Popular Designer Dog Breeds

If you have been following the latest trends and changes in dog breeding you may have come across the term “Designer Dogs”.

These are, in fact, simply mixed breeds that are crossed to produce a specific physical appearance, usually easily identified as a cross between the two breeds. The breeders attempt to include only the desirable traits of the two parents while minimizing the chance of physical or health issues between the cross.

Some of the more common or popular designer dogs are:

Labradoodle :
A cross between a Labrador retriever and a Standard Poodle. Considered to have the non-shedding and easy care coat of a poodle combined with the poodle’s intelligence and the wonderful, loving personality of the Lab.

Porkie :
A cross between a Pug and a Yorkie. A small dog that is heartier than the standard Yorkie with longer hair and the easygoing temperament of the Pug.

Cockapoo :
A cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Often considered an intelligent, low shedding small breed that is great for families.

Schnoodle :
Cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle, again with an attempt to have an intelligent, non-shedding companion dog.

Daisy Dog :
A three way cross between a poodle and Shih Tzu parent and a Bichon. These dogs are reported to be very calm and excellent companion dogs for traveling or living in small spaces.

Poogle :
Cross between a Poodle and a Beagle. Small sized dog that energetic and easy to train.

Puggle :
Pug and a Beagle. These are very friendly dogs that love to be involved in all aspects of the family.

Most of the designer dogs have a poodle in the mix simply because poodles are know to be excellent non-shedding dogs and also are very intelligent. The three different sizes of poodles also make them a great breed for mixing with various dog breeds.

It is important to remember that these crosses have occurred in the past; it is just now that they are being recognized. As with all breeds of dogs there are good breeding dogs and dogs that should not be crossed due to health conditions or temperaments.

A designer dog, also called a hybrid, is not recognized by the Kennel Clubs, although many agencies are trying to develop registries for these breeds. Be aware that many of these dogs are more expensive than either one of their purebred parents, but do not have any standing with breed registries. Many shelter dogs are mixed breeds that are looking for a loving home and are available at a fraction of the cost that some breeders are asking.

Designer dogs may also have a variety of health concerns and conditions. Do not mistakenly believe that all hybrids are naturally healthy and immune from genetic conditions, in fact they may have just as many health concerns as purebred dogs. Be sure to check the temperament of the parents, and choose a breed that is one you really want, not just the “trendy” dog of the day.

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Get To Know Your Puggle Before You Bring Him Home

Puggles are very cute and adorable dogs. They have a spirit about them and they are very lovable. The problem is many people are not aware of how much work these cute little guys can be and they end up in the pound or in Puggle rescue or Puggle adoption agencies. The only thing that people see is how delightful they are. People are not prepared for the whirlwinds that will be forming right in their living room!
Puggles are “hyper” by nature, and they are high maintenance as far as attention goes. They need constant supervision and consistent discipline. Training is essential to the happiness of your Puggle and the saneness of your family.
Whatever you do, do not let your Puggle become bored. Play with your puppy every day, as much as you can. You need to find ways to keep him occupied when you are busy living life. However, you still need to keep a keen eye on your little guy. Trouble is always right around the corner!
Unless you do your homework before bringing home your new addition, you may find that your new addition causes a lot of frustration. You must be prepared to find the time needed to train your Puggle. If you do not spend time with him or help him learn ways to channel his energy in a positive manner, your excitement and love will turn into irritability and disappointment. And, usually at this point you will just feel defeated.
At this point, people tend to just “give up”. Sadly, the Puggle suffers tremendously. He does not understand why he is always being ignored or yelled at. He is still the same little guy you fell in love with, and still needs the constant attention. However, instead of feeling happy around him, you are abrupt and sharp with him. It is so sad to see such sweet, lovable animals ignored and sometimes mistreated.
Many times, people will have to find new homes for them. The sad thing is if they had done even a little bit of research, they would have known the nature of these energetic cuties. Finding a new home is sometimes a difficult thing to do. If you cannot find a good new home, please do not just take him to the pound. There are Puggle rescue and Puggle adoption agencies that take in Puggles who have either been abused or just need to have new homes.
The great thing about a Puggle rescue or puggle adoption group is that they will have the dogs spayed or neutered, give them tests and shots they need, and make sure they are taken care of. And even better, they will match up Puggles with people or families that are compatible with each other. It is not a first come, first serve basis. They are very particular about where these Puggles end up, because they have already been through enough.
Puggle rescue groups are a great place to get your Puggle from as long as you are aware of how to take care of them. Plus, the Puggle rescue agency will do their best to match you with a Puggle that will be your best friend for life!
Puggle lovers, please spread the word about a Puggle’s energetic nature so that Puggles end up in homes that are prepared to give them the love and attention they need and deserve!

