The Labradoodle is part of a growing trend for crossing two different purebreds. Some resultant new breeds suffer from serious health problems due to their unusual characteristics. Photograph by : Bill Keay, Vancouver Sun
Moe Milstein, Vancouver Sun Published: Monday, February 06, 2006
In a previous column, I wrote about the escalating popularity of "designer dogs"-- dogs created by the breeding of two different purebreds. It's a fad resulting from the conjunction of celebrity association, novelty, and a very high "cuteness quotient" evident mostly in the naming of these crosses -- Puggles, Schnoxies, Snorkies, Chorkies . . .
Of course, this is great fodder for the media, and not a week goes by, it seems, without a newspaper or TV show presenting yet another version of the story. Last week, the National Post devoted a whole page to the story headlined: "Doodle or Schnoodle." You see what I mean.
Accompanying the article was a photo of a Puggle, and therein lies a problem and a story that none of the articles has yet addressed.
The photo reminded me of the actor Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. In the film, the genetic material of Goldblum and a housefly are accidentally combined. The new creature has Goldblum's head and the fly's body. Obviously, a poor mix -- a Golden Fluml perhaps? Although the Fluml might be a hit on H. G. Wells', The Island of Doctor Moreau, it's clearly not a workable new species--and that is the point.
The photo accompanying the Post article showed a dog with a full-size Beagle head on a small Pug body. Not everyone's notion of beauty perhaps, but not necessarily a problem for the animal. However, looking at the rest of the dog with a veterinarian's eye, we can see that this particular hybrid will live a life of unrelenting pain and disability. Its front legs are bowed outwards and its elbows are pointing sideways. Worse, its carpal joints (anatomically the same as our wrist joints) are so deviated as to resemble seal flippers,and that, indeed, is how this dog will walk -- like a seal on dry land.
What is unacknowledged by the designer-dog breeding industry is that many of our purebred dogs arose as a result of mutations held tenuously together by close interbreeding. Breeding two fragile genetic specimens together does not necessarily produce a normal dog. It may produce a dog with multiple problems.
In the midst of this carnival of cuteness, no one seems to have asked the question -- who benefits by these genetic manipulations? What does this new body type mean for the dog? Will those adorable over-sized eyes of the Pekingese, Pomeranian, or Chihuahua lead to chronic eye problems and blindness in the crosses -- as they often have for the purebred? Will the overlong back of the Basset and Dachshund crosses make the spinal problems and paralysis of the purebreds more common? What will be the effect of combining oversize parts with undersized bodies?
Many, if not most, of the problems veterinarians see in their practices are the result of faulty "design." The astonishing plasticity of canine genetic material allows the most amazing configurations of living material. We have stretched and shrunk their ears, enlarged or narrowed their eyes, shortened or lengthened their limbs, flattened or elongated their noses, made their bodies tiny or gigantic, their brains intelligent or stupid.
The history of dog breeding has been directed toward producing specimens that either please human's esthetic sensibilities, no matter how extreme, or animals that can pursue certain activities like hunting or herding. In the process we have created animals that serve us well and provide us with loyalty and affection. We have also made them completely dependent on us. In return, we owe it to them to make sure that any meddling we do with their genes will benefit them at least as much as it benefits us. The least we can do is to make sure that we give them bodies that are free of pain and dysfunction. Many of the new "designer dogs" fail to meet those objectives -- cute or not.
Dr. Moe Milstein runs the Blueridge-Cove Animal Hospital in North Vancouver.
Interesting article. Besides that, so-called "designer breeds" just add to the pet overpopulation problem. Unethical breeders create these dogs and sell them at astronomical prices. These "breeders" are nothing more than con artists. There are plenty of "designer breeds" available at shelters for much cheaper; they are called homeless mixed breeds.
Interesting article, but Puggles do not have flipper like legs. Is this something the vet THOUGHT would happen? I have seen NO puggles to date that walk like that, or are in pain from positioning of the joints, nor has my vet.
Isn't one of the main argument against mixing breeds (besides overpopulation, which can go for both mixes and purebreeds) that you don't know what you're gonna get? I think that goes for the positive atributes mixed fans claim these dogs to have, AND the negative atributes that people against mixed breeds claim these dogs to have.
I don't agree with unethical breeding, but the arguments on both ends have just gotten rediculous
I've seen a lot of puggles with the bad legs he is talking about. What he is writing about is an article with a ouggle as the cover pic and the puggle looked sick as hell. I have yet to meet a healthy puggle over five.
