One of the latest trends to hit Hollywood and make headlines with celebrities is the designer dog. Designer dogs are not purebred, despite the fact that some breeders and even some registries are trying to market these dogs as a specific identified breed. At this time the major Kennel Clubs do not recognize any designer breeds but there are several other registries that do. In reality designer dogs are mixed breed dogs, typically a cross between two different purebreds to result in an offspring that has the best characteristics of both.
There are some hybrid or designer breeds that are well on their way to becoming their own breed through responsible breeding and the establishment of clubs and associations to promote the hybrid. These are the designer dogs that have been bred for many years and are now being enhanced by crossing two hybrids to create offspring that is consistent with the parents. Once a type of dog breeds true or has puppies that are predicable in their appearance they are well on the way to becoming their own defined breed.
In reality there is something known as hybrid vigor or heterosis, which indicates that crossing a male and female of a species that are genetically different will result in a more vigorous, healthy and genetically sound offspring than breeding back to the same lineage. In some cases where dogs have been improperly bred or inbred, there is no doubt that any new genetic material in the breeding lines will result in positive benefits.
As those that have taken genetics in high school know, genetic improvement through selective breeding is a very real concept, but it is also a bit hit and miss. If you breed two dog types that both have a genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia you will still probably have offspring with a significant likelihood of developing the condition. On the other hand if you cross a breed that doesn't typically have hip dysplasia with a breed that does, especially when the dog in the cross is condition free, you are much less likely to have to deal with the hip dysplasia problem.
Besides just genetic conditions designer dogs have also been created to make smaller types of dog that look like larger breeds, or even hypoallergenic or low shedding dogs. Some designer dogs actually result in a healthier designer dog since whatever issues are present in one dog are offset by the genetic influence of the other.
Stars And Designer Dogs
Perhaps the most popular or well known of the designer dogs is the Puggle. This small to medium sized dog is a cross between a Pug and a Beagle. Surprisingly the Puggle doesn't tend to exactly resemble either parent breed and many Puggle breeders and owners indicate that they seem to look more like a miniature version of a Mastiff. These dogs tend to have few respiratory problems compared to a Pug but also are much smaller in size than the Beagle, making them good for apartment life, traveling and as general companion dogs. Puggles are typically very playful and highly affectionate dogs, enjoying time that they spend with their owners but also able to spend time on their own as well. Some of the most famous Puggle owners include Sylvester Stallone and Uma Thurman along with the Soprano's star James Gandolfini. Other actors and actresses with Puggles include Julianne Moore and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Another very popular designer dog is the Labradoodle. This is a medium to large sized breed that is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. They were first bred in Australia as a hypoallergenic guide and assistance dog but they are also a wonderful family pet and all round great companion dog. One of the most famous owners of a Labradoodle is the golfing pro Tiger Woods who added a Labradoodle to his family right after the birth of his child.
Another designer dog that is becoming increasingly popular with celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Rihanna and Blake Lively is the Malti-Poo. A small sized dog the Malti-Poo is a cross between a Maltese and Miniature or Teacup Poodle. These are very gentle dogs that are smart and independent but they are also great with kids and love attention. They have longer, wavy to curly hair and come in a variety of colors with white markings.
Claire Danes has also helped to promote a very popular type of designer dog known as a Schnoodle. This is a cross between a Miniature Schnauzer and a Poodle, resulting in a very intelligent, loving and active dog. They are great for all types of families and for people that want a dog that is always ready to be on the go.
Other designer dog breeds owned by celebrities include Cockapoos, a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle or even the very unique sounding Shiranian. Shiranians are a small sized hybrid that is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a Pomeranian, with a thick luxurious coat and playful nature. Actor Mischa Barton is the proud owner of a Shiranian and Ashley Judd is the loving owner of a Cockapoo named Buttermilk.
Designer dogs from reputable breeders are a great option for finding these hybrid dogs, and most celebrities will buy from breeders. Keep in mind that many of these designer dogs are going to cost as much or even more than a purebred, but if you don't have that kind of cash you can still adopt a wonderful mixed breed from a rescue or shelter. Shelter staff or the volunteers at a rescue can usually make a fairly accurate prediction of the breeds in the cross, sometimes the owners may even provide that information before the dog's are surrendered to the facility. Of course if you adopt from a shelter or rescue you will be required to spay or neuter your dog, but you will still have a wonderful, loving pet that is just as "designer" as those owned by the stars.