This is another article where you say ‘Only in America!’ For a new craze has hit the States and it involves dogs, and designer dogs at that. So what is a designer dog? Well, it is not an ordinary mutt or cross breed where you do not know the heritage or parents of the dog. These dogs are typically bred on purpose and are sometimes referred to as ‘hybrid’ dogs, as they are a cross of two or more dog breeds which are typically chosen for their calm temperament, non-shedding qualities, or just plain old cuteness and charm. They are bred really to create a unique animal with a specific quality or a specific job to do.
It used to be the case that pedigree dogs were all the fashion, with people paying top dollar for the finest lineage going back the furthest, in an effort to secure the best of that breed. But now, as hybrids become more fashionable, people now pay the same if not more for a mixed breed designer dog. And breeders are matching the demand with some outrageous hybrids to appease their insistent clients. However, there are some advantages to owning a hybrid dog. They tend to be healthier than pedigree dogs because there is less chance of inbreeding and they can also have unique qualities. The labradoodle for example, has been crossed between a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle to create a hypoallergenic guide dog, which is perfect for people that need an intelligent assistance animal but are generally allergic to most dogs. Here is a short list of other designer dogs:
Cockapoo (bottom left) – Mixing a cross between a cocker spaniel with a poodle, the cockapoo has a lovely outgoing personality and cute looks which has increased its popularity in recent years.
Chi Poo (bottom right) – The Chi Poo is a mix of a toy poodle and Chihuahua which has created a very friendly, adorable Chi-Poo. A firm favourite we suspect of Paris Hilton.
Bullypit (top right) – An awful name for the American bulldog and American pit bull terrier crossbreed but these hybrids are renowned for their affection, intelligence, and loyalty and make great family dogs.
Puggle (top left) – A better thought up name for a mix between the pug and beagle. These dogs are social, laid back dogs that love to make you laugh making them another great family dog.
Despite the funny names and adorable qualities, these designer dogs are not easy to come by. You have to research the breeders and typically have a stash of money to pay for the dog, and that is if the mating is successful. Some people are tempted to go to puppy mills where the mothers have a terrible life, often traumatic to them and to their pups. This sort of life is not conducive to producing a happy pup as they are not allowed time to bond with the mother, or given the proper amount of exercise and nutrition they need and are kept in cages for most of their lives. This can create emotional and physical problems for the future. The other problem is that the breeders from puppy mills think nothing of shipping them long distances through any form of media such as the internet or newspaper and do not know who they are going to.
If you do choose to have a designer dog, pick a reputable breeder, see the puppies with the parents if possible or at least with the mother and do not buy one until it is at least 8-9 weeks old. The breeders should also have wormed your dog and provided it with its first inoculations. It is also important that that whatever dog you do choose fits in to your lifestyle and personality.