Are You Considering A Designer Dog Because Of Allergies? Two Reasons Why You Shouldn't!

  • 19/08/2019
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pekeapoo-puppies.jpgPoo or Oodle? If you are one of the many allergy sufferers in this country who has avoided owning a dog because of those allergies, you may be familiar with the new trend of breeding a poodle with just about any other dog with the assumption that the resulting puppies will possess the non-shed characteristic of the poodle. Breeding one purebred dog to a different purebred dog creates what is called a "crossbreed" or more recently a "designer dog." Backyard breeders and puppy mills all over the country are jumping on the bandwagon of the sudden popularity of designer dogs. This trend is creating some serious problems and providing two major reasons you should avoid designer dogs.

Crossbreeding dogs is not a new trend. Peekapoos (Pekinese + Poodle) became popular in the 1950s and Cockapoos (Cocker Spaniel + Poodle) in the 1960s. The breeders of these early crossbreeds were hoping for dogs that didn't shed for house-keeping reasons. The Labradoodle, in the 1980s, was likely the first crossbreed intentionally created with allergies in mind. The Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever + Poodle) was created by an Australian company who provided guide dogs for the blind. A lady from Hawaii asked if there could be a guide dog that didn't shed because her husband had allergies. The company tried 33 different Poodles over 3 years to create a proper guide dog, but Poodles just don't have the necessary skills. Wally Conron, possibly out of frustration, tried breeding his best Labrador Retriever with his best Standard Poodle, and the Labradoodle was born. Fortunately, it was a good guide dog.

The problem with this experiment, however, was that not all of the puppies had the necessary hypoallergenic characteristics. The first litter consisted of 3 pups with only 1 of those possessing the desirable quality. A second litter produced 10 puppies but only 3 of the pups carried the desired quality. These are not great odds. If you must have a hypoallergenic dog, you must either use a DNA test it or spend some time with the dog to see if a reaction happens.

Here is the first reason to avoid crossbreed dogs. No breeder can guarantee that all of the crossbreed puppies are hypoallergenic. You must understand that crossbreeds are not actually dog breeds. To be classified as a breed, there needs to be a long history of careful breeding until the dogs ALWAYS breed TRUE. This means that the appearance, size, temperament, fur quality, etc. always reproduce. This does not happen with crossbreeds. Each of the puppies gets traits from both mom and dad--just like humans--and the pups do not get exactly the same characteristics.

I remember so clearly when my second child was born. I was so shocked because she didn't look anything like my first child. We parents somehow get the idea that our children will all look alike and act alike and be like us, but then common sense takes over and reminds us that there are a great many genetic variables. The same is true with dogs. With both dogs and people, it is possible to get the very worst of both parents rather than the very best.

I recently saw a picture of ten Labradoodles. No two dogs looked alike. One looked more like a lab, one even looked like a golden. Even in the dogs that look the way we think they should, there was a tremendous difference in the qualities of the coats. Labradoodles are not a breed, so they do not breed true, and the puppies will not all be hypoallergenic.

The second reason for avoiding crossbreed dogs is that buying a crossbreed supports the puppy mill industry. Good AKC (American Kennel Club) breeders do not breed designer dogs because these dogs are not recognized by the AKC. However, there is a growing demand for these crossbreeds. So where do they come from? They come from "backyard breeders" and puppy mills. Neither of those two sources is breeding for the betterment of dogs. There are now over 350 crossbreeds "recognized" by the ACHC or American Canine Hybrid Club. With 350 different types of crossbreeds which are NOT being bred by reputable AKC breeders, the only possibility is that the vast majority of these dogs are coming from puppy mills.

NOTE: The fact that the ACHC does not know that the word "hybrid" refers to the result of breeding two different SPECIES--not two different dogs--should make you run in the opposite direction.

If you must have a hypoallergenic dog, consider one of the 43 AKC hypoallergenic breeds. They come in all sizes. With a little research and visits to breeders to check on temperament, you will find a breed to meet your family needs. If buying from a breeder is not financially feasible, ask about their "pet quality" pups or any older dogs they are retiring. Know that breed rescues exist for literally all AKC breeds, so this might be an option. In addition, 25% of animal shelter dogs are purebred, so if you are willing to be patient, your perfect dog may arrive at the shelter. Stay in touch with all of the local rescue groups. They often get purebred dogs.

With so many options available for a purebred hypoallergenic dog, there is no reason to even think about a designer dog. No matter how cute they may be, you cannot guarantee they are hypoallergenic; and you NEVER want to support the puppy mill industry!

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