Posts Tagged ‘designer dogs’

talking points

This came from an evil crossbreeder.

The AKC’s now recognizes that its biggest threat are the intentionally bred crossbreeds, which are, unfortunately, called “designer dogs.”

Are these crosses being mass produced on puppy farms? Yes.

Are breeder making fantastic claims about them? Yes.

Are they inherently evil because they are crossbred? No.

Crossbreeding dogs is not inherently unethical, but it comes up against a fundamentalist religion in dogs. This is the religion of the fancy, which has as its number one command “Thou shalt not cross breeds. Breeds are like species.”

The AKC is very much threatened by these crosses, which are taking away a huge share of the market for them.

The American people have never really believed that these multi-breed registries really represent our values as country. And now that we are the only industrialized nation outside of South Africa, South Korea, and Japan with a non-Caucasian head of state (who was elected with majorities both times), I don’t think the average American accept the tenants of blood purity for people or for dogs.

People are questioning many things that were once believed to be true:

Should marijuana be illegal like cocaine and heroin?

Should marriage be allowed between people of the same sex?

Should women be paid equal to men?

These questions are running rampant in the body politic right now, and I can tell you it wasn’t so long ago–ten years to be precisely– that these issues were not discussed at all.

Now they are.

And if we’re questioning these values, it’s not really hard to see that Americans are question something as silly and oddly foreign as the institutionalized dog fancy.

These institutions were not created for a country with very strong democratic institutions. They were created largely by Tory elitists in England and then grafted onto the United States, which has never accepted truly accepted the dog fancy as most of Europe has. I don’t think such an institution could last long in a country that elected a Barack Obama.

The United States doesn’t have the strongest democratic institutions in the world, but it has always had a very strong egalitarian spirit that sometimes comes bubbling up when people least expect it. One of the great paradoxes of this country is that even though we have a lot of inequality, we are somewhat embarrassed by it, which is probably why we don’t talk about it very much.

The dog fancy that the AKC works for is not an egalitarian organization at all. It is openly elitist. At the major dog shows, the dogs that tend to win are those that are professionally handled, which means that their owners are rich enough to hire someone to show their dogs for them. How many breeder-owner-handlers do you see when Westminster is on television?

So the AKC is now reduced to talking points on “designer dogs”  in much the same way anti-gay activists are on the issue of marriage equality.

The American people are rejecting the product the AKC is selling– not only because it is elitist and caught up in a faith-based position on blood purity– but because the dogs it is producing aren’t what people actually want.

People love Labradors.

But they also like Benji.

And they would like it if their Labradors didn’t shed so much.

Wait, there is a Benji-type Labrador cross that doesn’t shed as much as a pure Labrador?

Where do I get this amazing creature?!

Not the AKC, I can tell you that!

And that is why the AKC is in panic mode.

Now, I’m not a big fan of the doodles myself. The big reason is that I really don’t like the poodle coat, and as someone who keeps clean-shaven, I am not a big fan of beards.

If we were going to cross a Labrador with something, why not a golden retriever or a Chesapeake?

But one thing that that these doodles and other intentionally-bred crosses have done is that they have caused people to question the blood purity religion.

And yes, there are charlatans breeding doodles left and right.

But you really don’t have room to criticize these people when you keep bulldogs and Neapolitan mastiffs in your registry, and many of those dogs are being bred by absolute moonbats of the worst order.

A registry that would celebrate the rolling cushion of a dog known as the pekingese as the epitome of canine soundness has very little moral authority indeed.

The problems with all the “designer dogs” certainly do need to be corrected.

But I don’t reject them outright.

To reject them outright is to deny innovation in dogs. It is to accept on faith alone that blood purity is a virtue that must never be compromised.

And I don’t accept it.

I don’t think anyone with even a high school understanding of population genetics ever could– but you’d be surprised.

This is the big religion in dogs, and now it’s under assault.

It may be for very superficial reasons, but it is under assault.

And the AKC is totally caught flat-footed.

Talking points aren’t going to save it, and I must confess I’ve heard them all before.

They all amount to a dog fancy equivalent of a Gish Gallop, including misrepresenting a study on whether purebred dogs are healthier than mixes. (See Christopher Landauer’s (Border Wars) attack on this misrepresentation in the comments!).

The dog fancy is on its knees.

A country that now wants marijuana legalized is fine with Labradoodles.

And the AKC cannot handle it.

Don't hate me because I'm crossbred.

Don’t hate me because I’m crossbred.

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The cute puppies are…

Source for image.

These pups are Pyrdoodles, Great Pyrenees crossed with poodles.

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This dog is a Scolden terrier.

Half Scottish terrier/half golden retriever.

I told you it was a bizarre cross.  Some of you got close.

Here are some more photos.

Many of you may not be aware that Scottish terriers also come in cream color, which is referred to as wheaten (not “Wheaton.”) We generally tend to think of Scottish terriers as black or very dark brindle dogs.

It is an e/e yellow to red color, so it is possible to get yellow puppies out of this cross.

I don’t know why anyone would cross these two breeds. Both are fairly cancer-ridden, and Scottish terriers have a very different utility from golden retrievers.

I wonder how much one of these dogs costs.

My guess is that is far more than one would spend for the exact same cross at an animal shelter.

However, the designer dog phenomenon is a major pressure on the dog fancy. People are letting their imaginations run wild.

