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Just say NO to designer dogs!

  • Jun. 3rd, 2007 at 7:21 AM
femmefata1eDue to the recent post about 'Shiffons' (a Shih Tzu & Brussels Griffon mix) and the influx of 'designer dogs', I feel the need to share this article. First, I will share my opinions on the 'Shiffon'..

Breeds are generally mixed due to desirable or complimentary behaviors in one breed that 'cancel out' the bad behaviors of the other. Since Brussels do not generally possess those negative traits to begin with, I fail to see the reason (or need) to breed them with anything else. This would lead me to the assumption that they are doing so in order to make something that looks like a Brussels, but really isn't, prompting some less responsible breeders to try to 'pass them off' as Griffons. This is detrimental to the breed, because Griffons have a very distinct personality and temperment, something which could be damaged by this mixing of the two breeds, because since it looks so much like a Griffon, (but may not act like one) it could give these very sweet, lovable dogs the same negative reputation that many toy breeds have (nippy/yippy/etc), and that is unfortunate and unfair to real Brussels Griffons everywhere. In addition, if this crossbreed is passed off and sold as a purebred Griffon to anyone who then intends to breed Griffons, the breed standard goes down the toilet.

Let me explain what I mean by 'breed standard'. For those of you who think this is a 'snobby' term, or for those who say 'well, I don't mind if my dog is a bit larger/a darker color/less active than the standard', etc., size and coat color are only part of the equation. All dogs have certain personality traits that are specific to their breed. When you introduce another breed into this mix, you end up with a dog that may be nothing like what you expected. With the Brussels Griffon in particular, (because their breeding has not yet gotten out of hand,) when you get a Griffon puppy, you know exactly what you're getting. True, the breed has their own quirks and they're not for everyone, but those who are looking for the temperment and personality of a Brussels may be sorely disappointed in years to come if other breeds are unknowingly and accidentally (or in the worst case scenario, purposefully) brought into the genetic mix. In addition to this issue, there are serious health risks as well.

In the past, dogs were bred for specific reasons, and each breed's personality, temperment, size and shape were taken into account. Other breeds were added to current ones based on problems with the original breed, and adding the new breed to the mix was intended to 'fix' those problems. Now, some are mixing breeds because they think they're 'cute', and this is not necessarily best (or safe) for the animals. Griffons in particular are extremely difficult to breed, many of the mothers passing away during birth or having to have emergency C-sections due to the puppies heads being too large to pass through safely. This is a problem that was overlooked in the original creation of the breed, and it is the reason there are not many Brussels Griffon breeders in the US and UK. My concern with this new mix is that amatuer 'backyard' breeders will begin mixing these breeds without consideration of the consequences. I have the same concerns with the 'Puggle', for the same reasons. Pugs also have very difficult births, resulting in many deaths from negligence or ignorance on the part of the breeder. ONLY EXPERIENCED BREEDERS SHOULD BE BREEDING DOGS - those who have experience with this breed know how to care for them and are well aware of the risks, taking extra precautions with the mothers and the litters in their care. A breeder's expertise is often specific to one breed, which is as it should be. When everyday people take it upon themselves to 'play God' in a sense, they are putting the mothers (and the litters) in real danger.

If you need further convincing as to why this (and other cross-breeding) is an unwise & unsafe practice, please read this article taken from Poo-Dogs & Designer Mutts

Please note: I have NOTHING against crossbred dogs. What I am opposed to is the intentional breeding of crosses and selling them to the general public who may not be as educated to things like this for the SOLE purpose of making money. People will take two breeds, cross them and call them a new breed when in actuality, it is not. It takes a LONG time and lots of work to create a strain of dogs that breeds true to type when bred to another of that type. Sadly, there are several registries that are given false credibility to those who want to basically scam the general public and use dogs to make a living. The most common of the crosses sold as purebred are the Poo-dogs (anything crossed with Poodles). In the United States, if a dog is not registered with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, American Rare Breed Association, or a breed recognized by the Federation Cynologique International, the breeder is to be suspect. If you want a crossbreed, please, visit your local humane society or rescue. You will find many dogs needing homes - many of them will be crosses.

Crossbreeds & Designer Mutts

Cock-a-poos, Snoodles, Sheltipoos, Labradoodles, Maltipoos, Shihpoos, Pooshihs, Bassadoodles, Shihchons, The list goes on... What is a "Poo dog?" Simple, any dog crossed with a poodle and given a funky name they also fall under the heading "Designer Mutt." What is a designer mutt? Any crossbred dogs being sold as if it were purebred or something special.

