Saturday, 18 April 2009

Designer Dogs

A bit of a rant here about people and designer bred dogs. Cats are not quite as exploited. While there is bad breeding going on with cats just as there is with dogs, there is not the amount of crosses (pedigrees)and health mutations that there is with dogs. Dogs appear to mutate easier than cats. Also the Fédération Internationale Féline d’Europe (FIFE) are, l understand, a lot stricter than the kennel club on breeding standards.

People have become obsessed with having fancier and fancier names for dog breeds, damm the temperament and health implications. They are getting bored with the well known pedigrees around. They want designer breeds with fancy names, so that they can show off. This has brought about the situation nowadays where you cross breed 2 different pedigree dogs and merge their names into one. And the beauty of it for breeders is they can invent whatever name they want and do not have any breed standards to stick to. These cross breeds regulaly change hands for upwards of £500 often more than the standard pedigrees.

While l am always quoting “a pedigree is a mongrel that breeds true”. It is also true that if you breed two pedigrees that doe’s not mean you get a healthy ‘purebred’ mongrel pup. You stand a risk of just wrapping the worst of both of those lines with each other and going from horrible inherited diseases to god-awful inherited diseases.

One of the common things that is done is to cross a poodle which doesn’t shed hair with another breed. This is sold as a non hair shedding breed, no proof that the genetics to stop hair shedding will cross over but by the time people realise it is too late.

Crossing a yorkie with another breed does not mean that the teeth will not be rotten, and still be falling out by the time the dog is 8years old.

The healthiest mongrels are generally those that have a totally unknown parentage you may guess parts but they are basically unknown. This doesn’t mean that they won’t get health problems, it is just a hell of a lot rarer. True unknown parentage mongrels are becoming rarer in the first world now where ‘pedigrees’ are gaining ground.

Insurance companies are now classing some of the designer cross breeds as ‘pedigree’ eg labradoodle. This is an insurance definition as a pedigree by kennel club standards has to have ‘bred true’ for at least 100 years.

Insurance standards of pedigree, means that they fall into various risk classes. In the labradoodle case it is hip dysplasia, they are also high in the temperament problem stakes. Many get referred to behaviourists. People don't realise they're getting a very intelligent, big, active dog and most labradoodle owners seem to be first time dog owners too.

Another behaviourist visitor is cockies or Border collie x Cocker Spaniels, pretty highly strung and very uncertain temperaments. Border collies top the behaviourist’s charts on polls. They are unsuited to town life unless they can run themselves stupid and are very intelligent as well so need lots of mental stimulation. Yet they are expected to live like a family pet. Their herder instincts to nip heels become more vicious as it is not channelled into the work they were bred for, by people that do not understand the breed.
Cocker spaniels again not to high in the good temperament stakes especially golden’s. Cocker rage is a well recognised problem but the root cause is unknown. While it can affect all the colours it seems predominant in golden’s.

Pomchi - these were all the rage a couple of years back. Pomeranian x Chihuahua were changing hands at around a £1000. Their temperament was nasty to say the least.

Rottakitas, Rottweiler’s cross Akita’s my god that is insane, l do not want to handle these thank you. Akita’s need careful owners as do Rottweiler’s. Needles to say all too often they do not get it but to mix the 2 is asking for a problem breed, and people think pitbulls are dangerous.

Springador these seem to be popular with gamekeepers. The problem’s become apparent when this active working breed, bred specifically to work ends up in a pet home without the necessary stimulation.

I have put a few here that have been sold as ‘breeds’ you can try and work out the parentage: whipbull, yorkiepoo, sprollie, springerdor, cockalier, cockapoo, yorkadale, yorhua, cockerschon, shorkiepoo, sprocker, shichon, jug, grippit.

To find out what the known inherited problems are in some of the top ‘normal’ breeds, as opposed to designer breeds this site Inherited diseases in dogs database will give you a clue. The site is being constantly updated as more inherited diseases become acknowledged. Now consider what may happen if 2 breeds are interbreed.

Finally to bring a bit of humour into a serious subject

What do you get if you cross a Leonberger with a Shih Tzu?

A shihberger

What do you get if you cross a Jack Russell terrier with a Shih Tzu?



joker the lurcher said...

well mrs vetnurse, i couldn't agree more. my parentage is from 3 noble breeds, and young dave's parents were both lurchers so his geneology is uncertain, save to say there is a lot of muttishness in his make-up.

and i think you will have to agree that you couldn't find 2 more handsome chaps...

joker the lurcher

Vetnurse said...

