Saturday, October 25, 2008

Disclaimer, part two

What do you have against designer dogs??

To be honest? I have NOTHING against the dogs themselves. I think mutts make for some of the sweetest dogs around, and I believe adopting a shelter mutt is one of the best things you can do.

No; if you're keeping up with this blog, you should know it's the people behind the dogs that grate on my nerves. Let's face it: there are way too many dogs out there. Purebreeds will always be relatively okay, because there will always be breed enthusiasts who know their way around their respective dogs. There will always be breed rescues ready to take on an unwanted Lab or shepherd. It's the mutts who are often left high and dry, and that's heart-breaking.

Muttpuppies are the fault of (and should be the responsibility of) people who are too lazy to give their dogs the snip or at least build a proper fence. Those are the people I have a problem with.

Then there are the designer dogs. Remember, 'designer' doesn't mean Dolce & Gabbana- it means these mutts were bred by design. Designer dogs are cockapoos, Goldendoodles, puggles, Maltipoos... All the poos and doodles and then some.

I've had a couple people say I've made them feel guilty for wanting one of these dogs... Ooops! Honest, that was never my intention. (Unless you want a Border Jack, because ... holy crap. Really??) Actually, I really kinda like Goldendoodles and Labradoodles! They make awesome family dogs. :) I applaud the efforts of those breeders trying to develop the "Australian Labradoodle", because breeding with a standard in mind is the best thing you can do for designer dogs: if you want to breed Labradoodles, breed for THIS objective. Most designer dog breeders can't agree on anything except that the dog simply has to be a mix between this breed and that breed.

What I can't stand is the people who put a poodle and a Lab together and automatically assume the best traits of both will show up in the puppies. These are the people who notice a growing trend and decide to get in on it. OFA and CERF? Never heard of it! Health problems? No problem, hybrid vigour's on our side! So the poodle's a little snappy? The Lab genes will take care of that! These people also tend to refuse to breed multigenerational dogs, because they want all the benefits that come with a true blue mutt.

I know you're sick of me harping on about unpredictability in mutts, but it's one of my biggest pet peeves. In the hands of fad breeders, you don't know what your dog's temperament will be like, you don't know what it'll look like when it's grown, you don't know what health problems it may present, if you're getting a Golden- or Labradoodle you won't even know if it's low-shedding and "hypoallergenic" or not! And hybrid vigour, well - it may work out to some degree for some mixes, but the thing to keep in mind is that muttpuppies aren't real "hybrids" at all. Domestic dogs are all the same species - Canis lupus familiaris - and a hybrid, if you want to get technical, is a mix of two different species. Some geneticists like the late George Padgett, DVM even say that mixed breeds can inherit the genes for more than DOUBLE the health problems in some purebreeds.

And these people expect you to pay money for these "one of a kind" genetic anomalies.

Just for kicks, I went hunting on a pet-finder site for a schnauzer mix, because I've always wanted a dog with a beard. And ta-da. He's young, he's a schnoodle, he's in need of a yard to run around in, and he's an hour or two away from me. It's that easy! Now I could have my very own doggy beard to brush all day ... assuming he's got one. And poking around, it's sad to see just how many of these dogs are mixed breeds.

So you see, it's not all about the muttpuppies here at Muttpuppies on Trial. I aim to rag on the people who come up with those bizarre mixes, bad breeders (in general), puppy mills, and anything doggy that catches my interest. And if you want to adopt yourself a designer dog, that's okay by me. Just do your research, and find yourself a responsible breeder first!


water_bearer said...

Here-here! Keep blogging! My hope for you is that you one day get the traffic and the support that Fugly has because then maybe people who are on the fences or truly uneducated on the subject, will start to see the light. Did you read the thread of comments on FHOTD's post a month or so back on the woman and horse attacked by dogs? There's proof enough for you that just because people have genuine empathy for animals, are well-meaning, educated professionals, and very knowledgeable about horses, it doesn't mean they know SQUAT about dogs. Seriously. There were so many regular commenters who obviously know what they're talking about when it comes to equines and whose opinion I always like to hear when it comes to other subjects, who didn't know their ass from a hole in the ground when it came to dogs. Fortunately, very few if any of them are breeding dogs.
I WISH I could say that for the population at large, but just because relatively speaking, dogs are easy keepers, everyone and their mother thinks they know enough about dogs to make more of them, and they couldn't all possibly. Somebody has to speak up, and be interesting and or funny enough to warrant further interest in reading.

muttpuppiesontrial said...

Thanks so much, WB. Your support means a lot! I really hope I can reach out to the uneducated, because it seems so many people are left in the dark when it comes to puppy mills and things. Dogs' popularity is their own undoing, so I'll be happy if I can raise any awareness about the issues I cover here.

Linny said...

"Designer dog" sales are now outstripping those of purebreds. I think this is largely because all the scientific research show mutts live longer and healthier lives than purebreds.

Most people just want a happy, healthy family pet. Say "Boxer" a vet thinks heart disease; say "Golden Retriever" and they think hip dysplasia. The incidence and severity of inherited diseases increases every year, and yet breeders continue as they've always done, with outdated practices that continuously limit genetic diversity, using breed standards that often encourage disability and deformity.

If there's anybody out there that still really believes all is well in the purebred world, they should watch the BBC documentary "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" at