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Dog Breeds: Hybrid Dogs, Mutts and Purebred Dogs

Ever noticed the sniffy hauteur with which purebred dog owners appraise mixed breed dogs? You can almost see them flinch as their condescending eye roves across the form of the objectionable mutt while they grudgingly concede that perhaps their refined canine specimen and that pollutant mutt do indeed belong to the same species! In fact you need only trawl various online dog forums to experience firsthand just how contentious the issue of mutt versus purebred really is. Yet much as purebred dog owners may put down the humble mutt or mixed breed dog the strange thing is:

Purebred Dogs Are Merely Strain-Refined Mutts!

Doberman Pinscher: The Doberman Pinscher dog breed was the brainchild of door-to-door tax collector Herr Louis Doberman. Whether Herr Doberman developed this dog breed as enforcer or protector has never been truly established but one aspect that is not in contention is the fact that his was an unenviable profession! It is well documented that since biblical times the tax collector has been much reviled; even today the tax collector is the subject of scorn and disgust. If you truly want to belabor the point, the next time you are at a social gathering, casually mention that you work for the IRS and watch the little-witnessed phenomenon of how so many can disappear so quickly!

However back to Herr Doberman and his dangerous profession; tired of being pushed about and quite possibly being set upon by irate tax payers, poor Herr Doberman came up with the novel yet economic solution of developing a dog breed that would be both enforcer and protector! The “ingredients” for his new dog breed included the following: Rottweiler; German Pinscher; Greyhound and the Manchester Terrier. Though some wishful fanciers contend that the German Shepherd dog was also involved in the genetic compilation of the Doberman Pinscher, this is highly unlikely since the development of the German Shepherd occurred a little later than that of the Doberman Pinscher.

The early form of the Doberman Pinscher dog was not the sleek lean machine that epitomizes the breed today, but it was a heavier-boned dog somewhat more similar in appearance to the Rottweiler dog breed. Subsequent tweaks by later breeders eventually resulted with the sleek contemporary dog that defines the modern Doberman Pinscher. The point of note here is that the Doberman Pinscher, a well-known dog breed that is officially recognized by countless of International Kennels such as the AKC, was a crossbreed developed from various other dog breeds before it attained the holy-grail status of purebred!

Verdict: The Doberman Pinscher, like all the other so-called purebred dogs is nothing more than a strain refined mutt. Sniff! What can I say…these pesky mongrels are everywhere, most of them disguising themselves as well-established purebreds!

Designer/Hybrid Dogs

Though the Labradoodle is widely accredited as the crossbreed dog that set the whole designer-dog movement rolling along at a good clip, the truth of the matter is that other well established crossbreeds already existed. One such crossbreed or so-called designer dog is the Cockerpoo (Cockapoo), a cross between the American Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle. The Cockerpoo has been in existence since the 1960s (in contrast to the Labradoodle which was developed in the 1980s). The Cockerpoo is currently so well established in North America that there is a strong movement to consolidate a breeding standard.

These days “Oodles” or “Poos” (Poodle hybrids) are practically everywhere in North America for the simple reason they translate into mega bucks. Though the Labradoodle (perhaps the best known Poodle derivative) was developed with a utilitarian purpose in mind, most designer dogs have no other function than to propel a burgeoning and lucrative market for these hybrid dogs; as it so happens, backyard breeders very quickly recognized the enormous profits to be had from designer dogs.

To date the designer dog market is flourishing, strong evidence that people are quite willing to shell out mega bucks so as to differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd. And perhaps you’ve noticed, nobody refers to these mutts as well…mutts, for the simple reason crossbreeds do not satisfy people’s sniff factor! (Sniff Factor defines the human tendency to snobbishness; in earlier times the upper classes were predisposed to strolling about with their noses pointed skywards as an expression of their obvious class superiority (as though reaching for air unpolluted by the masses!) Calling a mongrel a designer dog is certain to guarantee a far better price than if the animal were addressed as a crossbreed.

