The labradoodle made people love “designer” mutts, but at what cost?
Everyone loves labradoodles. The goofy, mop-topped dogs that resulted from breeding labradors with poodles are popular for a reason: they’re frickin’ adorable, not to mention often hypoallergenic because of their poodle genes. But while cross-bred dogs may seem like a better choice than purebreds, which often come with a whole host of health problems from generations of inbreeding, the creator of the first labradoodle says that’s not true. In fact, creating the dog is his “life’s regret,” he recently revealed.
Australian dog breeder Wally Conron bred the first labradoodle to be a seeing eye dog for a woman whose husband was allergic to dogs. He had no idea at the time that he was starting a movement — “designer” mutts have become a huge thing since labradoodles came onto the dog scene. Shih-poos, puggles, goldendoodles, and more are popular “breeds” that have garnered huge Instagram followings, but according to Conron, purposefully breeding these kinds of dogs doesn’t generally produce healthy pets — in fact, he said, the opposite can happen, especially with an inexperienced breeder.
“I opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster,” he said. “Why people are breeding them today, I haven’t got a clue. I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have a hereditary problem.”
What’s worse, Conron said, is that the new demand for dogs crossed with poodles has resulted in people setting up “horrific” backyard puppy mills to cross-breed as many “doodles” as possible for profit.
“People are just breeding for the money,” he said said. “Unscrupulous breeders are crossing poodles with inappropriate dogs simply so they can say they were the first to do it… I’ve done so much harm to pure breeding and made many charlatans quite rich. I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog — or a disaster.”
Of course, though, many a labradoodle owner felt personally victimized by Wally Conron.
Many others enjoyed the slightly, um, melodramatic way Conron described his regret over inventing the labradoodle.
And then there are the people who have a labradoodle in their life and totally understand where Conron is coming from.
(Author slowly raises hand.)
At the end of the day, any dog can have hereditary and health problems, just like any human can. And anyone who’s ever owned any kind of dog knows that pups can be doofuses and that’s kind of part of the reason we love them so much. While Conron is spending his days lamenting the so-called monster he created, the rest of us will just keep loving dogs, especially the extra fluffy ones like labradoodles.
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