Back in 1988, Wally Conron, the puppy-breeding manager at the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia at the time, got a request from a couple in Hawaii; they needed a dog that was smart enough to be a guide dog, but wouldn’t set off any allergies. Conron, faced with this sticky problem, cross-bred the Labrador and the Standard Poodle and called it a Labradoodle. And, he says, set off of a chain of events that horrifies him.
The Labradoodle is popular essentially because, for the most part, it’s intelligent, friendly, good with kids, and sheds a lot less than your typical Labrador Retriever, which are undeniably adorable animals but also arguably constantly shedding fur. We say “for the most part” because it’s not a purebred animal, so it’s a crapshoot. You could get the worst of both the Labrador and the poodle in one package.
And that, according to Conron, is the entire problem: People are breeding for cuteness and novelty, not to help the dogs, according to the AP:
Conron said there are far too many unscrupulous people eager to make a buck at a dog’s expense. Rather than check the history and science, he said “horrific” puppy mills are springing up and producing unstable dogs that go unwanted and eventually are euthanized. “Instead of breeding out the problems, they’re breeding them in,” he said. “For every perfect one, you’re going to find a lot of crazy ones.”
You kind of feel bad for the poor guy. He only came up with the name “Labradoodle” because people are jerks about adopting shelter dogs and want to get a purebred dog, so nobody would take his adorable little fuzzy puppies. Instead he invented a “designer label” and accidentally exacerbated the problem. But at least his mistake was adorable!
via the AP
(Image courtesy of solentx on Flickr.)