Friday, February 21, 2014

Doodle Dilemma Part 2

Recently, there has been a trend toward "purpose bred" mixed breed dogs for sport (most commonly flyball or sometimes agililty).  The most recent article I read on this topic pointed out that some of these breeders used healthy, well-cared for dogs with health clearances and did all the things that responsible breeders of purebred dogs do.  They make the point that there is no cut-off date for creation of new breeds.  But the question is does all this make it "ok?"

While I understand that these people are trying to produce a dog with a specific purpose in mind, that purpose is, for all intents and purposes, a game, hobby, or recreational activity. I mean, we're not talking about working farm dogs, military dogs, police dogs, service dogs or other dogs that in some way benefit society.  Can we really justify producing more mixed breed dogs for the sole purpose of playing games while there are millions of these same dogs available in shelters?  I appreciate the good intentions but when you are mixing two very different types of dogs together you have no idea what you are going to get.  What if they don't turn out like you planned?  What if they don't excel at said sport? Then what happens?  You don't get a black and white dog by breeding a black dog to a white dog-it's just not that simple. And not to belittle flyball but we need a specific breed of dog to jump 4 hurdles and fetch a ball from a box?

There is no guarantee that your $1000 purebred dog, your $1000 "well-bred" mixed breed dog, your purebred rescue, or your mixed breed shelter puppy is going to perform up to your expectations, not get injured, or be healthy.  You can sometimes tip the odds in your favor with a responsibly bred purebred.  But only sometimes.  I have seem some very expensive dogs with bad injuries or illnesses.  In the end you are better off to seek the dog that has the qualities you are looking for, regardless of where is comes from (bad breeders excluded of course!) and in the price range you can afford.  There is no need to try and create one out of two very different dogs and hope for the best.  If health concerns factor in many shelters and rescue would be happy to  have the testing you want done perfomed.  Even if you have to pay for it, you are likely going to get a better deal on your "Border Jack" from the shelter than from a "breeder."  

And they can harp on genetics all they want as far as health concerns go, but genetic disease are tricky, and can come back to haunt you.  There is a recessive gene in Chinese Crested dogs that causes a fatal, progressive brain disease.  There is a recessive gene in Kerry Blue Terriers that causes a fatal, progressive brain disease.  Do you know how they determined that this is the same gene?  They bred a carrier of each breed together.  This could happen in other breeds unknowingly.  Aren't we better off to focus on eliminating diseases in breeds we know about instead of accidently creating more problems?
By and large most dogs today are pets.  Even "working" sport dogs.  And there are hundreds of breeds available to choose from.  If none of those are what you want then there are literally millions of unique mixes available for adoption.  And beyond this we often tout dog sports like agility or flyball as something any dog can do-so what does it say when all of sudden we decide that no current dog on the planet is good enough and everyone needs to have a dog that looks and acts specifically like "dog x" to compete effectively?  At this time, my opinion is that we don't need to create more breeds of dogs.  Obviously some will debate that, but they can start their own blog!


Karissa said...

My first instinct is the same as yours - I see no purpose for breeding mixed breed dogs on purpose. However, then I think of my history in the horse world, where cross breeding is widely accepted if not encouraged. You can breed a thoroughbred with anything and get what most people consider an "improvement" upon the original. I owned a Percheron/TB cross myself, who was bred by a farm with a very nice draft cross sporthorse program. People cross various warmblood breeds together for dual registration and to get desired characteristics.

So yes, I'm conflicted. Why am I pro "mixed breed" horses but totally anti mixing poodles with anything? I don't know, maybe it had something to do with the numbers produced (1 vs many). Or maybe because any idiot can have a dog and it's a bit harder to own a horse? Not really sure.

For some reason, purpose-bred sport dogs bother me far less than all of the Doodles. Maybe it just comes down to the fact that the average owner seems more responsible. The working border collie crowd thinks it's a travesty that people are breeding border collies solely for sport purposes, so is it really much different? I don't think these purpose bred dogs are the ones ending up in shelters because they tend to be placed in screened sport homes. It's the people breeding for cute names that you have to worry about.

Nicki said...

I Agree with a lot of that. The doodles are definitely a worse problem, and these purpose bred dogs are not as likely to end up in a shelter. And again I don't really have an issue with the horse thing, probably for the same reasons you stated. I guess my thinking is you can find a flyball dog in the pound a lot easier than you can find a superior hunter jumper floating around Craigslist or wherever. I just can't buy into this right now, even if its "less" of a problem. But again, that's just me!

And another good point-should we breed border collies, etc. specifically for agility vs herding? Maybe not-maybe that's how we get some of these over the top crazy, aggressive dogs with no regard for their bodies that get hurt all the time?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nicki. She is right.


Tracy said...

It seems like folks find out about purpose mixes every year or two and blog about it.

And for some reason the blogs also all stated something like "recently" but actually they've been breeding mixes for flyball since the late 1990's. So it's not recent.

At this point with some of the common F1 mixes (Boderjack, Borderstaffy) there is a type going on. You can see common behavior traits and a common look. I don't know how that works but it does.

Elizabeth said...

ahh the Doodles, we see more and more almost every week on our Addison Dogs list. People don't join our list for entertainment or to make new friends..