Much Ado About Poo Are Cock-a-poo's, Peke-a-poo's and the other poo dogs real breeds?
“Rare!” “Exotic!” “One of a Kind!” “Luxury on a Leash!” proclaim the ads in the Sunday pet classifieds. “Get the best of both worlds!” “Registered New Breed!” “Special Price - this week only - $599!”
Curious? Who wouldn't be? Almost everyone wants something different, unusual, something new and exciting, something no one else has. What are these unique, exciting dogs with funny names and high price tags?
Meet the Poo's: Yorkie-Poo's, Cock-a-Poo's, Lhasa-Poo's, Beag-A-Poo's, Peke-A-Poo's, Pom-Poo's, Doxie-Poo's and Terri-Poo's, just to name a few. Meet their cousins, the Cocker-Chons and the Bi-Tzu. This large and incredibly diverse family of dogs includes such “breeds” as Cock-a-Shels and Malt-oodles; everything from the imposing Rott-a-Dor down to the diminutive Peke-A-Pom and Yorki-Huahua. What do these dogs with the whimsical breed names have in common? The fact that they're not real breeds at all. They're mongrels — mixed breeds — masquerading as something glamorous, valuable and highly desirable. Yorkie-Poo's are simply Yorkshire Terriers crossed with Poodles. A Bi-Tzu is a Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu mix. Cock-a-Shels result when Cocker Spaniels are bred to Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs) and Rott-A-Dors occur when a Rottweiler and a Labrador Retriever join forces. New breeds? Hardly. Behind the hype and the clever name is a common mutt.
Have you ever looked at a Basset Hound and a Poodle or a similarly mis-matched combination and wondered what the puppies would look like if the two were mated? Lots of us have. It makes for an entertaining exercise in imagination. But the people deliberately breeding “Peke-A-Poms” (a cross between a Pekingese and a Pomeranian) and other such fanciful mixes have taken the “what if?” game a step further. Rather than playing games with their imagination, they're playing games with living creatures, charging big prices for their results and telling some pretty tall tales to justify it. Here are some of them:
* “We're making a new breed. The AKC is going to recognize the Cocker-Poo real soon now.”
The process of creating a new breed and achieving AKC recognition is long and involved, requiring many years and many generations. A “breed” is a genetically similar strain of dogs that resemble each other in appearance and temperament. Bred together, two dogs of the same breed will produce puppies that are also similar in appearance to the parents and will develop in a predictable fashion.
The first step in creating a new breed involves a definite vision of what the breed will look like and the writing of a breed standard to describe it. For example, what characteristics must a Yorkie-Poo have in order for it to be considered a Yorkie-Poo? What is a Cocker-Chon or a Peke-A-Pom supposed to look and act like? To date, no breeders of these “new” breeds have even taken that first step.(see note) There has been no agreement among breeders even as to what a Yorkie-Poo is supposed to be other than a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Poodle. After years of mixing these breeds, no two Yorkie-Poos look anything alike; neither are any Peke-A-Poms or Cocker-Chons similar to one another. There has not been any serious effort at all to create a distinct breed that the AKC would recognize. * “We're combining the best of both breeds into one! Shelties shed but Poodles don't. A Shelti-Poo will look like a Sheltie but not shed.”
Not exactly. Genetics doesn't work that way. Some Shelti-Poos might fit this description but many won't. A breeder can't pick and choose what features will be passed on from each breed — it's strictly a matter of luck because the genetic combinations involved in the crossing of breeds is random and unpredictable. There is just as much of a chance that the puppy will grow up to have the worst characteristics of both breeds! The selection of certain traits is achieved only by generations of careful breeding, discarding dogs that don't have the desired qualities and narrowing the gene pool until the right combinations occur with regularity. * “These Beag-A-Poos are registered with the 'Dogs International Kennel Club'.”
The word “registered” has a magical effect on people. They seem to think something that's “registered” must be legitimate and valuable. Not so! “Registered” is no more an indication that a dog's breed is legitimate any more than it implies the dog has quality or value. “Registered” simply means “recorded.” Someone has a paid a fee to an agency to record his dog's name in a book and the agency has sent him a certificate saying they did so. There are many canine registries in business today that will register any kind of dog whether it's purebred, mixed breed or even of unknown origin.