The sole purpose is to sell puppies to the unsuspecting and undereducated buyer. Whether the puppy is from a mill or from a person just breeding them for the heck of it, there are many sad myths and misconceptions of these dogs. Some people state they are trying to create the "ideal dog for..." However, with over 400 recognized breeds woldwide, there is pretty much a breed for every activity. One argument Designer Mutt Breeders use is that they are breeding for companion dogs. Honestly, there are hundreds of breeds, common and rare, bred solely for companionship. Is there a need to breed more crosses basically just to make money? No. A good breeder of "companion" breeds will place their puppies with the same care and concern for health as the pups they intend to use for show and future breeding. Fewer "show" breeders are in this for the money. They are in breeding for the love and betterment of the breed in form, function and health. A good breeder is lucky to break even with breeding and may even lose money on a litter when all is said and done.

Let's get a few things cleared up before going to the "heavy stuff."

1) These are NOT breeds. No matter what anyone says, they are CROSSES, MUTTS, MONGRELS - whatever name you decide to call them. It take many, many generations of careful breeding to develop a strain that breeds true when bred to another of its type and then more work to prove it is a pure breeding type and may be able to be recognized by a legitimate registry as a breed. Every time you add in a new dog to the mix that is not of the strain you are trying to develop, you set back that breeding program and have to work out the undesired traits brought in while trying to maintain the desired traits established.. Simply, three, four or even five generations of breeding say a Sheltiepoo to other Sheltiepoos without bringing in any other pure Shelties or Poodles will NOT create a new breed. It may take decades of dedicated breeding to even get a strain to breed true to desired type.

2) They are NOT hypoallergenic. No dog is. There are many proteins associated with a dog that we can be allergic to. Yes, some dogs that shed less may cause fewer problems in some people, but if the allergy is severe enough, ANY dog will cause a reaction.

3) They are not noshed. All dogs loose hair to some extent. Some breeds like Poodles are lower shed than others, but with lower shedding comes other grooming issues as well.

4) There is NO SUCH THING AS HYBRID VIGOR IN DOGS. Dogs are all the same species and a crossbred is at no less risk of health issues than a purebred. Many health issues are found in many breeds. Hip Dysplasia, for example, is found in just about every breed of dog - large or small.

The following are random notes I threw together when I was confronted on-line by someone insisting Cock-a-poos were a breed. With the exception of the information specific to the cross, the general information holds true for any breed crossed with Poodle - it is NOT a breed no matter what anyone says! And further, the same concept holds true for ANY designer mutt ('Shiffons', 'Puggles', etc.)



*Taken from http://www.cockapooclub.com:

"Is the Cock-a-poo a breed? The Cock-a-poo has been around as a cross since 1960. If they (the Cock-a-poo Club of America) truly wanted to create a breed, they would have stopped crossing in Cockers and Poodles and work with the foundation stock of crossed dogs to create a strain that breeds true to form (again, that form is too vague in the given standard). This takes far more than three generations to do. So the CCA is not really promoting the development of a breed. It can take decades of careful breeding to create a strain of dog that breeds true to a set type."

*Taken from http://www.landfield.com/faqs/dogs-faq/mixed-breeds/cockapoos/

A "cockapoo" is the name given to a mix between a Toy or Miniature Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. It is not a breed of dog. Presumably the first couple of "cockapoos" were bred accidentally and someone came up with the name in trying to be clever and catchy. However, because there is no central registry body for "cockapoos," (and no, the "Continental Kennel Club" does not count) there is nothing to stop anyone from claiming that any particular dog is a "cockapoo". The name has been applied to Cocker/Poodle crosses, to the offspring of Cocker/Poodle crosses, and sometimes to any smallish, long-haired dog whose parentage is unknown. Not a few people have had the experience of acquiring a "cockapoo" puppy that grew up to be very large, betraying the fact that its parents were not what they were said to have been.

Unfortunately, many people do believe the "cockapoo" is actually a breed and is actually registered by the AKC or some other reputable kennel club. This is not the case. A "breed" of dog is defined by the ability of two animals of the same breed to produce others just like it. An established breed, moreover, has a well defined "standard" that clearly lists how it should look or how it should perform. If you breed two "cockapoos" together, you will get results ranging from very much poodle like to very cocker like, with no uniformity or predictability. Other mixed breeds that are marketed under cute names include peekapoos, maltipoos, and the like... all the caveats I list here apply to these mixes as well."

*This is from a great article on Designer Mutts:
http://www.netpets.com/dogs/newsroom/crossbreeds1.html

The Latest Fad

If at least in some circles purebreds are not PC, what is? New books--best sellers in the pet trade books genre--call the mixed breed "The Great American Mutt." The mixed breed is becoming an American icon as popular as a Benjy dog. Of course mutts, like purebreds, certainly deserve love and attention. The latest pet trade trend goes well beyond praising a mutt.

