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Designer Dogs & Celebrity Dogs

Updated on August 21, 2015

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.

Labradoodle_Scrappy copyright Endlessdan at en.wikipedia,
Labradoodle_Scrappy copyright Endlessdan at en.wikipedia,

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.

The Controversy

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?


Maltipoo (Maltepoo)

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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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Unfortunately, this may not result in you getnitg rid of the fleas. We got a new puppy about 4 months ago and our other dog never had a problem with fleas before. When we got the puppy he had fleas but we couldn't treat them because he was too young for most medicines. Now that he's older we've tried twice now to put drops on both dogs and given them the pills that are supposed to kill the fleas within 3 hours. We sprayed all the carpets and linens in the house for fleas and put poison in the yard and watered it in. Then we vaccumed up the dead fleas or what we could and changed bed linens and anything else we could think of. I even sprayed his stuffed bunny. They were better for a few days but they both still have a few fleas. I guess we will continue the entire process again and again until they're gone. But hopefully you can spray and poison the yard and vacuum and you'll be good. Was this answer helpful?

    • profile image

      Registered hybrid breeder 

      8 years ago

      I am a breeder of pedigree registered hybrid dogs.

      I breed snow shepherds and they are the healthiest dogs I have ever seen, we are not unscrupulous or backyard breeders or puppy mills because we breed them thankyou.

      we pay for hip and elbow scoring,ultrasounds,vaccinations,microchipping,to quality food,we provide puppy packs and everything you could think of, plus our puppies are raised in our home they have their own puppy room. we have 3 breeding dogs in total. we pay for pedigreee papers just like the purebred community does we actually pay for a lot more then they do they think because a champion label is on the pedigree they can skimp out on everything else, what a load of rubbish, the most unscrupulous breeders i have seen have been ankc and akc etc breeders who only care about ribbons not the health and well being of the dogs.

      I have sold to the police force, the army, rspca workers you name it because we are reputable and responsible.

      and as for the comment by the "trainer" your telling me you have never met a disgruntled purebred dog ay??? haha rubbish!

    • celebritie profile image


      8 years ago

      designer dogs get all the attention and they are spoiled too!

    • Shelly Bryant profile image

      Shelly Bryant 

      10 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai

      My hybrid dog — a Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier mix — was the best dog I've ever had. She was a nice blend of the two parent breeds, and fit perfectly into my lifestyle. She was healthy throughout her life, extremely intelligent, undemanding, and fun to have in the house.

      She lived together with my other dog, a Pomeranian, all of her life. Everyone else finds him the prettier one, but she was certainly cute, and had admirers of her own.

      The two got along very well, but she did display a jealous streak sometimes.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      11 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Thanks poodleguru for that info - very useful! I'm working my way through the mixed breeds at the moment so there will be lots more of these pages!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This was a very good article. Until recently I worked at a veterinary clinic. The last couple of years there was a dramatic increase of "designer dogs". As a rule a mixed breed doesn't have as many health problems as a purebred dog - but it is a mixed breed and there is no guarantee in how the adult dog will look. I have seen some very cute designer dogs and some that were not so cute, even from the litter. I think the prices that people are paying for these mixed-breeds is absurd.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      For ten years I have worked with dogs, presently having over 40 rescue dogs. I have never seen a nasty dog, hybrid or purebred, that did not have improper training or abuse as a puppy or young dog first. Genetically, the hybrid is slightly better as they take the best of both sides for a tougher little dog. Purebreds have been known to breed "too much" down their lineage to get the JUST RIGHT look! Yes, many hybrids are not as cute as others such as when the cockapoo originally started. But many hybrids are begun at the request of private owners, for one reason or another. It is a matter of personal taste is all.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Designer dogs are also notorious for being a haven for puppy millers and bad breeders. Hybrid vigor in dogs is a myth. As a trainer, I see more nasty 'designer dogs' than any other group of breeds or types.


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