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Designer Breeds: Everything you Need to Know


puppy-1472085_960_720-1A growing subset of dog breeds is the so-called “designer dog,” which comprises a mix of two popular breeds.  A recent trend, for instance, is to mix everything with a poodle, to produce some sort of “doodle” dog.  The pros, cons, and a few common designer breeds are discussed.

Benefits of Owning a Designer Dog
Designer dogs are “in” right now, which means there is more of a supply than ever before.  Options for choosing your dog are diverse, and designer breeds are certainly adorable.  In some instances, a designer dog may cause fewer health problems for someone who experiences allergies.  Additionally, diversity of the dog’s gene pool likely means a healthier animal, as the risk of genetic disease is significantly lower in mixed breeds.

Disadvantages of Designer Dogs
The disadvantages of designer dogs are equally numerous.  There is less controllability in the genetics of a mixed breed dog.  For instance, “doodles” are often touted as hypoallergenic.  However, each dog in a litter will receive a mix of its parent’s genetics, and there is no way to guarantee that the hypoallergenic properties of the poodle are passed to a puppy when these bloodlines are mixed.  The same is true for temperament.  Although breeders might lead you to believe otherwise, no two puppies in a mixed breed litter will be behave the same.  Finally, one of the biggest downfalls of purchasing a designer breed is the price.  Thanks to their popularity, most designer dogs fetch a fee of $1,500 – $3,000.

Breeding Designer Dogs
The ethics of breeding these animals have also come into question.  Ethical breeders choose to produce offspring in order to improve the bloodlines of a specific breed.  Unless the dog is to be used for show, potential owners typically must agree to spay or neuter their dog.  Few breeders exist who would sell a dog to be used to create mutts.  For this reason, many designer dogs are being produced by backyard breeders who have little to no experience in mating dogs for temperament, conformation, or genetic soundness.  When a designer breed becomes particularly popular (particularly anything “doodle”) the incidence of puppy mills increases.

Common Designer Breeds

A common mix is a Labradoodle, which combines the Labrador Retriever with a Poodle.  These dogs are often touted as being docile, good with children, and hypoallergenic.  However, if the dog receives more Poodle genes than Lab, high strung and standoffish behavior is possible.

A Puggle is a mix between a Beagle and a Pug.  This crossing can be beneficial, because the introduction of long-nosed Beagle genetics can overcome common health problems associated with the Pug, such as exercise intolerance.

Gerberian Shepsky
A cross between German Shepherd and Siberian Husky creates the Gerberian Shepsky.  While beautiful, potential owners should beware of claims that this breed is low-shedding.

Ultimately, people who are interested in designer dogs should avoid claims that sound too good to be true.  Understand there are no guarantees that a pet may be hypoallergenic, as humans are often allergic to pet dander or saliva; not just the fur.  Also be wary of any crossbred that is “guaranteed” to have a designated personality, as this aspect is much harder to control among mixes.  Above all, be sure you are purchasing your designer dog from a reputable breeder; not a puppy mill or backyard operation.


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Anna Weber

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