DESIGNER DOGS? BUYER BE AWARE! by Maggie Blutreich, CPDT
What most of us fail to remember from our sixth grade science classes are the plant breeding results of the good monk, Gregor Mendel. Quite simply put, when one crosses two breeds, the results are never an even mixture. There are dominant and recessive traits. These formulae and resultant percentages are located in every basic textbook. The Mendellian Law of Inheritance is worth consideration. Heres an example. If one breeds a pure bred Labrador Retriever to a pure bred Standard Poodle, the only certain thing about the offspring is that they can be marketed for sale as Labradoodles. The puppies may have smooth Labrador coats or curly Poodle fur. None of the offspring can be touted as hypoallergenic, friendly, intelligent, or anything else other than what we all know to be true, all puppies are really cute. Another absolute about this example or any other crossing between pure bred dogs is that the offspring will have health and temperament issues similar to their parents, but in the dominant/recessive percentages mentioned earlier. If both parents are fear biters who also suffer from hip dysplaysia, the puppies will still be really cute until those traits manifest. It is vital to ascertain whether those who market these designer dogs conduct extensive health and temperament testing on sires and dams.
One fascinating book is How to Breed Dogs by Leon F. Whitney, DVM, in which he cites results from breed crossings. The book first came out in 1937, which tells us something about factual research versus commercial marketing. (I have a revised, updated 1971 edition.)
Another point to consider is how the designer dog breeders come by those original pure bred sires and dams. Would reputable, ethical dog breeders knowingly permit excellent specimens of their breed to be used in these commercial enterprises? If that answer is no, we can assume that the designer dogs sires and dams are perhaps mediocre at best. When there is a demand for mediocrity to supply a passing fad, the losers are the uninformed buyers and the dogs themselves.