and adopt one.

Posted by: Gus at May 10, 2010 7:24 PM

And then there is this aggression thingy.

Heaven forbid if your dog even just appears aggressive...

Posted by: sasquatch at May 10, 2010 7:50 PM


i believe the gent's name was Phil McCavity....

Posted by: john begley at May 10, 2010 9:03 PM

Both "Max" descendant of the "Littlest Hobo" and "Patches" a Springer from a farm in the Kawartha's were both smarter than me.
At 10 weeks Patches had us both trained to let her out by scratching at the screen door only to fake a pee just so she could check out the big red Chow-Chow next door.
Every single time we passed the Hillbilly campground on Hwy #11 on the way to her boyfriend Bo's (a husky shepherd mix) Cache Lake cottage she would wake up from deep snoring and her stump of a tail didn't stop wagging until the weekend was over and she was back snoring on the Sunday night drive home.
Max never got caught cheating red-handed.

Posted by: Bocanut at May 10, 2010 9:04 PM

two things-
first - Quent-"I prefer dogs to liberals. They smell better and their personal hygiene is better."
I also prefer dogs to liberals and they do smell better but I think on the personal hygiene.. there's no reason to think it wouldn't be a draw.

second- mutt or purebred can be your best friend- we've had and loved both. We currently have a number of poodles that were bred by a women who worked to provide dogs that would have a higher certainty of a healthy life and a good disposition.

I know she cared a great deal about her dogs because her examination of potential owners was
far from cursory. This examination told us something about the character of the breeder. When profit is the driver this step is not part of the process.

Posted by: Grant at May 10, 2010 11:00 PM

A dog walks into a bar in Cody, Wyoming in the heyday of the wild west. The piano player stops and takes refuge behind the bar. The gamblers lay their catds down, the madames scurry on upstairs.
The local Sheriff walks up to the dog and notices his right from paw wrapped in gauze.

"What brings you to Cody?" asks the sheriff.

"I'm lookin' for the guy who shop my paw!"

Posted by: Joe Citizen at May 10, 2010 11:08 PM

I'll stick with my purebred Golden Retriever (from field trial stock). She LIVES to retrieve birds, and wags herself out of her skin when I bring up the guns the night before a hunt. To see the instinct to hunt and retrieve come out in a dog is an absolute miracle.

Posted by: grok at May 10, 2010 11:20 PM

Cats are nice, too.

Posted by: Black Mamba at May 10, 2010 11:20 PM

I really think you are misguided in all of this Kate.

The creator of the labradoodle is incorrect to think that helping popularize hybrids is a bad thing.

Sure, puppy mills that create weak hybrids - known as outbreeding depression (see wiki for more - it is largely balanced on the heterosis concept and practice) but puppy mills plague the purebreeds as well - witness rundown condition of most of the Labrador pets one sees - hyper and stupid and prone to early arthritis amoung other things.

Quality purebred breeders like you Kate should be ecstatic about the popularity of hybrids as they are useless for breeding - purebreds are required to produce more. This has been a huge help to the improvement of cattle as there are usually producers who specialize in providing the purebred breeding stock and there are others who focus on producing the first and second level hybrid calves for beef. This has improved the professionalism of both segments - as specialization always does.

For the record our family has a goldendoodle and she has pretty much exactly the traits we were looking for that no purebred offered - non-shedding highly intellegent like a poodle and very family oriented docile and happy to adapt to the activity level of it owners - energetic when we are - laidback when we are not.

The one flaw (there is always one) is the loose hair coat that she has is like a magnet for dirt. The lack of oil in the hair makes things much worse than what a retriever is like for getting dirty. It is for us a pretty managable issue, but she would be useless as a hunting dog and a nightmare if we lived on a farm or acreage.

One last comment: all purebreeds today are the result of the perfect of one cross or another generations ago. To criticize hybrids is a bit hypocritical in light of that fact.

