Want a designer dog? Check the pound.

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Want a designer dog? Check the pound.

Postby ChrstnaLA » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:08 pm

At least someone in the media has their head on straight about this. It's about time! The article also mentions a talk show host in Chicago who just lost his Brittany.


Want a designer dog? Check the pound
Puggles, maltipoos are pricey — and essentially mixed-breed mutts

By Kim Campbell Thornton
MSNBC contributor
Updated: 8:18 a.m. PT March 19, 2007

Ever hear of a floppy-faced Jujitsu? How about a King Daley shepherd? A Germox retriever? Those are just a few of the creative monikers that clever dog owners have come up with to label their all-American dogs — mutts, to people with less imagination.

When Steve Dale, the syndicated talk-show host of "Pet Central" on WGN Radio, and his wife decided to get another dog recently after the death of their 15-year-old Brittany, Chaser, all the Brittanys they saw brought tears, so they took their search to PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) Chicago, the city’s largest nonprofit humane organization. There they found Ethel, a patchwork puppy who resembles the wild “painted dogs” of Africa.

“People stopped us on the street and asked what kind of dog Ethel was,” Dale says. “They seemed disappointed when I’d say she was an Australian shepherd mix.”

Since people seemed to want Ethel to “be” something, Dale began calling her a King Daley shepherd, referencing Chicago’s longtime mayors.

Janice A. Biniok of Waukesha, Wis., has been creating “breed” names for her mixes for years. Currently she has what is probably a Labrador/boxer/German shepherd.

“He’s absolutely gorgeous. He looks like a brindle Labrador, so everybody wants to know what he is. I’ve been thinking of calling him a Germox retriever,” she says.

Why can’t a mutt be just a mutt?

Everybody wants something unique, says Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of "Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses?"

People who seek out the dog du jour — which these days is a crossbreed such as a maltipoo (Maltese/poodle) or goldendoodle (golden retriever/poodle) — like the idea of having a dog that not very many people have. And don't mind paying $1,000 to $2,500 or more for one.

Best of each breed?
Pet lovers are also attracted by claims that hybrids are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.

“The argument people make is that by crossing a purebred Labrador and a purebred poodle, it’s going to be nonshedding and intelligent because poodles are nonshedding and intelligent, and it’s going to have the work ethic and playfulness of the Lab, making it the perfect family dog,” Coren says. “It’s a nice story, but when you tell it, geneticists laugh.”

Genetic characteristics sort out randomly. So no matter what its breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic, intelligent or healthy than another.

“When you cross two things it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to optimize what you’re trying to achieve,” says veterinarian Patricia Olson, president and CEO of Morris Animal Foundation, a group in Englewood, Colo., that funds research on pet-health issues.

“You can’t just say if I take this and this I’m sure I’m going to have a healthier dog; it doesn’t work that way. That’s why a lot of these crosses become fads and then go by the wayside, because people have experimented with them in the past and it hasn’t always been what they had hoped for.”

Biniok says the mutts she has adopted from the shelter have never had the hereditary health problems that affected her two purebreds, a Great Dane and a Boston terrier.

While mixed breeds as a class have more variety of inherited diseases than any single pure breed because of their broader gene pool, the frequency of any given disease among mixed breeds is likely to be lower because the population is more diverse.

But because designer dogs are purposely bred from dogs of specific types or breeds, they may have a higher incidence of certain diseases, such as breathing difficulties, cancer or hip dysplasia, depending on the breeds used to create them. The Xolo (or Mexican Hairless) mixes have as many if not more health problems as the purebreds, says Amy Fernandez of Forest Hills, N.Y., who is president of the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America, for people with this scrawny, hairless breed.

Not always a glamorous picture
Plenty of hybrids are well-loved pets, but the ones that outgrow the “cute” stage can face an uncertain future.

“Right now we are dealing with Xolo/Jack Russell mixes, Xolo/pit bull mixes, Xolo/Chihuahua mixes that we cannot find homes for,” Fernandez says.

“People are happy to fork over big bucks to buy these dogs as puppies, but once buyers realize that what they have is a complicated, demanding dog, many of these hairless wonders end up in shelters or worse," she says. "At least once every winter we hear of hairless dogs intentionally abandoned outdoors to freeze.”

When you want a dog that’s one of a kind, there’s no need to spend big bucks to get it. Visit your local shelter instead and come home with your very own roughcoated Malibu griffon, Golden Gate Chiwienie dog or North American mottled shepherd.

Whatever you choose, and whatever you call it, the dog will be just as unique and special as a pricier pup.

Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.
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Postby kat » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:38 pm

Great article! Reminds me of the saying I saw recently: "Your local Animal Shelter, where the most eligible singles hang out". Sadly, pretty soon we're going to need "Designer Dog Rescue" groups tho" too, ya know.
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Postby Natalie » Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:00 am

I loved this article! Wonderful!!!
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Postby imzadipyrgirl » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:08 pm

Great Article!!!

Also sadly enough people will probably call them "Designer Dog Rescues" hoping to get added publicitity. The people who breed these dogs make me sick :evil:
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Re: Want a designer dog? Check the pound.

Postby Neena770 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:54 pm

All a designer breed is is a mutt. A mixed breed that breeders are trying to bilk people out of their hard earned money for. I do have to say though there are some really beautiful mutts out there. I have one myself. I have a handsome "Britador" puppy. He's 9 months old now and such a good boy. A bit of a handful at times but he is still a puppy. Very smart and lovable. I got him from a nice family who breeds AKC Brittneys and AKC Labradors. They were going to retire the Britt mom and Lab dad so they decided they would cross them for the last litter. What adorable puppies they made. I bought my Hunter from them only for the cost of shipping and that even ended up being cut in half because we decided to make a road trip out of it and met them halfway at his parents house. Got to meet my puppies parents and litter mates. Beautiful healthy animals with awesome dispositions. I'd post a picture of my Hunter but not sure how.
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Re: Want a designer dog? Check the pound.

Postby Barb Wright » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:15 pm

Go here...... viewtopic.php?f=24&t=811 to see how to post photos.

Looking forward to seeing your Britador :)
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Re: Want a designer dog? Check the pound.

Postby FindYourInnerDog » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:02 am

Neena770, would love to see a picture of your precious pup! :)
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