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Labradoodle Pioneer Regrets Fashioning 'Designer Dog'

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Unfortunately, there's still entirely too many idiots paying top dollar for "designer" mutts.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/02/la...dog/?test=faces

 

THE man who bred the first labradoodle - and in the process made the mutt a desirable accessory - says it's the great regret of his life.

 

The coveted accessory has pushed out other breeds in terms of desirability.

 

Wally Conran, 81, coined the term labradoodle in 1988, when he was the manager of the puppy program at the Royal Institute of the Blind.

 

He received a letter from a woman in Hawaii who needed a seeing eye dog, but her husband had allergies. She wanted a dog that would not shed hair.

 

Mr Conran crossed two popular pedigree dogs: a labrador from breeding stock at the institute and a poodle owned by his boss to create the labradoodle.

 

The puppies were supposed to have the best traits of both dogs: the affable, controllable nature of the labrador, and the curly, non-shedding coat of the poodle.

 

"But now when people ask me, `Did you breed the first one', I have to say, `Yes, I did, but it's not something I'm proud of'," Mr Conran said.

 

"I wish I could turn the clock back."

 

The labradoodle is now recognized as the first of the so-called "designer dogs", selling for more than $1000 a puppy. In essence, it is a mutt, or mongrel, yet it has raced ahead of pedigrees in terms of price and desirability.

 

Some pet shops report mongrels outselling pure-breds three to one, despite the high price of both.

<snip>

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Whenever anyone says they have an "XYZ" designer breed I just shake my head.

 

Why in the heck don't they just visit their local shelter and adopt a dog that really needs a home? :rolleyes:

 

I don't think I'll ever get it.

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I'm a little perplexed by the whole "pure bred with papers" thing...especially when it leads to overbreeding for traits desireable in shows. My mom-in-law is incredibly snooty about having pure bred dogs and was totally gobsmaked when we adopted a shelter mutt.

I think the "designer breed" phenomena shares some that snootiness and is lesser for it. People have always bred animals to bring out desirable traits. BC's didn't just tumble forth fully formed, it took a while to get the smart, athletic dog we love. I really don't think we want a genetic "dead language" when it comes to our animals. Change can be good. I'm sure an affable dog that doesn't shed makes a great pet....I just don't like the get rich quick boutique marketing that surrounds them.

 

Full disclosure: Our designer dog Cerbie is a "Blab Up": a Border/Lab of Uncertain Pedigree.

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all the "doodle" breeds have been in shelter for years being but down. Now that DESIGNER is in the title people are wanting them all the sudden. That really hurts me and ticks me off.

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all the "doodle" breeds have been in shelter for years being but down. Now that DESIGNER is in the title people are wanting them all the sudden. That really hurts me and ticks me off.

And paying big bucks for them. I heard there is a breeder here that is getting $3200 for hers. Just think, you could live for a year on just one litter.

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all the "doodle" breeds have been in shelter for years being but down. Now that DESIGNER is in the title people are wanting them all the sudden. That really hurts me and ticks me off.

 

And in my experience, they're all neurotic, ill-trained and socially inept.

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And paying big bucks for them. I heard there is a breeder here that is getting $3200 for hers. Just think, you could live for a year on just one litter.

 

When I was a kid, we had a shepherd-pit mix. My parents should have called her a shepapittle and made big bucks off of her. Of course, this was long before the designer dog fad.

 

I can't imagine spending $3200 on a dog unless it was already pretrained and proven. Hell, Mick was $100 and Sinead was a freebie.

 

My mom spent $1000 on her GSD, and the higher drive puppies were $1500, but that's reasonable for German working line shepherd puppies.

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I don't get it either. It's a HUGE marketing success, really... being able to sell mixed-breed dogs for two or three times what either papered parent would go for. (Although maybe that in itself is a bit of a marketing ploy, as well, in certain hands.) Regardless, I just do not get it how everyone and their brother suddenly could charge these massive fees for what are (however nice the individual dogs may be) basically mutts.

