DESIGNER BREEDS vs. “MUTTS”
In the past years, the popularity of “Designer Breeds” have exploded. Talking to many people the phrase is commonly “ we used to call them mutts”. If we consider that the breeds that are known NOW as purebreds, were a mix or hybrid many years ago, some not so long ago.
As with most other “breeds”, man has put his hands in to alter nature, creating new breeds to resolve some issues of concern. Many breeds have developed “breed problems” as man continued to “perfect” his vision of a dog. For instance, let’s quickly view the pug. Such a bright and loving little breed!! However, the short snout creates a rough breathing issue, inability to cool with no way to pass warm air through zero length muzzle, not allowing the air to cool, Pugs snort and snore, have large bugged out eyes which, not uncommonly, can pop out due to trauma. Pekingese have a dwarfed bone structure as well as the eye and nose issues of the pug. Now , and for quite a few years, breeds such as these, have been bred with other breeds to minimize these issues. We often see Puggles( Pug/Beagle), which elongates the nose and decreases the bulging eyes. Puggles have been an extremely popular Designer breeds due to their happy demeanor and adorable appearance.
Poodles are bred with many breeds, to attempt to create more non-shedding breeds. Peke-a-poos frequently non-shedding and the nose most often, in longer, avoiding the breathing issues. Cock-a-poos are another hybrid breed that has been in existence for decades. Again, searching for the perfect puppy, bringing a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle
Having just reviewing some of the objectives of hybrid or designer breeds, in comparison, a “mutt” is a dog of unknown parentage , or mixed just for fun with no true interest of the future outcome. The old “heinz 57”breeds, as they were known in the past, frequently a person’s female breeding with a unknown male, of an unknown breed. Very possibly there are numerous breed genetics involved (hence, the heinz 57). Much of the difference between a mutt versus a designer breed is a positive purpose for the genetics of the puppies created.
Also, the knowledge of genetics, the the realization that breeding is NOT like mixing paint. I have been frequently asked, “if I breed my white dog with this black dog, what color will the puppies be?” Genetics are not mixing paints, Dominant genes, recessive genes, this is much more complicated than red and yellow makes orange. This is the other difference in true designer puppy breeders, above that of mistaken breeding. Breeding designer puppies, or even purebred puppies should, should always be purposeful. If one is not breeding with noble intentions, they should have their dogs neutered.
One of the most notable designer breeds are the “Doodles”, labradoodle and goldendoodle. Labs and Golden Retrievers have been used as service dogs since Helen Keller instilled the importance of service dogs. Dogs are used now, not only for the blind, but hearing, seizure dogs, PTSD aide,wheelchair bound people, and MANY more. By mixing a Lab with a standard Poodle can create a service dog that may be non-shedding and allergy friendly! Just think how that could open the world to those who could not have a dog to help them through the lack of ability in areas of their lives. The joy must have been ecstatic to receive the word that a whole new world had opened for these people who had allergies, and shedding maintenance difficulties. Also, keeping in mind that Poodles, a very intelligent breed, are in three sizes, toy, miniature, and standard.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Bichon Cavachon
There are breeds that originated thousands of years ago, and some AKC registered breeds that were accepted just this past years. There are breeds that have been in existence for centuries or more that are not acknowledged by the more well known registries such as the AKC.
How much different is there in creating or designing newer breeds, than the breeds we easily recognize, that were man-developed a century or more ago.
Man has always worked on creating species to fit the circumstances in which he lives. Dogs were and always will be manipulated to fit into the lifestyles of humans. As with everything, some changes are welcome and benefit the animal and the public, others are not. However, needs precede design, and not all designs are viable, but many are important to our wellbeing. Designer dog breeding with intent of improving the breeds is an honorable pursuit, but randomly allowing dogs to breed with disregard, with no forethought or plan, is breeding a MUTT.