I've also seen many puggles with bent legs. Pugs are not meant to be bred with Beagles for any reason! These are 2 different breeds bred for 2 different reasons with very different body types. It disgusts me that anyone would on purpose breed this mess! Isn't there already enough suffering without causing more? I doubt it ever occured to the idiots who do this on purpose that Dwarfism is a huge problem in Beagles. So you combine pugs with a breed who can have chrondodystrophy and you get bent legs.. Not only that you get dogs with high toes and those that cannot walk or walk on their toes and have beagle pain syndrome as well but, of course the "breeders" who produce this mutant breed don't do any research they just dive right in to make money!!
"The photo accompanying the Post article showed a dog with a full-size Beagle head on a small Pug body"
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I believe that the picture you mentioned is a photo-shop gag of what a puggle is... literally, a pic of a beagles head superimposed on a pic of a pugs body.
Now, I'll admit, when I got my puggle a few years ago, I was ignorant to unethical breeding, backyard breading, and puppy mills. I'm obviously not going to look down on my little boy now, but I also probably know a lot more about puggles than the people who critisize them. (and I know, for the most part, the people in here say they have nothing against the dog, but the people who breed them, but this article, and the reply's thus far have been critical of the actual dog). I have been around many different puggles now, old and young, through different puggle meet up groups, and I have not seen any larger percent of unhealthy dogs than that which is possible in ANY other breed.
I will not be one to say that mixing breeds makes a healthier dog. That sentiment is rediculous to anyone who has a basic understanding of genetics, but I will say that the complaints coming from the other end are rediculous and generally unfounded as well.
First it was the argument that because these dogs will have the energy of the beagle, but the snout of the pug, they will sufficate themselves. Thankfully that one left the circuits, because it was almost laughable when I looked at my dog, and most others that I know, and they have the laziness of the pug, and the snout of the beagle.
Now we are moving on to the legs. I don't think anyone who firmly believes what they read is true will ever be willing to truely investigate these things for themselves, but I wish that people would stop making assumptions and repeating things that they've heard or read and seriously take the time to find out if it's true. I understand also that I am biased because I own one of these dogs, but at least I can speak truthfully about the lives of these dogs because I am with one every single day. Not just seeing them come in and out of shelters, not occasionally seeing one at the vets or clinics (By the way, my vet says my dog is one of the healthiest he's seen, but of course that could just be because I'm such a great mom :)~)
I waited a long time to start posting in this forum, and in one other forum. I felt I would probably be ostrasized for having a puggle and for carrying the belief that these are worthy dogs to be in this world. That'll probably happen now. Hopefully not, because despite most of the members feelings on mixes, I still like this group, and love reading what you have to say.
I just hope that maybe in time we could become a bit more open-minded on this particular subject. I won't push it though, because i know how touchy it can get lol.
i usually don't like to get involved with these post's that condemn puggles. that'a why on this forum i just call my puggle a mix breed so i don't get looked down upon when trying to get advice on things. but well said lovemyboy. it's hard not to be biased when you own one and you read all these things that are knocking your dog you love with all your heart and couldn't imagine not having them in your life. but what i don't understand, why is the puggle such a hot topic? i mean there are a bunch of other mixes out there that don't get nearly as much flack as the puggle. but i don't want to go down that whole road, believe me....
but please if anyone would like to pick apart my puggle, please do. here she is have at it....
because in the end, i just let it roll off my back. i'm the one who owns and is raising her so what others think of me and my pup really doesn't matter. as long as she is happy and well taken care of, it's my business. i am only here on this forum to ask simple little questions in order to better raise my pup. any and all advice is taken to heart in the well being of my dogs. oh, and i like reading other people posts, they have also come in handy one time or another.
anyways peace to all and may we all get along no matter what dog we own or choose to get in the future.
I have nothing against puggles persay (the dogs themselves) as its not their fault that some idiot decided to make this mix. I am incensed that anyone would even consider this to be a good idea or would puposely breed or purchase one. At least with purebred dogs reputable breeders (hopefully) have done their homework, know their lines and have done all they can to breed healthy dogs. Mixing pugs and beagles creates a genetic soup of trouble. Your (anyone who owns one) puggle may generally be healthy but, what about the ones born with defects? Is there really any reason to take the chance? As I mentioned before Chrondodystrophy is just one problem which affects the cartilege, demodectic mange as well is another big problem in both breeds. So, you help the breathing issue by breeding to a beagle you then open up a pandoras box of other worse health problems that could at anytime crop up to plague these innocent dogs. I still find it disgusting that anyone would purposely cross these breeds!
