Vents

A Note About Designer Dogs

I love all dogs. I love them when they’re short, tall, aloof, exuberant, purebred, mix breed and everything in between. My wish for every dog in the world is that they be healthy, happy and loved.

So when you see me post about “designer dogs” labeling them as mixed breeds, please don’t misunderstand me. I believe that all dogs are equal in the amount of love and care they need. I believe that they are beautiful creatures who deserve the best life possible. I believe that most people who get a dog are doing the best they know how.

I am not angry at cockapoos or bernedoodles.

I am angry at the person who took two unhealth-tested dogs of different breeds and bred them together for no other purpose than to make money.  I’m angry at how easy it will be for these puppies to go to homes that are not prepared for the work that a puppy brings. I’m angry that some unsuspecting family saved up their money and paid hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for a dog with no health clearances, no guarantees and no breeder support.

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Matted “Doodle” at the groomers. Often the poodle hair and golden fur don’t mix well and uneducated owners don’t maintain a grooming schedule, resulting in unhealthy matting.

I’m angry that many of the new owners are never educated about what the puppy needs to be happy and healthy. I’m angry that these new owners will not have an experienced, knowledgeable breed expert on call to answer questions about the dog. I’m angry that if the new owner decides they were not ready for the puppy it will very likely end up in a shelter. I’m angry that once money changes hands and that puppy leaves its mother, it will not have an advocate.

That is why I try to inform people about responsible breeding. Why pay thousands for a cute name when instead your money could bring you a healthy puppy with a sound temperament and the lifelong support of an experienced, knowledgeable breed expert?

Soon I plan to address the question, “What is a responsible breeder” Does it exist? What does it mean? How do you find one?

NEXT POST:  Is There a Right Way To Love Your Dog?

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12 thoughts on “A Note About Designer Dogs”

  1. Yes there are “Responsible Breeders”, these are the people who pay for the required health testing for their breed, research pedigree’s to find the mate that will improve their lines (which may incur getting sperm from across the country), have a healthy appreciation for both the positive and negative conformation of their dogs (are not kennel blind), and perform both conformation and performance with their breed to insure that it is as close to breed standard as possible. The best way to find a good breeder is to go to the breed website, and then research the breeder that meets your needs (again, this may be one that is across country).

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    1. And don’t forget to “vet” or investigate your breeder. I was so pleased when I heard one of my puppy buyers was doing that. It showed me she was smart, cared about the dog she would get and was willing to put in the time and effort to get the right one. Any breeder that takes offense to that, in my opinion, should be avoided.

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  2. I agree with all of what was said. But I think that the reputable breeders are doing a disservice to dogs also. By putting the price of a puppy so high that most families can not afford to buy a puppy from them. I do know that the cost of having a litter of pups is quite costly if the breeder does what they should do to raise a healthy happy puppy. But I don’t think that the cost is so extravagant that a “pet ” quality should be as high as some of the breeders feel is necessary. I do believe that you can make money off a litter without bankrupting the buyer to do so. I do feel that is necessary to charge a reasonable amount to ensure the puppies are to go to a good home…if you pay enough for a pet, you will take care of it.”

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    1. Cyndi – I can only speak for myself as a breeder, but I’d like to address your assertion that breeders price their dogs with an eye to profit.

      I price my Newfoundland puppies in line with what other responsible breeders sell their puppies at – actually I’m on the low end of the range. I’ve never made a profit on a litter, and and actually lost money on my last one. Here’s why responsibly bred dogs are so pricey (costs vary by breeder; these are mine) :

      Purchase of well-bred female: $2,500
      Cost of showing the dog to its championship: up to $1,000 (you show your dog to prove that it was bred to conform to the breed standard)
      Health testing: $1,500 (depending on breed. Some are more expensive)
      Study of pedigrees to ensure the best of your dog is combined with the best of the stud: No money, but but hundreds of hours of time.
      Stud fee: the price of a puppy – the same as the original purchase of my dog – $2,500
      Collection of semen and shipping: $500
      Veterinary insemination: up to $1,000, depending on procedure
      Veterinary checks during pregnancy: up to $500
      If the mother whelps naturally with no problems, it just takes your time to care for her during whelping. But if there are problems, an emergency c-section can cost up to $5,000.
      Round-the-clock post-partum care: if you can do it yourself, and that’s great, but almost everyone I know needs some help. For the first 3-4 weeks expect to spend $500.
      One of my puppies needed to have some surgery before she went to her new home: $1,000 (I did not add that to the price of the puppy).

      Not every breeder puts this level of investment/effort into their dogs, but in my opinion, they should. I tell my puppy buyers that the puppy is free – what they pay for is the care and attention I gave to the mother and the litter from the beginning, my availability for questions 24/7, my willingness to take the puppy back for any reason – it’s no questions asked. And the result of all this effort is that the puppy has the best start in life – including a health guarantee.

      After you read this, you take a look on some of the ‘classifieds’ and see if any have parents who have titles or health testing done. Sure – you can buy an $800 Newfoundland puppy. But you won’t get health testing, prenatal care, and it’s likely that any pup that may need veterinary intervention will not get it. Nor is it likely that the mother will have help if she’s in distress during whelping.

      I’m not saying that your $800 puppy won’t be healthy, I and I can’t say that the reponsibly-bred puppy will be free of issues. But the law of averages indicates that you get what you pay for. I call it the buy-now-pay-later plan. Chances are that if you pay less for a purebred dog at the beginning you are more likely to pay much more to fix the health issues that the cheaper pup has as it grows older. I’ve seen this time and time again with the less-responsibly bred dogs that wind up in our breed rescue. All dogs deserve to be loved and have a great life, and but it makes sense to me that we give them the best chance of doing so with responsible breeding.

      Sorry for the long response – I felt it needed to be said.

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    2. Most quality breeders do not make money on litters, when they do have litters, they do it to better their breed. A quality breeder doesn’t have many litters at all. The cost of all the health and genetic testing (elbows, hips, eyes, genetic disorders and more) and all health care is a ton. Doodles for example people pay outrageous amounts for…I have heard people say $3,000-$5,000. That much for a dog with no health testing and are from 2 breeds with diffrent hip structure and 2 sets of genetic disasters? That is a medical disaster waiting to happen! They cost way more than a poodle with health tested parents. Knowledge is power…unless you know what it actually takes maybe don’t say people charge too much.

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  3. While I agree that you should investigate thoroughly before purchasing a dog, it is very easy for a breeder to do this with purebreds as well. I think you should have emphasised less on the type of dog and more on ethics in breeding.

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  4. At dog classes tonight , this subject was brought up and everyone agreed there needs to be some sort of control to stop unethical and or ignorant people breeding and owning dogs. I’m a groomer and the amount of calls I get telling me ‘ I have one of these new breeds’, ummm sorry they are not a breed, they are two or more breeds mixed together and called by a made up name, so that an irresponsible person, can exploit the dogs, and make a heap of money , without any of the genetic testing or temp checks a responsible breeder does. Then I get told I don’t know what I’m talking about and they’ll go to a groomer that knows about dogs and breeds……..sigh ……you just can’t tell some people.

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