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Lil' Buddy's Blog: The Trouble with Those "Designer Dogs" - Things You Should Know!


Buddy Holly Moss Scans The Chicago Trib - 06-14-2007Good Morning, Dogs & Humans!  Figured I'd catch up on the Business Section of the Chicago Tribune before the phones got too crazy this morning.

Are you a "Designer Dog?"  You know, a combination of two dog breeds, with the goal of making you a better, and more human-friendly dog in general.  Humans - perhaps you know a "Hybrid Dog" or two, or even have them living in your home.

For years now, several specific breeds have been combined for their non-shedding coats, there resistance to certain dog diseases, and the fact they might be hypo-allergenic (to humans, that is).

You'll find these designer combined breeds all over - whether in the tony Chicago Gold Coast Neighborhood, the North Side Neighborhoods of Lincoln Park or Ravenswood, or the affluent Chicago Suburbs of Oak Park, Naperville, or Winnetka.

Humans buying these designer hybrid dogs pay a lot of money for them - often in excess of $3,000!  The big designer breeds combine we Pekingese and Poodle, to create a Peke-a-Poo.  Or a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, to make a Labra-doodle.  Or a little pug with a beagle - voilà, a Puggle!

Lately, however the Humane Society of the United States has become concerned.  Many of these designer pets are raised at exploitive, unsanitary "Puppy Mills," they worry.  The dogs here may be or are likely to become ill, or mis-tempered.

What's a "Puppy Mill"?  The Humane Society defines one as any operation-licensed or unlicensed-where animals are continually confined, kept solely for breeding and socially or physically neglected. The Society estimates there are about 10,000 such puppy mills nationwide.

As demand for special pets in major cities explodes, many rural puppy breeders have popped up to satisfy these mainly-affluent buyers. 

Kathleen Summers, Deputy Director of the Humane Society's "Stop Puppy Mills" campaign, warns puppy buyers to closely investigate pet stores or Internet operations selling pets.  Some, but not all, keep their bred animals in less-than-acceptable conditions.

In my blog post at BlogChicagoHomes.com last night, I reviewed a couple of examples of humans encountering considerable health issues with their new designer-bred puppy. 

Tracy Mattes of the Chicago Suburb of Woodridge IL found her cockapoo, Jake, at a suburban pet shop three years ago. Within a few months, however, Mattes noticed her puppy had begun to suffer a number of serious, and very costly, health problems. Jake developed severe allergies, a juvenile cataract, a digit on his paw that needed to be removed and a kneecap that popped out of place.

"His veterinarian bills are through the roof," Mattes said.

On top of Jake's nearly $700 price tag charged by the pet shop, Mattes has spent upwards of $6,000 in surgeries and other specialized vet care. Today, Jake has to take two medications each day and requires at least once-monthly checkups.

I found another example of a puggle owner in Chicago Suburban Indian Head Park IL who was told her pug/beagle puppy would grow to no more than 30 pounds.  Today, her dog Rocky checks in at 51 pounds, and he hasn't swallowed a Porterhouse steak in his entire life!

According to Yrval Nir, a dog and cat vet in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, "I've heard of the breeding of dogs that don't drool."    That's hard to believe, he continued.

The veterinarian strongly suggested that new puppy buyers consult their vet before buying any new puppy.  Even the most meticulous breeder, he says, can't exactly predict a parents' offspring.  "It's just like saying the kid is going to be the parents," he said.

That has rarely worked for humans, and it rarely works for us dogs, too!

You want a great dog?  Why not a cute lil' Pekingese, like me? 

(BTW . . .  if you happen to find one, and she's female - can you send her by - some nights, I get a bit lonely, if you know what I mean!)

Check out my BlogChicagoHomes.com post yesterday for more information, as well as a link to a story and video by Melissa Patterson in last Wednesday's Chicago Tribune.

Enjoy the weekend, you dogs!  Let's bark again next week!



Comment balloon 2 commentsDean Moss • July 25 2008 11:15AM


Dean this is a great message.  Pure and purposed 'designer' breeds are proven to be more costly than mutts (up front and later with medical).  You'll find this out if you ever try to get pet insurance for a full breed animal verses mixed.  Moreover, concerns with overpopulation are ever looming.  I ask all my friends considering a specific breed to try at least one breed specific rescue group or even the pound/humane society before making their decision.  It's amazing what they find... and the breed they thought they must have is often not the breed you come home with at all... you know, they wind up loving them all the same in the end.

Posted by Sara Goodwin, Portland, Oregon Appraiser (Ashcroft & Associates) over 10 years ago

Dean, I am entirely in favor of licensing for dog breeders.  They should first be trained, and their facilities should be open to inspection.  No one could legally buy a pure-bred pet from a non-licensed breeder.  There are thousands and thousands of animals euthanized every year because of over breeding and careless breeding.  So sad!!

Posted by Sallie Williams, REALTOR - MBA, Baton Rouge (Keller Williams Realty RED STICK PARTNERS) over 10 years ago

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