 

Unfortunately there is a major "ka-ching!" factor in these dogs. I had a client a few years ago who had paid over $2000 for a labradoodle. She told me during the exam that she was going to get another one and breed labradoodles.

 

It took me a while to make her understand that if she wanted to breed labradoodles, she needed to get a lab and a poodle; the whole F1 cross and independant assortment of genes thing was a bit over her head. Eventually, however, I got through to her that two F1 crosses when bred together would NOT produce a uniform puppy crop that all resembled the F1's. She was pretty disappointed to hear that. She DID, however, decide not to breed labradoodles, which was the most important part of that communication.

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I don't get it for other reasons.

 

F1 crosses are a proven great idea. I just spent a lot of time looking at f1 horses - in particular Welsh D crosses. I have worked with F1 cattle for years and they make up a heavy portion of our beef industry. I deliberately breed F1 sheep. The hybrid vigour of the cross between 2 genepools is amazing. the F2 cross of the F1 Scottish Mule (BlueFace x Scottish Blackface) to the Texal is a great market lamb.

 

The IF, is if you use good parent stock. But just like in how they buy "pure"breds, people don't bother to find good parent stock.

 

The problem _again_ is stupid purchasers rewarding poor quality producers. They they go on...this is sounding familiar...to breed their un-s/n puchases for the next generation. I daresay the F1 lab/dood crosses are no less inconsistant than the poorly planned BC crosses.

 

There is nothing wrong with what the originator of this F1 did. The problem was that the public "bought" the idea, where they never did the Golador (golden/lab) of another guide association. And then you had unscrupulous people breeding what the market was willing to buy.

 

so in the end, if fault is to be laid it's with the breeders of the purebreds who did not control their pup's reproductive futures, and with the public who thought to make a buck with a popular animal.

 

IF I was looking for a large retrieving type dog for a family pet I would buy a well bred Labradoodle out of quality parentage before I would bother with a pure of either parent breed. I would want hybrid vigour to add to the quality parentage to give me the potential of a longer lived, healthier dog than either purebred could offer me.

 

Otoh, I wouldn't pay more for a pup of the cross than I would for a purebred pup from the parent's lines. Hmmm...for a poodle that could be 2K...maybe the doodle people are more on the money LOL...than we think.

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All you need to do is view kijjii or craigslist to see the number of people breeding - puggles, shi-poos or asking for a nice stud for their cute pompoo...or WHATEVER....and they are charging and receiving hundreds of dollars for them. Unfortunately in our area there are now 'breeders' (GAG!!) with kennels full of these mixed breeds.

People see EASY money in breeding these dogs......blah......in the meantime shelters are full of dogs needing homes and being put down instead.....sigh.....

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Hmmmm...I just can't see paying thousands, period, for a family pet. A working dog, sure. But a family pet? Rescue or the shelter should suit just fine. JMO.

 

J.

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Well, let's see... My Border Collie. (Well, I think she's all Border Collie :rolleyes: ) Cost me... $200.00 adoption fee, and roughly $1,000.00 getting her spayed, over kennel cough and giardia (two courses of meds and two trips to the vet for those), heartworm testing, bloodwork, worming, a microchip and vaccinations.

 

I reckon I got a bargain...

 

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Hmmmm...I just can't see paying thousands, period, for a family pet. A working dog, sure. But a family pet? Rescue or the shelter should suit just fine. JMO.

 

J.

 

That's not really fair. If someone has the income to pay and would like a purebred or F1 dog as a family pet that's their decision and should carry no moral stigma in itself. A family wanting a pet deserves to have the dog of their dreams (providing it is to the benefit of the dog as well as them) just as much as a working home does.

 

Now *where* they choose to purchase/adopt...that could have moral and ethical implication...as I'm sure we agree that there are both good and bad breeders and rescuers out there.

 

To take this fully back to the LabraD conversation I just don't see the problem being the actually cross. The problem is the public's willingness to buy poor quality version of this cross and reward bad breeders with cash. what do we do about that?