The latest money-making trend is the promotion of mixed breeds with official-looking "registration papers" and catchy-sounding names. The "registrations" come from a burgeoning industry of registry services, each willing to issue documents at the drop of a few ten dollar bills. Best known of these is the US Kennel Club that advertises that they register "rare breeds, hybrids, even pet class." Other "clubs" have appeared that will produce official-looking "Championship" papers if you send them a photo or video of any dog.

British veterinarian Bruce Fogel's highly-praised and widely-available book about all breeds--"The Encyclopedia of the Dog" ( Dorling Kindersley Publishing, NY, NY, 1995) contains a section devoted to the "Random-Bred" dog. Various dogs are posed with Peterson Field Guide-like descriptive arrows denoting "Wiry beard gives look of dignity," and "Lop ears such as these are common in most European random-bred dogs" (p. 290-291). While this gives an air of planned legitimacy to unplanned puppies, the book's section on "Domestic Dogs" goes even farther. Here, Fogel presents various recently created hybrids like the "Labradoodle" (Labrador-Poodle mix 1989), the "Cockerpoo" (USA mix, 1960s), the "Bull Boxer" (Boxer-Pit Bull, 1990s), the "Bichon/Yorkie" (1980s). These cross-breds are featured in the same way, and adjacent to, recognized rare breeds and other purebreds like the Dalmation and the Poodle. In Fogel's book, the latest Labradoodle and the ancient Pug are cut from the same purebred cloth. The combinations of hybrids that are possible become enormous. Any of hundreds of purebred dogs could be bred with another creating, say, a "Coton Coonhound" or maybe a "Beagle Borzoi" which in turn could make a "Cotcooneaglezoi," etc., etc.

Back to working with traits… for example, when Shelties were first being brought to this country, it is strongly suspected that some were Collie crosses or even small Collies. Now, Shelties, Rough Collies, Smooth Collies and Border Collies all share similar ancestry. Shelties are NOT bred down Collies. The Shelties were developed on the Shetland Isles in a very rough region near the North Sea – the Isles are part of Scotland but quite a bit north. Part of their background includes dogs from Norway as well as the British Isles. Back then – like well over 100 years ago and more since man has been working dogs there for centuries – dogs of many breeds were crossed trying to improve working ability. Collies were too big for the Shetlands as were Border Collies so smaller dogs developed over the centuries. The Modern Sheltie is different than the original ones. But, back to the generations to fix things….

Since it is highly suspected a couple early Shelties in the US were crosses, this brought about a lot of oversized dogs. Back as early as the 1930s and 40s this happened and 60 – 70 years later, it is still a fight to keep Shelties size down to 13- 16" at the withers. Now, figure a dog can be bred at two years of age. Starting with one female, how many generations can be produced is 70 years? About 35… now, breeders are still trying to get a strong handle on size. You cannot fix traits in just three generations… It can take human generations at times. How many years later are even great Sheltie breeders struggling with size because of what happened or is suspected of happening 60 – 70 years ago???

If the CCA was truly trying to create a new breed, they would have stopped bringing in Poodle and Cocker blood a long time ago and work with the generations of crosses to create a true breeding type. Every time a poodle or cocker is brought back in, Cockapoo traits are lost. So this three generation thing is crap.



Bylaws and Code of Ethics of CCA –

GENERAL:

1. These policies set forth Breeding Standards and outline the ethical behavior expected from all member breeders.
2. Breeder(s) signatures at the bottom of this statement reflect their agreement to abide by the Code of Ethics set forth herein and to welcome site visits and inspection of the premises and records.
3. All breeding stock must be registered in the CCA registry.and database.

