Designer Dogs & Celebrity Dogs
Celebrity Pets – The Designer Dog As An Accessory
Pets, specifically those lovable pooches, have really become a must have item for celebrities to be seen with. However more and more celebrities are moving away from the traditional or typical breeds such as the Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs and even the much larger breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Doberman Pinschers and into what are known as designer dogs. It is important to keep in mind that a designer dog, although sometimes referred to as a breed, is not a true breed, rather it is a mix between two different breeds.
Just What Is A Designer Dog?
A designer dog is really a cross breed of dog and is not a purebred, however many owners of designer dogs will indicate that their beloved canine companion is registered. For most celebrities this is absolutely correct, the dogs are registered, however they are not recognized by the major dog registries such as the various national Kennel Clubs and most of the international breed registries. Of course there are registries that do recognize and promote hybrids or designer dogs, one of the major organizations being the American Canine Hybrid Club.
Typically to be considered a hybrid or designer dog the puppy or dog must be from two distinct breeds with both the male and female already registered as purebreds of their respective breeds. If you are the first person to register a dog of the particular variation, you are able to officially name the designer dog, which has lead to some really odd titles. Within the registry it is possible to find combinations such as the Munchkin, a combination of a Chihuahua and a Bichon Frise, a Jackabee, a cross between a Jack Russell and a Beagle or even the very unusual Chiweenie, a cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund.
Celebrities and Their Designer Dogs
One of the leading causes in the rise of the popularity of designer dogs, often previously known as mixed breed or even the less flattering name of "mutts" is due to the increasing visibility of these designer breeds with celebrities. Often the crosses involve poodles, which makes the designer breed a lower shedding version of the other breed, although this is a bit of a roll of the genetic dice. Not all designer dogs will look like a cross between the two parents, some will look identical to one purebred parent or the other and some may not really resemble either parent.
Jake Gyllenhaal with Boo Radley
Some of the more famous designer dogs and their famous owners include actor Jake Gyllenhaal who owns a Puggle named Boo Radley. A Puggle is a cross between a Pug and a Beagle and are considered to be one of the more common of the designer breeds available in urban areas. Another famous actor that is all for this designer cross is Soprano's star James Gandolfini who is often seen walking and playing with his Puggle. Other Puggle owners include the famous Rocky movies actor Sylvester Stallone and actress Uma Thurman.
Mischa Barton & Ziggy
Don't think that all celebrities go for the smaller sized designer dogs, although they are the most common and popular. A much larger breed of dog, the Labradoodle, is a very popular and intelligent breed that is a cross between a Standard Poodle and a Labrador Retriever. One of the most famous sports figures, Tiger Woods, is now the proud owner of a Labradoodle and his dog is featured on many of his marketing items.
Other celebrities with designer dogs include actress Mischa Barton with her Shih Pom, Ziggie and Jessica Simpson with her famous and highly photographed Maltipoo named Daisy. The Shih Pom is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Pomeranian and a Maltipoo is a cross between a Maltese and a Miniature or Toy Poodle.
There are a great number of purebred breeders and animal rights groups that are very upset about the rising interest and demand for hybrid or designer dogs. The demand for these crosses has lead to an increase in the number of backyard breeders and puppy mills that are churning out crosses between different breeds, some which are very genetically unsound. In addition the intentional development of mixed breed dogs that are selling for thousands, yes thousands, of dollars has increased the likelihood of disreputable breeders getting involved in the fad simply to make a quick buck. The animal protection groups rightly argue that there are thousands of mixed breed dogs euthanized in shelters all over the United States on a daily basis, why create an inflated market when current lovable puppies are destroyed every single day?
Currently a Puggle, Maltipoo, Cockapoo or other smaller type of designer dog can and will sell for between $650 to $2000, with the smaller sizes typically being the more expensive. Compare this to a purebred Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, Pug or Beagle that will typically sell for less than that amount, even with championship lineage. Keep in mind that these are not true breeds, the only way to get a Puggle is to continue to cross Pugs and Beagles, two Puggles that are crossed do not breed true to the same characteristics as the parents, which is why more careful, selected breeding is needed to weed out genetic problems and eventually develop a specific breed. Some hybrids, such as the Labradoodle, which was originally bred in Australia as a specialized guide or assistance dog, is now started on the long process of becoming a true breed, but this will be generations into the future.
What Makes Designer Dogs A Hot New Fad?
There are several reasons that designer dogs are really becoming popular with celebrities and one of the major reasons is that they are cute and small dogs, ideal for traveling and being photographed with. They are also a bit different in appearance than purebreds and not the same old same old in photography shoots.
It is also important to realize that Puggles, Maltipoos, Labradoodles and Cockapoos are also, for the most part, very healthy, happy and intelligent dogs, making them good companions. Like any type of dog a designer dog will need training, ongoing socialization and lots of human companionship to be successful, so finding a designer dog that is the right size and temperament for a celebrities lifestyle ensures that this can happen, even for people that do a lot of traveling and work long hours.
Since designer dogs are noted for their combination of characteristics of two different breeds, owners and breeders are able to combine characteristics to take the best of both breeds, or at least that is the theory. In reality breeding two different breeds typically results in some puppies that are mixes of the best of both, some puppies that are mixes of the worst of both and some puppies that are just like one of the parents. Breeds that are closer in appearance and temperament to each other are more likely to produce puppies that are similar to both breeds, hence the popularity of the Puggle.
People also need to keep in mind that mixed breeds or designer dogs are living animals and need all the care and attention of purebreds or of Heinz 57 mixes. Celebrities are able to afford the high cost of a designer cross, but that doesn't mean that non-celebrities can't also own their own Puggle or Morkies (Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers), there are often many of these designer crosses patiently waiting for adoption at local animal shelters and rescues.
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