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And in my experience, they're all neurotic, ill-trained and socially inept.

 

I will have to disagree with this statement. I know one that is a service dog to a little girl with cerebral palsy and he is a wonderful dog. I just don't think you can say "all".

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That's not really fair. If someone has the income to pay and would like a purebred or F1 dog as a family pet that's their decision and should carry no moral stigma in itself. A family wanting a pet deserves to have the dog of their dreams (providing it is to the benefit of the dog as well as them) just as much as a working home does.

 

It's not about moral judgment or I wouldn't have mentioned rescue. Sure if you've got money you should be allowed to spend it on whatever you want, but it seems to me that if you want a *mix* there's no real need to pay thousands for one. The same would hold true for purebreds. There's plenty of those in rescue too. In my Pollyanna world, I would like to see people *think* about the implications of where they spend their money, however much they choose to spend.

 

Now *where* they choose to purchase/adopt...that could have moral and ethical implication...as I'm sure we agree that there are both good and bad breeders and rescuers out there.

 

Agreed.

 

To take this fully back to the LabraD conversation I just don't see the problem being the actually cross. The problem is the public's willingness to buy poor quality version of this cross and reward bad breeders with cash. what do we do about that?

And that is the HUGE crux of the problem. There's no reason for any F1 cross to command thousands of dollars. While I agree that if someone has the money they shouldn't be constrained from buying what they want, ISTM that people could educate themselves a little better and maybe spend their scads of money more wisely. That's not really application of a moral stigma either: it's about good common sense.

 

The puppy mill that was busted near here produced Italian greyhounds, among other breeds. Those dogs will be coming up for adoption soon. If I wanted a pocket pet, I'd be perfectly happy with a rescue version, and then the money I saved could go to other things or causes, and I certainly wouldn't be lining the pockets of unscrupulous breeders. If saying such things is putting some sort of moral stigma on the folks who simply had to buy (and pay lots of $$ for) the puppies such people produced, then so be it. If people would think and educate themselves, such breeders would exist on a much smaller scale, and that would be a good thing.

 

J.

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good and bad in everything. as much as I hate the concept of designer breeding, but I have to admit, whoever is breeding all the golden and Labradoodles around here is doing a pretty good job, considering we get quite a lot in and 100% of them are in or have been to obedience classes, are spayed/neutered and eating grain free or raw. I dont see the point of the mix at all, or why anyone would pay so much for a mutt, but apperntly there are "responsable" designer mutt breeders out there lol. I cannot say thge same for any of the other 5000 designer mutts though...I have only seen this with the lab and Goldendoodles.

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I will have to disagree with this statement. I know one that is a service dog to a little girl with cerebral palsy and he is a wonderful dog. I just don't think you can say "all".

 

I've also met several in service work and they are wonderful dogs. As with any "breed", what you see with the general public is not typically the dog's fault.

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What I have always found so sad about the whole doodle story is that the whole reason for the first ones is forgotten, that you could have service dogs for people who were allergic to a regular coat, when I first read about the dogs it was my understanding that he was trying to create a solid breed not just the F1 cross. In principle there should be no reason why you could not do this as all breeds have been created for specific purposes some like the doberman are well documented. So why not a hypo-allergenic service dog.

Of course we all know the end of the story the designer mutt, that command very high prices.

And I have to add my 2 cents I have also met some very nice labradoodles, both who belong to friends and just random meets when out walking and have not experienced any that are particularly neurotic.

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That's not really fair. If someone has the income to pay and would like a purebred or F1 dog as a family pet that's their decision and should carry no moral stigma in itself...

