A walk in the park can be a confusing pursuit these days for dog friendly people and observers in general. There was a time when one’s pet was a ‘thoroughbred’ or a common cur, a mixture of breeds that was an occurrence in nature, and sometimes an accident when ones’ pet escaped during its season. Presently there seems to be a virtual explosion of ‘designer dogs’ where-ever we go.
Originally, man’s best friend was genetically engineered through selective breeding to produce the fastest running dogs, brave hunting dogs that would plunge into thickets and rivers fearlessly in pursuit of downed prey, and then there were the guard dogs bred for their unwelcoming demeanour, and so many more interesting creations; Beagles, Jack Russell’s’ etc. The pure breeding of dogs, with the encouragement of The Kennel Club produced a lucrative spin off, an industry indeed, whose purpose in life was to ‘improve’ the look of the animal even at the cost of the animal’s own health; Bulldogs that cannot breathe, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers whose rear legs and hips collapse in later life. There are many tales of adapted dogs that were changed from their natural state, including removal of the waggy tails of some breeds.
So what is a designer dog? A designer dog is a cross bred that has been deliberately engineered to produce a hybrid that is acceptable for whatever reason. Not all designer dogs are bred simply for appearance, seemingly the movement started with the aim of creating non allergenic dogs, the Labradoodle is a cross breed of a Labrador, Britain’s favourite dog, and a Poodle, the offspring having a coat that does not shed hair/dust etc. that can affect people with breathing conditions. The Kennel Club are apparently sniffy about allowing designer dogs into Crufts, which seems a bit harsh as some of the created dogs are quite bonny and very friendly. Thankfully, tails are no longer docked so much, leaving many breeds with something to show how happy they are – to still have a tail.
The list of designer dogs seems to grow daily; Cockapoos, Goldendoodles, Puggles, Yorkipoos, Schnoodles, and Cheeks to name but a few. Doubtless there are many more varieties still being designed. One just hopes that some compassion, common sense, and love of animals is being shown in selective breeding to the benefit of the dogs as well as their eventual owners. Just as people breed sensibly there will be some who are less interested in animal welfare and more interested in money, plus those who will cross breed dangerous animals for all the wrong reasons.
For people wishing to obtain a nice pet and like the look of one of the designer dogs, save yourself a lot of unhappiness, check out the breeder – avoid puppy farms, and make sure that the animal is Vet checked before you buy.
A dog truly can be a man, woman, and child’s best friend, and a fine companion that is non-judgemental, always happy to see you and will keep the waist line in trim.
Now then, shall we have a Labradoodle, or a GermanShedoodle, maybe a Pomayorkie…?