Posted by: Gord Tulk at May 10, 2010 11:40 PM

Bocanut: 'both "Max" and...."Patches"....were both smarter than me.'

I shouldn't even do this, ...but really? You (personally) wouldn't have the smarts to ever use that ploy to skip out for a secret tryst, a forbidden activity, a rebelious deed? Hmmm.

Your second example is just her being extremly horny. In my mis-spent youth, a certain locale always had a similar effect on me. :~)

But, on another track, and totally off-topic, we're often lectured on the super intelligence of other species in our world- most often whales and dolphins. Some contend that even exceeds that of humans.

So, being able to communicate with one another where food is, danger lies, grampa just died, or 'hey, this is fun!' proves super intelligence? Yeah, probably smarter than those claiming it so.
But, they've done absolutely nothing in developing advances in technology, communication, etc. other that beaching themselves when stuff goes FUBAR.

It is to laugh.

Posted by: Snagglepuss at May 11, 2010 12:17 AM

I disagree with Gord's "all purebreeds today are the result of the perfect of one cross or another generations ago". I got my first Samoyed-X back when I was 13 and have had the same breed without the 'X' ever since (nine dogs now, in several multiples). Here, we're talking about the closest to the original primitive dog and you can't improve on Mother Nature - no flat snout breathing troubles or floppy ear infections... The last six of my dogs, incidentally, have been 'rescues' (or 'rehomings' as is now a preferred politically correct term). Three of them have certified as Therapy Dogs, which shows the consistent temperament of the breed and to me that's most important. Oh yes, a friend dropped $300 for a Shih-Tsu/Poodle cross and wasn't happy with the "breed" being called a ShitPoo.

Posted by: Aviator at May 11, 2010 12:25 AM

I've got a 5-yr-old standard poodle/golden retriever cross that looks like the photo above. When I selected her at 6 weeks, the breeder predicted she would have a non-shedding coat, an adult weight of 50 pounds, and a calm but bubbly personality. The breeder was correct on all counts.

The breeder required that she be spayed, and returned to the breeder for refund if ever we chose to get rid of her.

Our dog has a very likeable personality, loves to fetch, seek, and has an extremely gently mouth. She can pick a proffered cheerio out of the fingers of a 12-month-old without dropping the cheerio or touching the child.

She is fairly unique in my experience in that when she plays, regardless of the size or species of playmate, no one ever gets hurt.

She's the first dog I've ever had. I always liked golden retrievers, but don't like the shedding coat. She has longer legs than a golden retriever and doesn't appear to be as motivated by food as all the goldens I know are.

For the price I paid for her, I think it’s reasonable when amortized over her expected lifespan and considering I don't have to vacuum up her hair from the carpet and furniture.

Also, vet bills due to athletic injuries and buying nutritional food tend to obscure the initial purchase price.

All-in-all, I'm comfortable with my choice and the price I paid for that choice. I don't think my choice harms the breeders of purebred dogs, and I don't criticize or project disdain in their direction for breeding purebreds.

That courtesy is not always returned.

Posted by: CFM56 at May 11, 2010 2:13 AM

I was reading the previous topic, and all I saw was the top inch of the picture.

Made me think it was going to be about Albert Einstein....

Posted by: eastern paul at May 11, 2010 8:43 AM

I suspose if the intent is to buy a dog that wasn't breed to "look good" a good place to start the search might be:

Posted by: ∞² at May 11, 2010 10:51 AM

Within the past century, though, and especially over the past 50 years, the most popular types have been bred almost exclusively to look good

Apparently they are a little shoddy on the research here. The Labrador has been the most popular purebred dog in the US for some time, with the majority of those animals bred for field performance, not show, which includes overall longevity and health.

As far as shelters go, I have been looking to get into hound hunting for some time; And I was willing to make adoption an option for a hound. I gave up on that because the shelters I found would not adopt out a dog for the purpose of sport hunting, no matter how much I assured them that a dog is part of my family.