The two most long-standing and reputable canine registries are the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. Neither registers mixed breed dogs or dogs of unknown parentage. AMBOR, the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry, is a reputable organization that registers mixed breeds but only for the purpose of competing in the obedience trials it sponsors. * “The price is so high because they're one of a kind.”
One of a kind — yes, that's certainly true! Every mixed breed dog, whether bred deliberately or by accident, is one of a kind because its genetic makeup is an unpredictable jumble of characteristics. No two are alike. Does this factor alone justify a high price, higher than what's charged by many reputable breeders of quality purebreds? No way. If “one of a kind” made a dog valuable, every mixed breed dog at the pound would be worth a fortune! * “We have been responsible breeders of Bass-A-Poos for four years.”
The term “responsible” is getting a lot of mileage these days. Almost every breeder claims to be “responsible.” The dictionary defines responsible as “trustworthy and dependable.” How dependable is a breeder who plays imaginative “what if?” games with his dogs and expects the public to pay for his experiments? How trustworthy is a breeder who deliberately misleads people about the value of a mutt? I think you can answer that question for yourself.
Truly responsible breeders are honest and knowledgeable with a strict code of personal ethics. They care about the puppies they produce and the people who'll buy them. Would a responsible breeder deliberately cross a Basset Hound and a Poodle — dogs with completely different and potentially incompatible physical structures and temperaments? Would they deliberately mix any breeds? No, not when they know the results will be completely unpredictable and that there are already thousands of accidentally-bred mixed breed dogs in need of good homes.
Does this mean that all producers of “Poos” and other mixes are unscrupulous and deceitful? No, many of them are simply ignorant of responsible breeding practices and unaware of what they're really doing. Both the deceitful and the ignorant, though, prey on the ignorance of the public — as long as people don't know the truth about these exotic-sounding dogs, they'll continue to buy them and support this unethical and unnecessary practice.
There's no doubt that mixed breeds like Yorkie-Poos, Malt-oodles, and Bi-Tzus can make wonderful pets. Thousands of people own and love mixed breed dogs of every description. But are these unusual mixes really valuable, unique, “designer dogs”? No, not any more so than the many wonderful mixed breeds available for adoption at the local animal shelter.
Don't be fooled by the whimsical names, the intriguing descriptions, and the high prices! It's just a lot of poo. You can find “designer dogs” of every size, shape, color and personality as close as your local humane society or rescue service and at a far more reasonable cost. Why not visit there first and save a life? You'll be glad you did!
redyre - Excellent post. Gives the facts with no bashing. Definitely an impartial post. I disagree with Katz, you didn't take sides, but posted the truth of the matter without being abusive. That's something that's hard for a lot of us to do. IMO Good job.
***Edited By: wolf256wolf on 11/1/2005 12:27:29 PM*** Reason: ++
The other sad thing about these breedings is that many of these dogs then end up in rescues or simply abandoned because they don't measure up to the hype. People realized they have purchased a "mutt" and are no longer intrigued with them. We were recently in Roger Williams Park zoo and saw a "Golden Doodle" simply tossed from a car. She broke her front leg and had severe road rash along her side. After spending almost 400 dollars in vet bills we were able to place her in a beautiful home in Milford (and no, we didn't charge an "adoption" fee), but the poor thing is traumatized and is lucky that we were able to find a family that is committed to working with her trust issues.
We like to blame "poo" breeders for the pet overpopulation. We blame them for all the dogs being in the pound. But did any of you check your local newspapers lately? I did. I saw 289 ads selling dogs, guess how many of those ads were for designer dogs. Only 8 out of a whopping 289. You want to guess how many breeders actually do health testings on their bitches and dogs? How many of them guarantee the puppies against any debilitating genetic problems and insure that the puppies are in good health? How many out of the 289 breeders show their dogs? Good breeders show their dogs. It is important because the breeder should be trying to improve the breed, they will be comparing their dogs to other breeders and trying to breed dogs that match the standard. The only way to do that is to show their dogs. Good breeders compete in obedience as well, and will have Companion Dog (CD) or other obedience titles for the parents. Often, this is a good benchmark for temperament and behavior. How many of the 289 breeders actually take back their puppies for any reason? I think ALL BREEDERS who do not do the necessary footwork are responsible for the pet overpopulation. Blaming one group is the easy way out. People who blame only the "poo" breeders are only looking for a scapegoat! Everyone should take responsibility. If you do not get your pets spayed or neutered you are partly to blame.