I'll repeat my sentiment from earlier. There really has been no evidence of greater health issues in these dogs. The puggle is at NO great risk of health issues than any other dog.
I agree that there are many people breeding ALL types of dogs for money, and don't care to do health tests, reasearch lines etc... There is no evidence here either that this occurs mostly with mixed breeds. Irresponsible breeders are doing this with all breeds. I despise the blanket statements that are made that nobody who breeds puggles (or any mix for that matter) can be a responsible breeder. The woman who I received my Lincoln from had been breeding pugs for decades. Her pugs came from excellent lines, with all of their testing. Her friend and partner had been breeding beagles of the same quality. These were proven healthy dogs, and their pups have been nothing but healthy. You can tell me I was lucky, or that this is a rare occurance, but it's not. There are MANY responsible mixed breeders who make sure that they are breeding healthy dogs. This breeder makes little to no profit off her puggles. She loves the mix.
You asked about the one's born with defects, but, at the risk of getting repetative, that is very possible to occur in any purebreed as well.
The last thing I want to do is start an argument. Lord knows this one will never have an end, and the ones who are set in their ways, it appears, are not likely to change their opinion.
Based on my experience, which is and always will be greater than anyone who does not live every day with a puggle, this type of dog does not deserve all of the negative attention it receives. I wish that the professionals and people who feel that they know these dogs are so wrong would really do all the research that they feel none of the breeders of these dogs do. I think then, with a better understanding, one not based on assumptions, but science and experience, these dogs would have a much better reputation.
They truely are a wonderful mixed breed. I've really never felt this way about a dog before. I would love to see them get the chance to become a recognized breed.
"They truely are a wonderful mixed breed. I've really never felt this way about a dog before. I would love to see them get the chance to become a recognized breed".
A WHAT!!!! you really must be living in some sort of fantasy land! NEVER will this be a recognized "breed" other than some online registry that will register anything for money. Can you NOT read!?? Here I am taking my time to tell you of the health problems of both of these breeds and you tell me that respectable breeders of pugs and beagles bred on purpose this mix? No way!!
This is a genetic mess a disaster waiting to happen. 5 years from now I hope you'll house all the unwanted pugs and beagles left over and take in a few sick puggles that people have dumped at the shelter!
You can defend this mess all you want but what it truely is, is WRONG!
Your response is rather hostile and aggressive, and you know what, it really doesn't need to be. I won't get fired up like you have, because that only incites more hostility, and there's enough of that in this forum.
We all know that the vast majority of recognized breeds today were created by mixing breeds. The beagle breed is so old, that it's ancestry is unknown, but you know what, it had to come from somewhere, but regardless, it is believed that other hound dogs that are recognized today date back to the beagle. So, to scoff at the idea that this dog might one day be recognized is silly... it DOES happen. When I say I hope they are one day recognized, I realize that if that were to happen. it would be after years, generations, of breeding.
I can read perfectly well. If you would have read my responce, I actually acknowledge the claims. I repeat, despite what you believe is sure fire to be a physical problem is these dogs, is only an assumption based on what you know of the two individual breeds. There is not enough evidence to say that this is true. Which is why I'll repeat, that I wish people would truely, scientifically reasearch this. We get nowhere by assuming something is going to happen.
I realize that you take this mix as a personal insult because you obviously have a great love for beagles. People seem to think that mixing these dogs "ruins" their beloved purebreeds, which is silly, because the pures will obviously continue to be bred.
The whole all breeds came from mixed breeds is an incorrect statment because: Breeds are created with a plan.
Untill puggles breed true to a phenotype, they will not be a reconized breed because by the deffinitions of it, they can not be.
Most breeds where not created because someone combined two things, there are often a handfull or more breeds combined and trates taken out and preserved. Frankly, anyone who comments so casually on purebreeds coming from just mixing other breeds has zero respect for the dedication and decades that it takes to stabalize a breed of dog. My personal feelings on a breed are moot in this, as long as a breeder follows the path to the creation of a true purebreed I will respect the time and dedication and heartbreak that contains.
