Designer Dog Breeds–Part 1

Certain breed crosses, especially between the Labrador Retriever and Poodle, are being touted as valuable, desirable, and expensive. You wouldn’t think that “expensive” should be a feature of any saleable product, but there is an appeal to the ego involved when it comes to these so-called designer dog breeds. The labradoodle is generally pictured as an adorable dog with the basic body structure of a Lab and the curly coat of a Poodle. There are many (including one of my Facebook friends) who assume that breeding a Lab to a Poodle will yield the combination of genes responsible for that specific look.

Now: the whole ugly, sordid truth. Breeding “designer dogs” is a business. These crosses have no more intrinsic value as canine specimens than the offspring of your Dalmatian who got caught by the neighbor’s Boxer. A mutt is a mutt; a cross-breed a cross-breed. Why? Because these combinations will not predictably breed true-to-type every time. More simply put: you never really know which characteristics from the Lab are going to come out in any given puppy, and which ones from the Poodle. So “breeders” (who do not deserve to be called such) usually keep for sale or breeding purposes the one or two from the litter that fit the profile, and many cull the rest. In other words, destroy them. This leads people to believe that a certain “look” will result every time, since these are the only dogs that ever make it into the public eye.

Regardless of the fact that both parents are AKC registered, a mixed-breed dog is not eligible for AKC registration, nor is it considered purebred. This holds true for the cockapoo, peekapoo, and all the other combo-named dogs.

Another important factor when considering one of these novelties is that, is order to get the look, the gene pool has been opened wide. An undesirable trait from one breed can combine with the same trait from the other, potentially doubling the chances of offspring getting such genetic diseases as hip dysplasia, subaortic stenosis, corneal dystrophy, or a myriad of other problems that translate to even more money spent, as well as an unhealthy pet.

Recently, I saw a photo on Facebook of a so-called “Pomsky.”This purported “breed” is a Pomeranian-Siberian cross. Now, each breed is prone to cataracts, so imagine the problem in doubling up on that gene! But of course the designer dog makers neither check for possible genetic faults or question what the doubling up of these genes might mean.

Reputable breeders always compensate for any expenses incurred due to a genetic defect in a puppy they sell. They are able to offer this because they have done their homework and removed from their breeding stock those animals that exhibit or carry a major faulty gene. Designer dog breeders, in it for the money alone, rarely do.

A coworker once bragged to me that her friend had just paid four thousand dollars for a rare, parti (not solid-colored) Poodle. Her plan was to breed this dog and make a lot of money. Imagine her surprise when I told her that parti-colored Poodles are disqualified from AKC competition, and have no value whatsoever beyond those abundant gifts that any shelter mutt can bring to its owner.

Before you throw away good money for one of these fancy Fidos, know that you are buying image only. You are much better off going to a reputable breeder (and I do not mean someone advertising in the newspaper). You can find one for whatever breed you have in mind through The American Kennel Club’s website, Or, of course, you might look into giving a shelter or rescue dog a second chance. Either way, you come out a winner.

Read “Designer Dogs–Part 2” on this site to see what the man who created the labradoodle thinks of his project now.


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10 Responses to Designer Dog Breeds–Part 1

  1. Dorota Bussey September 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Agree about the designer dogs. It’s unfair and unkind to play with their gene pools for money and ego.

  2. mary garrett September 22, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    how about a designer finnish spitz??? ones with a quieter bark???
    other than high, load and frequent barks — they are perfect anyway : )

    well, as i get older – smaller might be ok too

  3. Brenda Scully September 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Bette, kudos!!! How I wish people had a brain….Just like you said people spend thousands on “designer dogs” (mutts) and think nothing of it. Not to mention the thousands of people who purchase the family dog from a PET STORE even worse….expensive and unhealthy to say the least not knowing anything of the health of the parents who are obviosly puppy mill dogs and the worst part is they keep the puppy mill business alive with each and every purchase.

  4. Anita Thomas September 26, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    I had a Labradoodle show up at my handling class (it’s open to anyone). She wanted her dog to stop pulling on leash, which was an easy fix. In the meantime, she had much to say about how “great” her dog was, how much better than a purebred, how much healthier than a purebred…obviously repeating the spiel of her breeder. The dog was quite nice, more Poodle than Lab, no real structural problems, except for one thing. Overshot by a good inch. Oops.

  5. Carol Fischer September 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    So sad for the puppies that don’t achieve “designer” status. Are we really so shallow?

  6. Peggy Urton October 1, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    Amen, and AMEN!

  7. Heny Bevis October 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    People will do as they do but I have never liked these mixed breed dogs, cats, etc. I have always had dogs.
    Most of the time an English Pointer, and female mostly as they seem to be the best hunters. I guess that is the wild animal in them when hunting to feed their young. I don’t like the fact that the breeders kill the mixed breed pups. I have no problem with killing game, etc but just kill to do away with something is not my way of doing things.

  8. cyd s October 13, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    DESIGNER DOG BREEDS is full of good information.

  9. Crystal March 16, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    While most designer dogs are exactly what you said, recently Labradoodles have started to be more than a cross-breed. While they haven’t made themselves into a pure-breed state yet (creating breeds take time) the Labradoodle is the first of these “Designer” dogs to be able to breed two Labradoodles together to make a dog with a standard designed look. It will take time, but there may be a future as a pure breed that most of the cross-breeds do not. Until two cross-breeds can breed a generic described breed dog and the dogs always set a certain standard than they are mutts. Lovable Mutts. But Mutts. <3

    • Bette March 16, 2012 at 3:43 am #

      They have a long way to go before they are anything but a cross breed, though there is a possibility that, with diligence and care, they could someday be recognized as pure. Typically, those dogs that are “hand made” were created for a specific purpose not filled at the time by existing breeds. Visionaries took the best traits from several types of dogs and bred them into a new one. These mixes did not consistently breed true-to-type for many generations, and the same can be predicted for the Labradoodle. Subsequent breeedings will show recessive genes popping up all over the place and creating puppies far different from the established type.