 

I think wasteful spending should have a moral stigma - maybe if it did, we wouldn't be in this ridiculous financial crisis we're in. I'm working in a school system where we've already been devastated by five years of budget cuts, and now we're about to lose 30 - 40 more teachers. This in a decently affluent, professionally-populated suburb, not in some inner-city mess. People who bought what they could afford over the last ten years (me) have seen their lives disrupted by people who "needed" to obtain what they could NOT afford. There are giant ethical ripples that flow from an entire society where people are spending money on valueless status symbols. Maybe if the collective families of my school district had invested in shelter dogs rather than designer mutts - and the equivalent cars, TVs, and vacations - we wouldn't be dismantling the music program and overcrowding second-grade classrooms.

 

When you can get exactly the same quality dog at a shelter for $200 or less (including spay or neuter, as I did with Buddy), then spending $1,000 or $2,000 on another dog with dubious credentials is foolish and potentially harmful to your family. In the bigger and more important moral picture, it's the reason that shelters turn into euthanasia camps while unethical breeders profit from abuse. Personal decisions affect more than our personal lives. I really do believe we have a moral obligation to research our options and take the time to think about how we spend our money.

 

Mary

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What I have always found so sad about the whole doodle story is that the whole reason for the first ones is forgotten, that you could have service dogs for people who were allergic to a regular coat, when I first read about the dogs it was my understanding that he was trying to create a solid breed not just the F1 cross. In principle there should be no reason why you could not do this as all breeds have been created for specific purposes some like the doberman are well documented. So why not a hypo-allergenic service dog.

Of course we all know the end of the story the designer mutt, that command very high prices.

And I have to add my 2 cents I have also met some very nice labradoodles, both who belong to friends and just random meets when out walking and have not experienced any that are particularly neurotic.

 

 

While I understand the reasoning behind the labradoodle, I'm still not sure why they just didn't decide to use standard poodles for a hypoallergenic SD. Steady, smart, outgoing dog. You could breed your own line (much like SD schools do now with labs).

 

And while I personally wouldn't go to a breeder for a family pet, I certainly don't begrudge those who go to an ethical breeder to get a pet. Sometimes they just want a dog from a known temperament and background.

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While I understand the reasoning behind the labradoodle, I'm still not sure why they just didn't decide to use standard poodles for a hypoallergenic SD. Steady, smart, outgoing dog. You could breed your own line (much like SD schools do now with labs).

 

It is a good point, but I have never seen a poodle guide dog for the blind which is what the labradoodle was bred for... I have googled poodle and guide dog and they are out there, there has to be a reason why the main guide dog groups use labs more than any other breed.

 

Edited to add this link which was written by the orginal breeder and explains the reasons for the cross and the name.

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It could just be that the grooming requirements for a poodle aren't desirable. While the dog is being groomed, the person who relies on it is without the needed help. I'm just guessing of course, but I would think minimal grooming requirements would be desirable in an assistance dog.

 

J.

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I wondered about using nice standard poodles as service dogs as well. When I had a goldendoodle service-dog-in-training staying with me for several months his grooming requirements were massive! I talked to some groomer friends of mine and they said that the doodles had rougher grooming and maintenance issues than poodles (except the extreme show coated poodles). Partly because the doodle cut is longer than the poodle and the hair tangles and mats and collects crap from the yard like crazy! You also keep their feet hairy (not clean clipped poodle feet) and they track in tons of dirt and mud. It took me longer to get him presentable to go to stores than the time we were in the stores! I couldn't imagine trying to keep him "store clean and brushed" all the time.

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It could just be that the grooming requirements for a poodle aren't desirable. While the dog is being groomed, the person who relies on it is without the needed help. I'm just guessing of course, but I would think minimal grooming requirements would be desirable in an assistance dog.

 

J.

 

The whole advantage to the doodle dog is essentially the same as a poodle - no shed coat coat to minimize allergy issues. You still have the very curly, no shed coat. And both breeds will need professional grooming about every 4-5 weeks to keep their coat clean and short enough not to mat with a harness.

 

Paws for a Cause, a SD organization here in MI, does use standard poodles for SDs. But I was told by a person who works for them that Labs still have the overall easiest coat for a disabled person to care for.

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