What are designer dog breeds?
What is a "Designer Dog"?
They are very cute, adorable, unique and different. They are designer dog breeds. Their number one purpose; To be adorable and be the latest fashion accessory. Thousands of these designer breeds are created and sold at very high prices throughout the world every day.
A designer dog is bred without the best interest of the dog taken into account and is sold to generate profit.
I can't help but be conflicted about designer dog breeds, on one hand, you don't like that breeders create these animals for profit, and on the other, they are dogs just like any other, and deserve all the love and attention in the world. And somehow it feels like the dogs get blamed and demonised for being who they are. Like they should never have existed.
How did we get to have domesticated dogs in the first place?
Dogs have been interbred for centuries to develop new breeds for a particular purpose. Herding dogs, Sled dogs, Gun dogs, all bred for a purpose. And so today, we have the Labrador, Border Collie, Beagle and so on. All recognised dog breeds that were bred by mixing up other (similar and dissimilar) breeds. But the difference was purpose. A degree of "science" or trial and error, was a part of that breeding as well. By mixing breeds with tendencies and temperaments together to get a new breed with those temperaments was calculated and trailed to derive the desired outcome and create an animal with a purpose.
The difference between a designer dog and a recognised breed, is this question; Are the dogs being bred for a purpose, or for profit? And that is the distinction. But we should not think less of the dogs themselves because of the modivations of the breeders!
Designer dogs are not bred with any mechanical purpose and begin with someone asking "What would happen if we breed a Siberian Husky with a Pomeranian" and ends with "We could make so much money selling those". The result is a dog with tendencies and temperaments that can't be predicted and those issues aren't found in the "brochure".
Longevity, health, temperament… these are things that would not be considered in a "designer dog", and the result can be a beautiful, cute, loveable, cuddly, pocket puppy... that howls at the moon, or develops medical issues, or has serious behaviour issues.
The "Stop Puppy Farms" Revolution
Today, we have many groups of people who want to stop puppy farms, and with good reason. Unscrupulous breeders are breeding new dogs relentlessly under terrible conditions. It's a real thing, and it really happens. These animals live in poor conditions, never get to run or play, never get to have love and attention from a family. They are production lines, and they are treated like it.
The issue I have with this revolution is that is aims to make all unregistered dog breeding illegal. Meaning if you have a male and female dog at home and she gets pregnant, it could be illegal. While there are many great dogs waiting for homes in animal shelters it seems silly to breed your two dogs together and sell the puppies. But that happens too. And mostly it's harmless.
Where designer dogs fit in is unscrupulous breeders who take two different dogs, like a pomeranian and a husky and breed them together to get a pomski. People have issue with that kind of interbreeding. The reason, to me, is that the intent of the offspring is to sell at high prices to make money from people who don't know any better.
The simple fact of the matter is, interbreeding is how we have our "pure" breeds today. And our "pure" breed dogs are suffering too. But not from puppy farms, but from registered breeders that breed parents and siblings together, over and over in order to keep the blood lines pure. This inbreeding causes genetic defects and issues for these purebred dogs. The Pug is so inbred that out of the 10,000 Pugs in all of England, their gene pool is the equivalent of only 50 individuals. The BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed revealed that prized Cavalier King Charles Spaniel suffered from a genetic defect called Syringomyelia, which causes their brain to grow to big for their skull. This dog was allowed to compete in competition even with this painful disorder.
What we know today is that mix breed dogs have a stronger immune system, and the diverse gene pool for intermixed dogs means that they have the best chance of survival in the long run.
It's that reason that I don't really have a problem with designer dog breeds, every dogs is a mix breed, it's only the pure bred dogs that are more inbred than others. This apparently is more acceptable.
Mix breed dogs are very common, and not unusual at all. But designer dogs are exclusive, expensive and a "must have" item or fashion accessory, and that's what makes it wrong. The dogs are fine, it's the people who want to be exclusive and are willing to pay top dollar for that exclusivity who are the problem, and if you pay top dollar for an exclusive breed, you keep the factory going.
I say, don't call them names like "abomination", "disaster", "mongrel", "mutts" or "fails", as some (so-called) dog lovers do, and don't treat them like they shouldn't exist.
Love and admire them for who they are. And shun anyone who puts their own vanity above the care and well-being of a dog.