Absolutely Joker, nor a more cast iron stomach that is found in young Dave with his penchant for rotted dead seagulls :-D

Blogmaster said...

I understand your article, and do agree with much of it. Unfortunately there are some breeders of mixed breed who make (in my opinion) false or inaccurate claims about the breed (egshed non shedding etc). Just about about breed (including poodles) shed to some extent. About the only breed that doesn't is a hairless dog which I think is from Asia. There is plenty of information and articles on the net about this, such as at Also, have a look at the article about hybrid vigor and inbreeding depression, which mixed breed like the Labradoodle benefit from.

Vetnurse said...

Hi BM and welcome. I did have a look at that hv and it appeared to me to be typical breeder bulls*it.
They are taking a principle and trying to justify it to their dogs, there is a shock with breeders.

Only person who l would believe over claims like that is David Sagan who IS a geneticist and is in charge of the Cambridge programme whose link l have posted.
Not someone making a living out of breeding and selling dogs that has perused the internet.

Only breeders l do have time for have to be top "sense" breeders. Dogs tested totally for all problems.
No history of hd or any other problems in their lines. And if it appears remove the dogs and bitches from breeding.
Sell vaccinated dogs
With insurance preferably pet plan+.
Give sensible advice.
Check homes before sales+ but if not check must quiz potential buyers very hard.
Have a random check home policy with agreement to remove those kept unsuitably (yes it happens) Full worming history mum and pups, properly fed and advice passed on, Insist on neutering before papers passed over+.
Bitches rested well between litters and they only have occasional litters.
Do not re breed from eclampsia bitches or put puppies back on them.
Do not breed to make money.
And a few other requirements, although the +points l am flexible over.
I am fussy but such people are out there and rare as hens teeth.

The breeder has just posted another version of the typical stuff that breeders pump out all the time either all or some of the following:
Do not vaccinate your puppy/kitten or only use homoeopathy vaccine. they do not need to watch the puppy die from especially parvo like the vet staff do, to the god-awful diets and ridiculous general care they say should be used. Will just add that hv to the list of typical breeder bulls*it.

Sage said...

One of my friends paid over £400 for a pugalier.. cross between a pug and a cavalier king charles.. (apologies but I have never been a bit fan of the squashed face of the pug type breeds) not only is it damn ugly having the characteristics of the pug on a cavalier style body, but it was brought for the 15 year old son who is not interested in training it and as a result it is a very bored 6 month old dog whose only aim is to get out and use his hormones to good intent... a disaster waiting to happen on all fronts.

cambstreasurer said...

Mastiff X staffordshire is another good one (not!) although one of the nicest dogs I've ever met was an imposing Rottie X GSD.

Auntie Jane said...

Good article... I couldn't agree more.

As you know, I have Border Collies. They have all been tested... had their Hips Scored, hearing tested and eye tested etc. All clear and very low hip scores.

I've had two litters from my Jade and booked most of the new owners before I even mated her. I also studied the pedigrees of the dogs I intended to use and checked out their temperament and test results

I wanted working homes... and got them. BCs and WSDs need training... Any sort of training. As you say, they get bored very quickly... They are just too intelligent. BCs/WSDs need experienced owners.

I have had my last two entire bitches spayed as these days there are so many BCs in rescue and needing homes. It breaks my heart.

I used to compete in Obedience and have worked sheep with a couple. I also used to judge Obedience so knew a lot of dog people.

I still know these people as I run email lists for competitive UK Obedience folks and Newbies in the sport/hobby.

But my health prevents me judging or competing nowadays, unfortunately. But I still train my dogs.

IMO, all working breeds of dogs need some kind of work. All dogs need some training, but it's the owners that need the training.

With all the info on the internet today, I can't understand why people still go out and spend pounds on totally the wrong sort of dog for their way of life.

Vetnurse said...

Hi Jane yup, that's why l made the point there is some people out there who do breed responsibly. I just wish that there was not the money to be made and the idiots out there would dissapear.

Agree it is the owners. As Sage said with her friends son, getting a dog for a child unless that child is very responsible should never be done.
And it sounds like this was a case of parents decided to use an animal to make son responsible which as you from what l read already have a typical teenager is a recipe for disaster and the animal will carry the can.

I can not believe that a 15year old male would want a dog like that have to say though, like you Sage l am not a flat faced breed fan.