Posted by: MikeTheMoose at May 11, 2010 11:28 AM

Jamie MacMaster at May 10, 2010 4:36 PM

Do some research on it.

Posted by: wendy.g at May 11, 2010 11:49 AM

I have one of each: A resoundingly robust rescue mutt from east county farmland and an expensive long-haired chihuahua from KC. It's good to have dogs around again after a couple of decades without one. Also, the rescue at $150 isn't exactly cheap. That includes a chip and the neutering but suspect the cost prevents a lot of families from going to the pound to get a pet these days.

Puggles are the only boutique dog I'm seeing in my area. The looks are quite inconsistent. Some have muzzles, some have flat faces. They all still yodel instead of bark.

Posted by: Mazzuchelli at May 11, 2010 2:04 PM

CFM56 at May 11, 2010 2:13 AM
Sounds like the gentle mouth of my German Shepherd. she could take beef from a baby's hand with no problem. Purebred, registered.

Posted by: wendy.g at May 11, 2010 4:19 PM

I was at the vets recently with my purebred title-owning Jack Russell "Toot", when a guy brought in a "silver lab" with stomach problems. Everyone in the lobby looked at him and his "silver lab" and started laughing so loud the vet himself came out of the exam room to see what was up. When we told him, he asked the guy who told him it was a "silver lab". He said a breeder sold him his purebred "silver lab" for $2,000 and said he was quite proud of the bargain he'd won. He said the breeder told him the papers would be mailed by AKC. The vet dried his eyes from his own uproarious laughter, put his arms around the guys shoulder and led him towards an exam room saying "Pal, we need to talk". A few weeks later, I asked the vet how his talk turned out. He said the dog's stomach issues cleared up with a change of diet, but the guy still hadn't gotten over the premium he paid for his quite lovely Weimareiner. The vet was writing to the AKC about the breeder, and the owner was pursuing fraud charges against them. BTW, my Toot is a rescue dog, rescued by a breeder from a puppy mill, so not all breeders are evil, just some.

Posted by: Dazed at May 13, 2010 11:57 AM

Mazzuchelli, while I sympathize with you about the cost of rescue adoptions, I think there's an outcome you may not have considered. If a family can't afford $150 for an adoption (tha'ts pretty cheap around here) that includes medical clearance, shots, altering and family screening, they probably can't afford the annual or bi-annual shots, registration, Heartgard, bug-dope, annual checkup, grooming and food (not to mention if something every requires surgery) that proper care of a dog (or cat) entails. Many adoption returns at our local shelters these days are because families can no longer afford the proper care and feeding of a pet or they were unprepared for it in the first place. And returns are the good outcome, rather than improper care bordering on abuse from loss of income or commitment. Better to weed out those with love and good intentions but little else from those who can give a dog the proper care and love they deserve. The only thing more sad than the look on the face of a kid who can't have a dog is the sight of a malnourished or neglected animal placed in their care.

Posted by: Dazed at May 13, 2010 12:11 PM

"Cats are nice, too."
Black Mamba at May 10, 2010 11:20 PM
I must disagree, although it does depend more on the personality of the owner, than the animal itself. I have lived with both cats and dogs (several of each) and although dogs are usually "more work," I think thay are worth the trouble, espacially when you have kids.

I have never paid to purchase a dog, only for shots, meds, spay/neuter surgery, etc.
I have not even had to go to a shelter to find them; there always seemed to be puppies around that my wife/daughters would find...

Posted by: cas at May 13, 2010 1:42 PM

Do some research on it.
Posted by: wendy.g at May 11, 2010 11:49 AM

I have. My point is this: the term "puppy mill" has all the validity of phrases such as gun-nut and red-neck, it means nothing.

It has been mis-applied so often - to legitimate, decent folks who operate great kennels - that the words are useless.

Posted by: Jamie MacMaster at May 14, 2010 5:37 PM

All I can say is Bull dog crossed with Yorkie or Rottweiler with Chihuahua....


Posted by: cargosquid at May 14, 2010 7:14 PM