So called ‘designer dogs’ have always been a popular topic in the news and yet again this week we’ve seen articles about the latest crossbreeds that are available, each with a more ridiculous name than the last. We just want to share our opinion on the topic so please bear this in mind as you read on. Of course, if you can, we would always advocate adopting from a rescue center or breed specific rescue organisation (Des and Eve were adopted through a poodle rescue organisation) but we recognize that this is not the right choice for everyone. For the sake of this article we will be using poodle cross puppies as an example but our views apply to all crossbreed puppies. Most of the photos in this article were taken by Colin’s breeder and she has very kindly let me use them for this article, they are a very small selection of the photos she uploaded to her website between the date Colin was born and the day we took him home. The others were taken by me during our three visits. They show both Colin’s development and the fabulous environment that Sabrina’s puppies are brought into.
We have nothing against crossbreeds, as you will all know by now, Colin himself is a poodle border collie cross, what we are against is the indiscriminate cross breeding of dogs simply to line pockets. Just because you can cross two breeds of dog doesn’t mean you should. Far too often you hear about families off to buy a cockerpoo or labradoodle having been enticed with pictures of teddy bear-faced, fluffy puppies they’ve seen online. They arrive at what seems to be a loving, caring home, are overwhelmed by the gorgeous puppies and 20 minutes later they are back on the road with their new puppy. What they may not know is that they may have just bought a puppy from a puppy farm. Puppy farmers are experts at deceiving their customers. The new puppy parents have potentially not seen the environment in which the pups are being kept, they may not have even seen the mother and they probably don’t even know that they should ask for proof of health testing. They will almost definitely have paid an outrageous price for their adorable new puppy and unfortunately the chances of these puppies developing issues later in life, both medical and behavioral, is high. Many pups from a puppy farm breeding program have been documented as falling ill and dying mere weeks after their families took them home. You only have to search ‘puppy mill’ on Google to read hundreds of horror stories, each more upsetting that the last. These poor puppies have probably had no proper socialisation, they may have never left the kennel they were born in, the parents and pups are often kept in unacceptable conditions and this can lead to major issues. It is also necessary to say that bad breeding also occurs in pedigree dogs, not just cross breeds. Luckily, when it comes to pedigree puppies you can look for a breeder that is Kennel Club registered which has guidelines in place to help ensure responsible breeding. Unfortunately, as crossbreed puppies are not pedigrees, there is little by way of regulation of breeding. There are no compulsory health checks, no restrictions on the number of litters a bitch can have, sadly these so called ‘designers dogs’ are the perfect venture for puppy farmers.
Sadly, this gives any breeder that wishes to produce crossbreed pups a very bad name within the dog community. There are some fabulous breeders out there that breed crossbreeds and do not let snotty breed purists tell you any differently. Since Colin came home from his amazing breeder, Sabrina Green, we have met a number of other breeders via our social media channels and blog who all take great care of their puppies. DNA testing, health testing, hip scoring, eye testing, temperament assessments; these are just some of the things that breeders have to do before they even consider mating two dogs. Just because they are crossing two breeds does not mean that the puppies are going to be free of health issues as potential puppy families may have been led to believe. Any responsible breeder will do all the health tests recommended for both breeds before mating, the same as any responsible pedigree breeder would do. For poodles these include; hip and elbow scoring, prcd-PRA eye testing, as well as testing for a number of genetic diseases including Von Willebrand disease Type I and Degenerative Myelopathy. You should always ask to see the certificates from these tests and, if the parents are pedigree, you should ask to see their registration papers. Email some breeders, ask if you can go and visit them, a good breeder will have nothing to hide. Ask questions and expect to be asked questions back, a good breeder will be interested in where their puppy is going and should want to make sure that they are sending their puppies to a happy home. Also ask about what would happen if you can no longer keep your puppy, sometime situations arise that mean you can no longer care for them, a good breeder will take the puppy back at any point in its life so they do not end up in a rescue shelter. Do not restrict your search by distance from your home if possible, the best puppies may come from breeders on the other side of the country.
The initial reason we fell in love with Colin’s breeder, Sabrina, was her website. She is so open about her breeding practice, when she has puppies she posts photos and videos a few times a week so everyone can see them grow and thrive. From her website you can tell that she does everything she can to produce well adjusted, healthy puppies and all her dogs and puppies have everything they could wish for. Even now (over 18 months since we picked Colin up) we still speak to Sabrina most weeks. She also has a wealth of information on her website about her dogs and how she raises her puppies. Her website is http://green85.beepworld.de. In our humble opinion, she is a prime example of what you should look for in a breeder, pedigree or otherwise.
Just to clarify, we love all dogs. We love poodle and poodle crosses, when well bred they are fantastic dogs! If you want a poodle cross then go for it, there are hundreds of lovely, healthy puppies born every year. Also consider why you want a poodle cross, if it’s purely the low shedding then consider a purebred poodle, they are fabulous dogs and with three different sizes there’s one that is suitable for every family. If you’ve really got your heart set on cockerpoo, cavapoo, labradoodle or any other poodle cross (and lets face it they re undeniably cute) then go for it, our one hope is that you do your research. We did ours and we ended up with a pup that is one in a million. All the months of research, months of waiting for his birth, the eight long weeks before he was ready to come home were all completely worth it. We drove a total of just under 900 miles before we got him home; one visit before he was born, one to meet him when he was 6 weeks old and a final visit to bring him home at 8 weeks old. Every time we were beyond impressed with Sabrina, her dogs and of course her puppies. I know that he came from a breeder that does her best for every single pup that leaves her home; they are all healthy, well socialised and ready for anything the world can throw at them.
For more information on puppy farms and how to avoid them please have a read of some of the articles below before you set the plan to get a puppy in motion. The only way to stop puppy farming is to stop buying puppies from them.
Oh and they need to stop with this whole ‘designer dogs’ nonesense. They are crossbreeds.