The unfortunate fallout of this whole designer dog issue, is that there’re now many more dogs in shelters and rescues, as well as dogs being euthanized, because of unethical breeders, who without regard to genetics, breed thousands of these dogs every year in a bid to capitalize on the public’s ignorance and insatiable appetite for “exclusive” or “limited” dogs.

So how did this designer dog brouhaha really begin?

Good Intentions Open Pandora’s Box

Sometime during the 1980s, Wally Conron, the breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia embarked on a quest to develop a non-allergenic guide dog for a visually impaired client whose husband happened to be allergic to common dog fur. Conron settled on the standard Poodle as the ideal cross with the already established Labradors in use at their center, for the simple fact that the Poodle,s as a highly trainable working dog with tightly curled coat, constituted a the best-fit match.

After two years of trials including 33 successive disappointment runs, Wally Conron hit pay dirt! A cross mating between one of their most prized Labradors and a Poodle specimen resulted in a litter of 3 non-allergenic puppies. Sultan the 1st ever Labradoodle destined for guide-dog greatness was introduced to his new owner amidst great fanfare. The bonding was a great success and Conron was confident that the remaining two puppies would quickly be snapped up; after all, the center at which he worked had a 6-month backlog of requests from people hoping to foster a dog. But he miscalculated; nobody it seemed wanted a dog that was associated with the dirty word crossbreed.

As eight weeks rolled by, the remaining two pups still hadn’t found homes and the critical-period window in which they needed to bond with a new owner and thus become successful guide dogs was closing fast. Out of sheer frustration Wally Conron decided to call his new dog breed the Labradoodle and thenceforth stopped referring to them as crossbreeds. That was the eureka moment he had been waiting for (evidence of the sniff factor in play again)!

Within weeks, requests for this new “miracle dog” inundated the center…the rest as the saying goes, was history! Other than the Labradoodle, few designer dogs have been developed for utilitarian purposes and in fact for the most part new breeds are introduced for purely cosmetic purposes. Having said that though, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that some new dog breeds are currently being developed to address the all pervasive problem of genetic disease in the canine; especially in the more popular breeds.

Some other well-established crossbreeds are the Bull Boxer which is a cross between the Boxer and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The Bull Boxer is said to be a more affable dog, especially towards other pets, than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and is also reputed to be less inclined to exhibit the immature behaviorisms characteristic of the Boxer. By and large though, the substantial prevalence of the designer-dog set is to be found firmly within the realm of Poodle mixes. Such Poodle mixes usually go by names, which if not exactly flattering, are to say the least, colorful:

1. Doxiepoo (Dachshund Poodle Mix)

2. Papipoo (Papillon Poodle Mix)

3. Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever Poodle Mix)

4. Jack-A-Poo (Jack Russell Terrier Poodle Mix)

5. Irish Doodle (Irish Setter Poodle Mix) to name but a few.

Verdict: Sniff! These dogs may go under the guise of designer dog…but let’s be honest, they are no more than glorified mutts!

The Humble Yet Ubiquitous Mutt

So where does the lowly mutt fit in this picture of brave new doggy world; that is to say, other than bearing the brunt of the purebred afficionado’s scorn! Well as I have amply illustrated in the paragraphs above, all dog breeds are essentially mixed breeds even the purebreds. Purebred dogs are so entitled because over several generations they have been specifically bred for selective traits. But therein lies their Achilles’ heel or weakness. Due to such selective-trait breeding, purebred dogs have an inherently high prevalence of genetic disease.

A classic example illustrating some of the problems encountered in trait-selective breeding can be found in the history of the Dalmatian. Breeding for the sharply-defined spot trait unintentionally also led to selective breeding for an abnormal uric acid gene (case of gene linkage). The result was that the Dalmatian dog breed was dogged (no pun intended) with hereditary urine stone disease. In an attempt to rectify the problem yet retain the desired spot pattern, the Dalmatian was crossbred with various Pointer breeds (Sniff! Sniff! What did I tell you…all mutts the lot of them!).

Conversely the lack of trait-selective breeding and a diverse gene pool in the mutt makes such dogs so much healthier and more robust than their purebred counterparts! Thus unless you’re going to develop your own dog breed, if all you’re looking for in a dog is a pet, do yourself, your pocket as well as the millions of dogs on death row a favor and adopt a dog from a shelter! Trust me, they make excellent pets. (Shelters cannot house dogs forever and each year more than 7,000,000 cats and dogs are euthanized!)


