Doodles – Designer Dogs or Mutts?

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Designer Dog or Mutt?



Designer Dog?? What the heck is a designer dog some might ask?? A “designer” dog  is a cross between two purebred dogs.  A purebred dog is one that has been bred over many generations to breed true. Meaning each puppy that is born looks and has the same temperament and characteristics as one another. In most cases a standard is written and breeders must follow this written standard. Only dogs which make the written standard are to be bred. Purebred dogs are beneficial in that, when you buy a purebred dog you know what you are getting.

However the downside to pure bred dogs is the “top winning dogs” are often highly inbred and bred a lot — siblings are interbred, and fathers are mated with daughters. The result is a tiny gene pool that is saturated with bad traits.

For more information you might be interested to read this eye opening article: The Truth About Purebred Dogs By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2010

Or this article – The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2010

What’s the difference between a designer dog and a mutt? Generally, a mutt is of uncertain ancestry. A designer dog should have documented and registered purebred parents.

Potential negative of a mixed breed: If you want a dog with specific skills, such as herding sheep, or finding pheasants, or hunting rabbits, or guarding goats, or to compete in some specialized canine event such as schutzhund, a mixed breed is not the way to go. These are the areas where purebreds (and some specific crossbreeds) are at their very best.

The most popular breed of designer dog is the Labradoodle—originally a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle. The mix reputedly combines the intelligence, aloof nature, the delicate frame, and the low-allergy, and non-shedding traits of the poodle with the boisterous exuberance, lovability, and loyalty of a lab.

So what’s up with these hybrid, “designer” dogs? Are they healthier?

Hybrid dogs can still have genetic problems because you are still crossing two first generation dogs, however the percentage of hybrid dogs with genetic problems is much lower than purebred dogs because the gene pool is mixed. Breeders who breed purebred to purebred creating a first generation hybrid believe in the heterosis effect and hybrid vigor. Vigor means, “Physical or mental strength, energy, or force.”  When you breed two different types of purebred dogs together you can get any combination of characteristics found in either breed. If you are stuck on a hybrid dog how do you know which one to choose? Read the temperament and care for both breeds in the cross and be prepared for any combination of the two. If everything about both breeds matches you and your families personality and lifestyle, than you can most likely assume this cross will work for you. If there is ANYTHING about either breed in the cross that you do not feel matches what you are looking for, avoid that cross. Do not assume or take the chance that only the good characteristics will emerge. You may be in for a big surprise and it is not fair to the puppy to chance that.

It is also important to be aware; not all of these designer hybrid dogs being bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generation crosses. While a simple F1 generation cross is said to produce the most hybrid vigor in the dog and the further down the multi-generation chain, the more vigor is lost in the hybrid; there are some benefits to multi-generation crossing. If you want to greater your chances of certain traits, such as non-shedding, sometimes it is necessary to move further down the generation chain, risking less vigor.

To help you understand this concept we will use the Goldendoodle as an example. A Goldendoodle is a cross between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle (usually the Standard Poodle). In general we will call the first purebred “purebred-A”, and the second “purebred-B”. Note, the examples of the differences in coat only apply to the Goldendoodle hybrid, all other hybrids will vary in their own way depending on what is in the cross.

F1 = 1st generation puppy – 50% purebred-A and 50% purebred-B – for example, a Golden Retriever to Poodle cross, this is first generation, resulting in healthier offspring. In this particular Goldendoodle cross hair type can be smooth like a Golden, wirey look like a Irish wolfhound or Wavy/shaggy, they can shed or not shed, pups in the same litter can vary. This is not the best cross for people with severe allergies.

F1b = backcross puppy – 25% purebred-A and 75% purebred-B. For example, an F1 Goldendoodle and Poodle cross; this is Goldendoodle bred back to Poodle, Wavy Curly shaggy look doodle very consistent in coat types. F1b is the MOST likely of any to be non shedding and allergy friendly then ANY doodles (poodle crosses) and is the easiest coat to take care of.

F2 = second generation puppy – F1 hybrid crossed with an F1 hybrid – for example, an F1 Goldendoodle crossed with an F1 Goldendoodle. This combination you get the same percentage of purebred-A as purebred-B as you would an F1 hybrid. In the case of the Goldendoodle, they are more likely to shed.

F2b = second generation backcross puppy = F1 bred to a F1b (hybrid backcross)

F3 = F2 hybrid to F2 hybrid

Multi-generation = F3 or higher generation hybrid crossed with F3 or higher generation hybrid

So..Designer dog or Mutt? You decide.

Read the article written by National Geographic about Labradoodle – Mutt or Designer Dog?

Don’t Buy A Dog From A Pet Store.

Want to fight animal cruelty? Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store. It’s that simple. Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Because it is virtually impossible to determine the quality of the breeding facility listed on the puppy’s papers, the more humane option is simply not to buy the dog at all. Although the consumer may be assured that American Kennel Club (AKC) papers guarantee a quality dog, in reality, nothing is further from the truth. After years of artfully dodging the question of how AKC papers could be registered to dogs and puppies found in the worst of puppy mills, the AKC itself is admitting the misconceptions that are connected with purebred papers.

Watch Videos about Puppy Mills. Educate Yourself.


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  1. Tessica12-29-12

    At last! Something clear I can unedstrnad. Thanks!

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