The puggle will never be a breed for the same reason that a cockapoo or a labradoodle will never be a breed. That's the simple truth. WHy? Well, when people sell puggles to poeple, they aren't selling a pugglexpuggle cross. They're not trying to achieve a certain look or temperament or whatever over generations of careful and selective breeding the way that Loius Dobermann did, or the way that the Russian KGB breeders that developed the Black Russian Terrier did. They are simply breeding one purebred dog to another purebred dog, and achieving a dog that is a mix. It is not a breed and as long as it is bred thus, it never will be a breed.
If they bred puggle to puggle, they would get some dogs that looked like pugs, and some that looked like beagles. Its just how the genetics of it works, and why 'puggle breeders' don't breed those two together, but instead breed a pug to a beagle, as the puppies will have a much more uniform look than a puggle x puggle breeding (though temperament wise they could be like either parent). The vast majority of puggle breeders don't care about establishing a new breed through crossing f1 and f2x generations and selective breeding. They only care about the almighty dollar, about breeding 1 purebred to another.
The cockapoo has been so cutely named since the 60/70s. It is not even close to being recognized as a breed for the same reasons. People want money from a cutesy dog name.
"We all know that the vast majority of recognized breeds today were created by mixing breeds"
I'm not saying that all dogs were made from mixing, and I don't believe I'm being casual or disrespectful. Whether they were created for a purpose, or to be a companion, MANY were just as you said, created.
Also I said:
"When I say I hope they are one day recognized, I realize that if that were to happen. it would be after years, generations, of breeding."
There are people out there that aren't mixing these breeds for the almighty dollar. I understand that it takes generations to create a standard. I'm saying I hope that it happens one day. It's wrong to say it never will, because it is possible to one day happen. I would never make the statement that it could never happen. How do you know? The point that I have to go on, is that it has happened before. If someone has the dedication, and those people do exist, to create a standard over a number of generations, it's entirely possible.
The view from those rose colored glasses must be spectacular! Perhaps you should take them off and look outside your own fantasy land. My biggest problem with all this mix breeding is that trail of destruction it leaves behind. If someone could give me one good reason for a "puggle" I'd be shocked. There isn't one. This is nothing more than a way to create a "designer mutt" breed to make money and fill up the shelters with more crippled,sick,unwanted dogs. The so called "breeders" could care less what happens to these dogs and will move on to the next fad as soon as this one passes and someone will have to clean up the mess so, while your happy with your mutt and purchased it from a uh hem..."breeder" you are as bad as they are by supporting this travesty!
I do want to address health. Reputable breeders of pugs and beagles have worked our BUTTS off for years to make sure what we breed is healthy. Selecting breeding stock for health is not easy and many have started over several times to make sure they are promoting breed health. Then along comes someone who mixes this up with another breed who is prone to the same health problems and Voila! there it is again and worse. Next you have idiots who then breed the mutt to the mutt and create more health problems ad naseaum!
If you have a healthy one your just lucky! and thats all! AND if you think I'm aggressive about this you better believe it!
After reading all the thrashing back and forth about puggles I found it curious that I'd never seen one at either of the shelters I frequent. Then, finally, one of the shelters got something they identify as a pug-beagle x. Usually any type of small breed is snapped up out of this shelter within a day or two, but this one has been lingering, so I looked at his paperwork. While the vet was repairing a hernia, they discovered a heart defect.
"Usually any type of small breed is snapped up out of this shelter within a day or two, but this one has been lingering, so I looked at his paperwork. While the vet was repairing a hernia, they discovered a heart defect."
Did they say what type of heart defect? It really doesn't look like most of the puggles I've seen pictures of but, since anything can happen when mixing breeds who knows? There are several types of heart conditions that come to mind. PDA (patent ductus arteriosis) or a slight murmur. Most PDA dogs don't live to 4 years old but, its possible. Perhaps nobody wants to adopt it due to the heart condition but, honestly if it hasn't had any trouble for 4 years it could live a normal lifespan.
beagles: I'm certain someone will adopt him. Last week there was a big, 10 year old boxer mix stray that had a (malignant?) mass removed from his back. As far as I know he was gone in two days. The community here has an amazing capacity for adopting "hopeless" dogs.
I'm sorry, but I have to call bullcrap on this article. Anybody can write this, and then people take the time to spread it around and repost it. If I did research, and found PROS of mixed breeding.. nobody on here would take the time to repost that, now would they? Didn't think so. I have two mixed breeds, they're like my children.. and they're more precious to me than any purebred could be. By the way, as well, neither of them are retarded.