Your Designer Dog is a Crossbred Mutt

Your Designer Dog is a Crossbred Mutt

There is an increasing trend noticed by veterinarians and dog lovers alike to charge ridiculously high prices for crossbred dogs, labelling them as 'designer dog breeds' with fancy names. This is sad because is takes advantage of people's misconceptions about what purebreds are, their health and the value of a dog.

I do not mean to imply that crossbreeds, or mutts, are worth any less as companions than their purebred relatives. I mean to imply than they are not worth the hundreds of dollars puppy mills and careless backyard breeders charge for them.

Firstly, it's well known that buying a purebred dog with registration papers is going to cost you significantly more than buying a crossbred pup from a shelter. That price difference is largely because of the registration papers which allow the dog to be registered at the local kennel council. Breeders of purebred dogs do so to improve the breed, and don't make large profits from selling the pups after feeding and vet costs are considered.

Some people think that for some reason purebreds are more vulnerable to disease, or more likely to develop medical conditions during their life. This is not true: the perception comes about because purebreds are easier to associate together as a group than mixed breeds or mutts. Crossbreeds produced from breeds which share the same predispositions for medical problems are just as likely to develop them as their purebred relatives. In many cases they are more likely to develop them because backyard breeders are unlikely to apply strict standards to their breeding animals or get them tested by the vet for hip scores, deafness, recessive genes, etc. For example, miniature poodle crosses are just as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis as the purebred miniature poodle!

Just because the dog's parents were both purebred, it doesn't mean that the pup is purebred also. A dog is only a purebred if both parents are of the same breed. A designer dog is not a breed, but a hybrid, crossbred or mutt. This misunderstanding has caused a great deal of frustration for vets and clients when the client wants their dog registered as a 'purebred cockapoo', only for the vet to tell them that there is no such thing. The dog is a crossbred consisting of cocker spaniel and poodle, and is not a purebred.

Probably the saddest thing about designer dogs is the many puppies and dogs left to die at shelters each year. Many of these dogs are mixed breeds, but because they don't have a fancy 'designer' title trendy middle class families don't think they're worth anything. For some reason that I cannot understand, people seem to think that if they pay a ridiculous price for a mutt it is somehow worth more than a needy puppy at the animal shelter.

So please don't fall for this 'designer dog' trend. Recognise the crossbreeds for what they are: loving, affectionate dogs, but in no way 'pure' and not requiring a pedigree price tag.

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