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Labradoodle Dog Origins, Variations and Characteristics

Since the development of the Labradoodle dog in the 1980s by Wally Conron as a non-allergenic guide dog for visually impaired people who suffered from allergies, this “dog breed has branched off in a multitude of directions. Today there are in fact at least two distinct different types of Labradoodles and some people are in fact of the opinion there is even another derivative of the Labradoodle.

The two distinct types of Labradoodle include primarily the following:

Australian Labradoodle:

As its name suggests this Labradoodle type hails from Australia and since 2004 was declared to be no longer just a hybrid mix between the Labrador and Poodle but rather is now considered to be a purebred dog breed in its own right. Such recognition followed on the heels of the breed standard mapping out developmental goals aimed by the association which was written in 1987.

The Australian Labradoodle is officially recognized as having been developed from the following 6 different dog breeds:

•    Poodle (Standard & Miniature)
•    Labrador Retriever
•    Irish Water Spaniel
•    Curly Coat Retriever
•    English Cocker Spaniel
•    American Cocker Spaniel;

According to the Labradoodle Association of Australia, certain characteristics of the Labradoodle dog breed are of paramount importance notably that the dog should have a balanced and even temperament. Typically this dog should be an alert, friendly and intelligent animal that trains and learns easily and is not prone carefree boisterousness unless so allowed. The Labradoodle should be able to approach people whilst maintaining eye contact and not exhibit any signs of anxiety or discomfort.

Labradoodle Features

Size: There are currently three different recognized sizes Labradoodle by the Australian Association and they are as follows:

Standard Sized Labradoodle:

Height:  22 – 26 inches

Weight:  25 – 40 Kg

Medium Sized Labradoodle:

Height:  18 – 21 inches

Weight:  15 – 25 kg

Miniature Sized Labradoodle:

Height:  13 -17 inches

Weight:  10 – 20 kg

Coat: The coat of the Australian Labradoodle as dictated by the breed standard should be 4 to 6 inches in length. The coat should be a single coat and any indication of a double coat is noted as a fault. The dog’s coat should not be overly thick and neither should it be fluffy, though straight, wavy or loose spiraling is acceptable. The coat of the Labradoodle typically occurs in one of three types:

•    Hair Coat: This type of coat is undesirable because it is a shedding coat and the Labradoodle Association of Australia is attempting to outbreed this trait.

•    Fleece Coat: This is a non-shedding extremely soft coat close in texture to that of an angora coat. This coat is easy to manage and is highly desirable.

•    Wool Coat: Another non-shedding coat which may occurs as the highly desirable loose spiraling pattern, or the not so desirable dense curling or dense straight coat variation. Thick and dense wool coats are not recommended because they require a lot of effort to maintain and the Association is trying to wean out this trait via selective breeding.

Body: The body of the Labradoodle is slightly longer than it is tall. The dog should move with a strong purposeful stride when trotting and during galloping (Yes! Labradoodles do have a gallop-like gait) the flanks should rise up from a deep brisket.

Tail: The tail ideally should be low set although a high tail is accepted. If the tail is heavy, padded or course in appearance then it will be denoted as a fault.

Head: The ideal stop of the dog should be medium with the eyes set well apart beneath broad well-defined eyebrows. The head should have a clean polished appearance and the existence of a long narrow head or blockhead will warrant a fault.

Ears & Eyes: The ears of the Labradoodle should be at the same level as its eyes and they should be set flat against the head of the dog. The ear canal should not be overflowing with excess hair. With respect to the eyes of this dog breed, they are typically slightly rounded and are somewhat large and expressive. Watery, tearful, sunken or protruding eyes will definitely notch up a fault.

Teeth & Nose: Ideally the breed standard Labradoodle should have a scissor bite, and any dogs characterized with an under bite or over bite will be faulted. Any incidences of teeth crowding in miniature Labradoodles will also classify as a fault. Dogs with black pigmented noses should have dark brown eyes with no presence of pink spots. Any evidence of pink spots on the nose, pads, eye rims or lips of a black-nosed dog will register as a fault.

Color: The Labradoodle dog breed is permitted to display quite an extensive range of coat colors including any of the following: gold; cream; white; apricot; black; blue; red; silver; chalk; brown as well as pretty much any other color typically seen in Poodles. The coat color should be solid with no white markings although extremely small white areas no larger than 2.5 cm squared are allowed on the chest, tail or feet.

