All About "Designer Dogs"
- Are the new hybrid designer dogs recognized by the AKC?
- No. The AKC does not recognize any mixed dogs. The process of applying for AKC registration of a breed requires the formation of a national breed club and a minimum population of 300-400 dogs, each with a three-generation pedigree across 20 states maintained by a minimum of 100 active household members. We have a careful and thorough process that has allowed us to serve the American dog-owning public as a not-for-profit organization for 123 years.
- Would you ever consider registering them in the future?
- We do not plan to recognize any "designer" dog since doing so would be viewed as legitimizing a short-lived trend that we don't feel is ideal either for the dogs or owners. AKC and our 5,000 affiliated clubs have always been wary of instances where dogs become "fashionable" and viewed as a consumer item rather than a living being. These dogs are not recognized as a breed by a major registry of any country in the world.
Furthermore most of the designer dogs bred in the U.S. right now are the product of two purebred parents, resulting in a litter of mixed breed puppies, not a "new breed." Each puppy will be unique in its size, coat type, temperament and so on making the high prices unjustifiable and the claims of these dogs being ideal pets at best misleading, and at worst deceitful.
- What are the benefits of a purebred dog?
- Getting a dog is a commitment that can last 10 years or more so people should thoroughly consider all their options and make the choice that best suits their lifestyle. Often, finding a pet whose temperament matches both your lifestyle and personality is best achieved by researching and selecting a purebred -- a dog with predictable characteristics. With 155 AKC-registered breeds to choose from, there is a breed that is right for anyone who is committed to being a responsible dog owner.
- How many/what types of problems have people had with their designer dogs? (i.e. health issues, behavioral problems, deviation from expected size, etc.)
- Many of the problems we hear about regard false claims -- such as that the dog would be completely non-shedding and therefore okay for their highly allergic child/ husband/grandmother, etc. The AKC offers a list of more than a dozen purebred dogs that we recommend for allergy sufferers at http://www.akc.org/about/faq_allergies.cfm. The breeds listed here have been bred for consistent characteristics for centuries, whereas litters produced from two purebred parents of different breeds have no predictability. Puppies from the same litters mature to different heights and weights; some have smooth coats, some wire, others wavy; temperaments are inconsistent. The public often wants to exhibit at AKC events and these dogs are ineligible, but the owners were not so advised by these unscrupulous breeders.
There was an article in the NY Times in the summer of 2006 about puggles being extremely high energy and having behavioral problems. This is just one example of how hype can negatively impact the breeding of dogs. In the rush to get puggles to "market" they are being bred randomly. There is a total lack of consistency, especially in terms of temperament.
- Where do you suggest people purchase dogs - - shelters, breeders, pet stores, etc.?
- We suggest that before getting a dog you ask yourself a number of questions including: What characteristics should a dog have to best suit my lifestyle and home? Will I have enough time to spend training, grooming and exercising a dog? Am I willing to spend the resources to ensure the best future for a dog?
We recommend buying your puppy from a responsible breeder. The information needed is available at www.akc.org where one can access the national breed club (AKC Parent Club) for facts about each recognized breed. Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed. For example, they work on breeding healthier dogs with the appropriate temperament for their breed. Some things to be on the lookout for include – Can you see the litter and at least one of the parents (the dam or the sire) of your puppy when you visit the breeder? How do the puppies interact with you and your family --are they friendly and outgoing or do they shy away? What do other dogs in the breeder's home look like? What is their temperament? How consistent are the dogs' appearance and personality? The responsible breeder will be screening you, too, looking for the best home for each puppy.
- What do you say to people who are considering getting a "designer dog"?
- We would caution anyone to be wary of grandiose claims such as "non-shedding and " best of both worlds." We have not heard any positive claims as to reliability; unfortunately, just the opposite. Our office receives an increasing volume of calls from people who have issues with these dogs. Breeding dogs is an intricate process that requires much dedication and knowledge. Make sure you are purchasing your puppy from a reputable source and don't take outlandish claims at face value. Remember the saying "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."