A lot of it is nothing more than avarice and the caprices of a fickle market.

But some of it might actually lead to some reforms in the greater fancy.

The market share that goes to these dogs takes money away from the established registries.

I’d like to have a rational discussion about these dogs that is free of the general  accusations that both sides tend to throw at each other.

You know my prejudice. I’m in favor of open registries. I am uncomfortable with the ideal of blood purity for blood purity’s sake. It seems to me a bit antiquated, and in the long run, it is going to be very harmful to domestic dogs as a species.

But I’m not so sure breeding Scottish terriers to golden retrievers is helping my case.

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I like both standard poodles and boxers, so my guess is this mix makes a really a good dog. I can’t imagine what sort of characteristics they would have, but my guess is they will be closer to the boxer than the poodle in temperament, which means that they are probably very silly dogs.

I’m generally cynical about designer dogs, but I think I may have had the non-shaggy version of this cross.

(That was the “golden boxer.” This dog was free when she was born to my golden retriever, but today this particular cross is a heavily promoted “designer dog.”)

Whatever you feel about designer dogs, I think they can give us some insight into what makes a purebred dog or a dog of a specific type what it is. Of course, boxers and poodles don’t have the history that poodles, retrievers, water spaniels, and water dogs have.

Poodles are, of course, ancestral water dogs, most likely derived from herding dogs, while boxers are derived from the Medieval alaunt de boucherie. They have been separate strains for a very long time.

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goldendoodle white

For the past five or ten years, a new fad dog has appeared on the scene.

I first heard of them in Bruce Fogle’s Encyclopedia of the Dog. That book had a section on what are now called “designer dogs.” Among them was a specially bred guide dog called a “Labradoodle.” It turns out that an Australian guide dog agency wanted to produced a guide dog that was hypoallergenic (which, of course, don’t exist).

Now, they could have used standard poodles, but I’m sure they already had a specially bred Labrador line for this work. Add a little standard poodle, the argument went, and you’d create a super guide dog that would not bother the visually impaired who also had allergies to dogs. (Today, there is actually a particular strain called an “Australian Labradoodle” that has other breeds crossed into it.)

Of course, it didn’t take long for people to start cross-breeding Labs and standard poodles in this country. And then it was just a slight jump to start crossing goldens and poodles. Because a lot of working strain goldens were deemed “pet quality,” I’m sure that lots of them wound up in the doodle breeding programs.  That was not a very good thing for working strain goldens, which already have some issues with genetic diversity.  If you want to know where many of the working-type goldens went, I’d look no further than the goldendoodles.

These dogs have been popular for a time, and because too many of them have been bred by people who have very little concern for health, the genetic conditions of both goldens and poodles have popped up in these dogs. Aggression issues that pop up in goldens also exist in goldendoodles.

In the next few years, the market for doodles is likely to get saturated. I would say that in the next ten years, there won’t be as many doodles as there are now. They are likely to follow the cock-a-poo or cockerpoo, which was the first “designer dog.” The fad will slowly fade, and the new “in” dog will be something else.

But what will happen to the lines of retriever that disappeared into the doodles?

Well, they will be gone.

I am not opposed to cross-breeding these dogs to make pets.

However, these dogs were never going to replace the purebred dogs.

I don’t think this fad has that much staying power.

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In all of this talk about outcrosses, I should put a caveat here. Do not assume that all outcrosses are intelligent. Any outcross that introduces bad genes into the line that weren’t there before is a stupid outcross.

Consider my late mutt, the “golden boxer.”


This dog came from a line of goldens that really didn’t have early death from cancer as part of their genetic disorders. Cancer did exist, but for a show line of goldens, her dam was a healthy dog.

Her sire was a brindle boxer belonging to the neighbors. He was a sneak of all sneaks. He would even sneak into areas in people’s houses to mate the bitches. This was in a very rural area, where there is no leash law.

The puppies that were born to this mating were all black. Some had a bronze tinge to the coat.

As a dog she was a good dog. She was not as easily trained as a retriever, but she wasn’t as stubborn as a boxer. She was moderately dog aggressive, but nothing like the dog aggression seen in some boxers. She could learn to get along with other dogs, but it took her some time to get used to them.

She was undocked, and her tail was long and whip-like. She would wag this tail very hard, often in a recumbent position. On my parents’ hardwood floors this sounded like a hammer banging on the floor.

She had no retrieving instinct (her mother didn’t either). She had too much muscle and bone to swim efficiently.

She was useless as a retriever.

One thing she was good at, though, was skunk hunting. The only dog I’ve ever had that loved to kill skunks. It didn’t matter if she got sprayed down with skunk musk, she would attack any skunk she saw.

If you hated skunks for some reason, she would have been a useful skunk hound.

She was euthanized last March after a short bout with osteosarcoma. None of our goldens ever got this cancer, but her father’s line of boxers carried this gene.

If she had been used as an intelligent outcross, she would have introduced that gene into her progeny, and it would have been a bad move. Goldens are one of the breeds that gets osteosarcoma, and they don’t need boxer genes that double up on those cancers.

Interestingly, I got this dog for free. Today, this is a designer breed that sells for several hundred or more dollars. I had a unique dog, because she was a black one. Most of the designer golden boxers I’ve seen are derived frm fawn boxers and are either fawn or brindle in color.

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