Designer dogs? These dogs are showing up everywhere. No these dogs are not sold in malls with names like Calvin Klein. You also won’t find these dogs on the cover of Vogue. What you will find as you research these designer dogs is that a lot of chance goes into getting what you want out of a litter.
No matter what cute name they are given, they are a cross-bred canine. Some of the more popular varieties are the “poo” versions and the “oodle” breeds. Cross breeds that have done well in the past include the “Schnoodle” which is a Poodle and a Miniature Schnauzer, the “Maltipoo” which is a Poodle and a Maltese, the “Shorkie” which is a poodle and a Maltese, the “Goldendoodle” which is a Poodle and a Golden Retriever, the “Puggle” which is a Beagle and a Pug, and the “Labradoodle” which is a cross between the Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle cross.
How do genetics play a part in designer dogs? Canine genetics are made up of 78 chromosomes made up from 39 pairs or sets. Dogs receive half of the chromosomes they get from their father and the other half from their mother. Chromosomes have the puppy’s DNA which we know defines its genetic makeup and characteristics.
The characteristics the puppy receive varies from one litter to the next. Some pups from the same litter will look nothing at all alike. This is because they get their chromosomes in a random chance order. There are over one billion combinations of the DNA make-up that the puppy will receive, making it almost impossible to have two puppies from the same litter with the same characteristics or combination of chromosomes. Some puppies will be more like their father and some will have more characteristics of the mother.
Designer dogs are created by the breeding of two different breeds of purebred dogs. The puppies are then considered to be first-generation designer dogs. Unfortunately these puppies will not turn out the same every time. This first-generation line have more genes in their chromosome pool , making them more susceptible to the random choice characteristics. When generations are bred down by using the offspring of theses puppies (sometimes 2nd cousins), you will find that they become increasingly more alike in characteristics and chromosomes. This is due to the later generations having a smaller gene pool. It will take many generations of a hybrid designer dog to be considered a “true” breed.
Why would a breeder want to breed designer dogs? Designer dogs are bred for certain reasons. Some breeders may be trying to breed out the recessive gene that causes disease. Other breeders are trying to create the ultimate dog, one that does not shed and is also disease free. This was the main reason for the “oodles” hybrid originally.
Now breeders of hybrid designer dogs are even breeding for purposes of creating the ideal family dog. If you look up a Golden Retriever you will find that they are one of the best family dogs you could choose. The Lab is loyal, gentle, reliable with children and also very intelligent, making it an excellent choice for a family, however, they have one major flaw, they shed. By breeding the Lab with a Poodle, which is known for his intelligence, easy temperament, and non shedding qualities, breeders hope for a combination that is an intelligent, non shedding, and all around a wonderful family dog.
The American Canine Hybrid Club has well over one hundred different hybrids registered with their association. This club is having difficulties establishing standards for people in the market for a designer dog. When buying a designer dog, you will want to make sure that the puppy has the most desirable characteristics of both purebred lines and not the least desirable qualities.
Prospective buyers of these designer dogs should research the breeders to find out how other pups from this line of breeding has turned out in the past. Be sure to ask the breeder if they have done all the genetic screening to ensure there will be no orthopedic, eye or other breed specific diseases.
Breeders are striving to get their designer dog breed to be recognized by the national kennel clubs. One day your cross bred hybrid designer dog may be recognized as a full bred, registered with all of the kennel clubs.