Wednesday, September 24, 2008
First on the docket: Maltipoos!
Okay, okay. I'll admit it!
I have a secret soft spot for fluffy white dogs.
Maltipoos are no exception. I mean, come on. Look at that face. As a designer-dog basher I should be way more cold-hearted, but that puppy there is cuter than a pile of kittens sleeping in a slipper together.
Well, maybe. Show me a picture of a bunch of kittens passed out in a slipper and I may have to change my mind. But he's cute, right?
In the designer dog world, Maltipoos are my weakness. I survey images of various muttpuppies for exorbitant sums and think "How dare these people!!", but the second I see a Maltipoo face I unravel quicker than a ball of string after those kittens wake up and venture out of their slipper to play. "Awww, who's a wuvable widdle muttpuppy? Yes he is!"
So I decided to screw up my nerve, put on some blinders, and attack these furry little balls of adorable first.
THE PROS: Too cute to be legal. You'll be the most popular person in the office if you show up toting one of these puppies around. People will be clamouring just to get one of your dog's tiny-tongued kisses on the cheek like it's a blessing from the Pope himself.
Also, they can be used as therapy dogs. This is a plus! How wouldn't that face cheer you up if you were old and senile and/or dying? Therapy dogs are great, especially cute ones.
THE CONS: Poodles tend to be okay with children, but Malteses often require supervision (and due to the Maltipoo's size you'd want to supervise any interaction anyway). Contrary to popular belief, breeding hybrids does NOT magically bring out the best in both breeds! Your Maltipoo may love kids, or it may snap at them. Who knows? The price of a lack of predictability.
Both poodles and Malteses suffer from skin problems, and as I'll no doubt rant all about later, you can never count on "hybrid vigor" to somehow get rid of these problems. Maltipoos can also inherit hip and eye problems from their parents (even that sweet puppy up there shows tear staining).
They require lots of grooming attention, as do both parents.
Malteses come with neurotic habits such as separation anxiety and wariness of new people, and the poodle parent can't be counted on to put a band-aid of mentally stable friendliness on this.
And now, for my favourite part:
COULD A PUREBREED SERVE THE SAME FUNCTION?
Yes. DUH. There's a ton of suitable therapy dogs out there already (I'd list examples, but breed is actually pretty unimportant. It all comes down to temperament, so depending on Maltipoos to be therapy dogs is pretty useless). And guess what, sunshine? Malteses and poodles are already small, fluffy, and "hypoallergenic" by themselves! What was the point of breeding them? And I promise you, there are plenty of other cute white dogs out there. Check out this Bichon! He looks like a Muppet! I don't know about you, but I'm sold!
The verdict is in. Maltipoos are nothing special. These designer dogs were obsolete before they even left the starting gate. Next!