You totally missed the point. Call them whatever you want but there is no denying that there are far more breeders who breed purebred dogs than there are mutt breeders. In my town only 8 out of 289 breeders breed poo mixes. Eight out of 289 is less than three percent. I bet this is true in most towns. If you do not believe me, check your own newspaper. It is a clear indication of who is primarily to blame. Most byb breed purebred dogs because they sell for more money. ANY BREEDER WHO DOES NOT DO THE NECESSARY FOOTWORK IS TO BLAME FOR THE PET OVERPOPULATION. BLAMING THE POO BREEDERS ONLY IS THE EASY WAY OUT. YOU ARE ONLY LOOKING FOR A SCAPEGOAT.
***Edited By: scarydog on 11/1/2005 7:51:08 PM*** Reason: oops
289 ads selling dogs? Wow-my local newspaper only has about 20 (on a good day!) Personally, I wouldn't buy a purebred dog from someone who advertised in the paper, anyway. My breeder (and several others that I spoke to) had a waiting list for puppies.
Thanks for the info, Redyre.
***Edited By: catlover on 11/1/2005 10:23:01 PM*** Reason: x
My newspaper covers three major cities. I would only buy from a breeder if they passed my test. I don't care how or where they advertise. If they advertise in the paper or TP what difference does it make. It's the breeding practices that matters. I would ask these questions: 1. How long have you been in the breed? What others have you bred? 2. What kind of congenital defects are present in this breed? What 3. Do you have the parents on site? Can I see them? 4. What are the good and bad points of the parents? What titles to they have? 5. Can you explain the puppy's pedigree? 6. Where were the puppies raised? How have you socialized them? 7. How many litters do you have a year? 8. What guarantees do you have for this puppy? 9. When can I take the puppy home? 10. Do I trust the breeder? If they pass my test then I might buy a puppy from them. I am a person who would rather adopt from the pound.
Redyre_Rotties, I don't have a problem with you. I don't have to agree with you on every issue. I am entitled to my own opinion and I can and will express them freely but respectfully. I just think that people who blame only the poo breeders are mistaken. There are far more purebred breeders out there than mutt breeders. Check your local newspaper then call them all up and ask about their breeding program. I can guarantee that most folks are in it for the money. Because you breed purebred dogs doesn't get you off the hook. You are also to blame if you do not do the necessary footwork to be a good breeder.
Maybe if you just post a link to the sites and give a little description, instead of cutting and pasting long posts about trainintg and poos, it might be better received. Then those who are really interested can go to the site and read it.
I say this each time someone says, "Why blame the breeders of mixes?? there are more purebred breeders that are crappy." So here goes again. My apologies to those who have heard me say this 10 times now.
Yes. There are tons of crappy breeders of purebreds. Tons. No argument there. But there are also some GOOD breeders of purebreds. A person would need to ask some questions (as scarydog was saying) to see if the breeder was good or not. With a mixed breed breeder, no questions necessary; Right off the bat they are not doing the things that a good breeder would do. They are not striving to better the breed, for sure! It is simply irresponsible to breed mixes. (Again, it is also irresponsible to breed purebreds in an unethical way! Making it clear that I am not saying that ONLY MB breeders are irresponsible.)
This does not make them worse than unethical breeders of purebreds, but they are just as unethical as unethical breeders of purebreds and do not fit in the category of a good breeder.
We get posts from time to time-- often, even-- asking about where to find a good breeder of "Puggles," for example. The fact is, there is no good breeder of puggles. There are cute, sweet, and wonderful pug/beagle mixes, but no good breeders of them. This is the reason that a post such as the original one is beneficial. With many unsuspecting people thinking about purchasing a mix from a breeder (and there are many right now) hopefully it will help someone.
***Edited By: shinyblackpit on 11/2/2005 2:02:44 PM*** Reason: asdf
Good post redyre. Informative without bashing. No matter how educational, informative and polite you are, there will always be ones who dont agree and there will be friction. Shinyblackpit.....exactly.
I disagree. There are people out there trying to create new breeds, and not just your everyday mixes, but people who are honestly trying to create a mix that will someday breed true. They are no different then the creators of the purebreds that are here now. Are they hard to find, that is for damn sure but they are out there. There are people who are breeding to make a mixed breed dog and they are working towards a standard for that soon to be breed. You should never classify anything as a whole unless you have met every single one.