Are designer dogs worth the price tag?
Puggles, Labradoodles, and Maltipoo’s, they look cute, they sound cute, but are they worth the extra money? A pedigree Labrador puppy can cost between £600-£800, a Labradoodle £900 to £1500. Or the latest cross breed, Double Doodles will set you back £1,300-£1,600.
So what is the difference between pedigree and designer dogs?
A pedigree dog is essentially a dog whose parents, grandparents, and other ancestors are the same breed. Pedigree dogs will often be registered with the Kennel Club, where records of the dogs family line is recorded.
The advantage of owning a pedigree is that the behaviour traits and physiology is somewhat predictable. Coat types, amounts of shedding, energy levels, herding or retrieving skills of the breed are well known, and dogs can be selected for the needs of the owner.
Health wise, pedigree dogs can be tested before mating, for common hereditary diseases that the breed is prone to developing. This helps to reduce the risk of inheritance by not breeding dogs with the health condition. Hip and elbow scores help reduce the development of the condition in puppies by selecting parents with low scores.
Designer dogs are actually cross bred dogs, dogs with parents who are different breeds. The designer dog trend actually started in Australia, when a blind person needed a guide dog, but was allergic to dogs.
Trainers decided to cross a Labrador with a Poodle, to create a dog with non shedding coats from Poodles, are the trainability and friendliness of the Labrador. Since the additional puppies were surplus to requirements, the breeders termed the name Labradoodle, to increase saleability of the puppies and find them new homes.
Apart from their interesting names, are cross breeds any better than pedigree’s?
It can be difficult to predict temperaments of cross breeds, as well as the size he will grow to. There is no real way to know how much of one breeds traits will be expressed. Your new Labradoodle may not have a curly coat, or may look more Poodle than Labrador.
Inherited diseases may still be passed down if both parents posses the genes. However the advantage is that there is more genetic diversity in a first generation (F1) cross breeds. Although, if breeders of cross breeds follow the same practices (or worse) when selecting parents, (ie. breeding brothers and sisters, mothers and sons etc) then the same problems of inherited disease will arise.
Breeders of these types of dogs sometimes care less about the health of the dog and more about the saleability of the dogs, creating funny, intriguing names like Golden Doodle, Cocker Poo and Pomsky. Or may even add ‘teacup’ and ‘toy’ to the breed name, giving the illusion of a different, more in demand breed. In reality, there is no difference in these dogs. It only serves to demand a higher price.
The designer dog trend may also be helping fund puppy farms, as the price tag makes a tempting profit with no regard for physical health and may create behaviour problems in future.
Whether you pick a pedigree pup, or cross breed, always research the breeder and temperaments or both breeders before buying.