Other Types of Labradoodle Dogs

Although only the Australian Labradoodle has been discussed in detail here, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are at least two distinct variations of this dog:

American Labradoodle:
This variant is what is referred to as a multi-generational Labradoodle and the lack of introduction of other dog breeds (as is the case with Australian Labradoodles) appears to be a point of pride. Though not recognized by the AKC as a distinct purebred dog breed the American Labradoodle is officially recognized by the much newer and smaller dog association club known as the NAKC (North American Kennel Club).

What is certainly a little confusing is the exact translation of a multi-generational Labradoodle. There are some who contend that the Australian Labradoodle is a multi-generational dog which tends to beg the question…what is the difference between the two? That said the following describes the method in which several breeders are pursuing their American Labradoodle breeding program:

F1 Generation: this is a 50% Labrador to 50% Poodle mix. The offspring of this cross tend to be healthier than other crosses, but the downside is that the hair type tends to run the whole gamut of coat variation and one is just as likely to get a shedding coat as a non-shedding coat!

F1-B Generation:
25% Labrador Retriever to 75% Poodle; in other words this is a cross between an F1 Labradoodle crossed with a Poodle. Increased incidence of genetic disease is more likely in this dog hybrid, but on the positive side, they have the highest occurrence of a non-shedding coat.

F2 Generation:
This is a cross between an F1 Labradoodle back to another F1 Labradoodle. With this kind of combination you obtain a similar percentage mix as that of the F1 Labradoodle (Poodle/Labrador mix) so you would also get the same incidence of shedding and non-shedding coats.

F3 Generation:
An F3 Labradoodle is a cross between an F2 Labradoodle with another F2 Labradoodle and this cross falls under the purview off multi-generational.

Multi-Generational:
Any cross of an F3 generation or beyond constitutes a multi-generational dog and it is along these breeding lines that both the Australian and American Labradoodle breeders are aiming for the purebred dog. The notable difference being that the Australian Labradoodle Association has introduced other dog breeds in the mix to increase genetic diversity and thereby decrease the incidence of inherited disease.

Disease: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) a disease that causes blindness has been observed with increasing occurrence in a number of multi-generational Labradoodles lending weight to the pursuit of increased genetic diversity. Like the dog breeds from which they were developed, the Labradoodle is prone to hip dysplasia and elbow and patella disorders; some incidence of Addison’s Disease has also been observed. In general it is good practice for all Multigenerational Labradoodles to be DNA tested for PRA.

Labradoodle Temperament

Like its famous progenitors, this dog makes an excellent family companion that gets along well with children and is easy to train. Like many intelligent dogs the Labradoodle requires daily mental and physical challenges to avoid adopting nuisance behavior. This dog can adapt well to apartment living but just so long as it gets plenty of daily exercise.

Labradoodle Dog Origins

In 1989, Wally Conron, the breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia embarked on a quest to develop a non-allergenic guide dog for a visually impaired client whose husband happened to be allergic to common dog fur. Conron settled on the standard Poodle as the ideal cross with the already established Labradors in use at their center, for the simple fact that the Poodle,s as a highly trainable working dog with tightly curled coat, constituted a the best-fit match.

After two years of trials including 33 successive disappointment runs, Wally Conron hit pay dirt! A cross mating between one of their most prized Labradors and a Poodle specimen resulted in a litter of 3 non-allergenic puppies. Sultan the 1st ever Labradoodle destined for guide-dog greatness was introduced to his new owner amidst great fanfare. The bonding was a great success and Conron was confident that the remaining two puppies would quickly be snapped up; after all, the center at which he worked had a 6-month backlog of requests from people hoping to foster a dog. But he miscalculated; nobody it seemed wanted a dog that was associated with the dirty word crossbreed.

As eight weeks rolled by, the remaining two pups still hadn’t found homes and the critical-period window in which they needed to bond with a new owner and thus become successful guide dogs was closing fast. Out of sheer frustration Wally Conron decided to call his new dog breed the Labradoodle and thenceforth stopped referring to them as crossbreeds. That was the eureka moment he had been waiting for (evidence of the sniff factor in play again)!

Within weeks, requests for this new “miracle dog” inundated the center…the rest as the saying goes, was history! Other than the Labradoodle, few designer dogs have been developed for utilitarian purposes and in fact for the most part new breeds are introduced for purely cosmetic purposes.

More Labradoodle Articles