BREEDERS AGREE TO:
1. Truthfully represent the quality of their dogs and to refrain from any deceptive advertising and/or maligning of their competition by making false or misleading statements about person's or their dogs.
2, Be fluent with and breed with the Standards in mind.
3, Refrain from selling puppies to pet stores, commercial brokers or dealers, puppy mills, or to offer any as door or raffle prizes.
4. Be willing to take back any dog they have bred, for any reason, in their lifetime (or make suitable arrangements) rather than see it placed in a shelter.
5. Keep all dogs under clean and sanitary conditions, including housing appropriate for the climate, adequately sized run areas and encourage temperamental soundness and well being through regular daily personal contact.
6. Provide a system of identifying each dog (if over 10 dogs) by collar and tags, tattooing or microchipping. Males must be kept separate from the females so that there is no chance of breeding errors. Meticulous records must be kept. Dogs and business should be properly licensed in accordance with the laws of the community. See "Record Keeping Details."
7. Provide a high quality diet, and promote optimal health through regular worming, inoculations and periodic veterinary checks.
8. Maintain a minimum standard of yearly eye checks by a veterinary Ophthalmologist (CERF) as required to prevent the host of heritable eye disease so common in the parent breeds. Breeders who, in addition, elect to have vet checks done for hips, elbows and patellar abnormalities demonstrate that they have made every effort to assure that their dogs are healthy and have special recognition from the CCA.
9. Breed only a limited number (less than 5) of Breeds at one time.
10. Be a mentor and help breeders with less experience, remembering that once, we were all novices also.
11. Breed only non related pairs of the healthiest, best tempered dogs.
12. Breed only dogs who have reached at least the age of 1 year and until they are 8 years. Over 8, veterinary health checks are strongly recommended prior to breeding.
13. Breed only one stud dog to one female during a season. Should a second stud breed unintentionally, the pups must be sold without registration papers.
14. Consider a semiannual test for Brucella on their breeding stock.
15. Breed only dogs who are CCA registered.
16. Have a written, dated and signed contract for outside stud services between the owner(s) of the male and the female which details type of remuneration expected. (see CCA sample stud agreement)



I take a few into argument. The AKC registration of parents. Well, the AKC does not condone the crossing of breeds. Read these all carefully (the above ethics) - you will find holes in them...



No line or inbreeding…



Well, linebreeding is very valuable in a breeding program. It helps fix traits and keeps continuity. If done properly and with dogs not closely related, it can be very good. Constant outcrossing (breeding of two dogs not related at all) can make it very tough to get those traits desired and bring in things you do not want. Inbreeding is tricky and should only be done by those with a solid knowledge of breed genetics and hereditary.



http://bowlingsite.mcf.com/Genetics/Inbreeding.html



Now, the FAQs – they skew the AKC. It is hypocritical that they want dogs being used to breed cockapoos to be AKC recognized but will not try to get the breed recognized with the AKC down the road…Well, the AKC does not condone the "hybridizing" of dogs as the ACC is doing. They also lead to believe that the AKC is not for the production of companion dogs. Well, toy breeds and many other breeds are Companion dogs. The AKC is concerned with dogs being able to not only fit a standard but also perform the job bred to do if there is one.

When creating this original document, the only kennel club recognizing the Cock-a-poo that I found is the Continental Kennel Club and now the North American Kennel Club evidently recognizes them as well. (The NAKC is another registry of questionable integrity when I checked them out - all they require is that your dog was seen by a vet in the last six months - no mention of pedigrees or dogs to be registered needing to be registered with another recognized registry). The Cont KC was founded by puppy millers, brokers and breeders who lost favor with the AKC and UKC. They do not care about quality of dogs and when you get down into the club and do research and get past that great looking website, well they are a sham. I have had dealings with them and many of us have researched them. They are a joke and care about profit and not the dogs. You are finding more and more pet shop dogs CKC registered as the AKC us cracking down on mills and will suspend and ban people for unethical breeding practices when they learn about them. The CKC is not to be trusted… And this has come from people who know more about them than I do and I have researched regsitries quite a bit…

Now, this FAQ on hybrid vigor – this is a fallacy. There are so many hereditary issues that are found in many breeds that to say a cross is healthier is wrong. Yes, if there is a disease found only in Poodles, a poodle cross will not have it. But if the health issue is found in many breeds, even crosses can get it. Things like hip dysplasia are polygenetic traits so dogs can be clear but still pass HD on if the right (or wrong) breeding is made. Screening hips and only breeding clear dogs only LESSENS the chance of it being passed on, it does not eliminate it.

http://www.landfield.com/faqs/dogs-faq/mixed-breeds/cockapoos/

"Are they healthy?

Again, this is nearly impossible to predict. Some are, some are not. They are at potential risk of health problems common to either Toy Poodles or Cocker Spaniels. This can include:

* hip dysplasia

* progressive retinal atrophy

* epilepsy

* poor temperaments

* allergies

* skin and ear problems

* Legg-Calve-Perthes

* luxating patellas

* hypothyroidism

* cryptorchidism

* gastric torsion



among others. With any dog, your chance of avoiding health problems is greatly increased if the dog's ancestors and relatives (the more the better) were screened for genetic disease themselves. However, the kind of careful, knowledgable breeder who performs this kind of screening will NOT knowingly sell to someone who intends to mix breeds, so your odds of finding a "cockapoo" from generations of health-screened ancestors are so slim as to be nonexistent. And since the breeders of these mixes aren't terribly concerned with breeding to any standard, they aren't terribly concerned with screening out any of the health problems either."



I also suggest this site:

http://www.escribe.com/pets/hms/m22180.html

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Just Say NO To Designer Dogs!

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