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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Is it possible - theoretically, at least - to have a reputable designer/hybrid breeder? I mean one that performs the full gamut of health testing and follows ethical breeding practices, but breeds to make fundamentally good pets, and not necessarily to improve & preserve the line.

I'm asking because it seems like the only reputable breeders who do all the requisite testing specialize in either show dogs or working dogs - neither of which is ideally suited for general pet ownership. From each of these, you get plenty of healthy dogs that either don't meet conformation or performance standards, but would make pretty good pets despite (or perhaps because of) this defect. What if a breeder kept these animals, screened for good behavior, then bred them with other healthy, yet 'defective', animals? In the long term, is it possible that this might even reduce overpopulation by keeping a line of mixed-breeds selected for suitability as pets?

For example, right now, it's not uncommon for a family to buy a Lab puppy from a working breeder, and then give him up a year later when they realize they can't keep up with him. What if instead, they were to get a Lab mix (with two parents that passed OFA screenings) with a temperament better suited to life in the suburbs? Theoretically, the gene pool could be expanded through interbreeding while simultaneously screening for health/behavior issues to eliminate known genetic defects. These mutts obviously couldn't be registered with any kennel club as a particular breed - but their lineage would still be known, and traceable, without disrupting existing lines.

Just to reiterate - I'm asking this purely as a thought experiment. I adopted my girl after she'd already been spayed, and I have no intention of ever going into breeding. I'm well aware of the real-world conditions that make this impossible - but it seems to me that the lifestyle of the average pet is far removed from the demands of show & working dogs. It makes sense to me that dogs could be bred purposely as pets, upholding the best breeding practices of working/show lines while being kept separate from them.
 

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but it seems to me that the lifestyle of the average pet is far removed from the demands of show & working dogs.
And this is the reason so many family pets have behavioral issues. Behavior issues are also the #1 reason dogs end up in shelters.
Because people think certain breeds are just fine and dandy doing whatever the owner wants/allows them to do. Even if that's them wanting a quite daily couch potato of a Border Collie. Dogs have instincts to work/hunt/track.....etc. Their instincts don't go away, they were bred for a purpose, just too many people don't put enough attention into what the dog needs over their own needs.
 

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I see absolutely no reason to breed hybrids. I have owned hybrids in the past and currently have one. I never actively sought out hybrids and never will. I have ended up with them when wild animal reserves/rescues turned them away due to lack of space. It seems there are way too many irresponsible hybrid breeders already and few homes that are ready for the special needs and challenges that come with hybrid ownership.
Ok, let me shut up on this subject. Can you tell it's a pet peeve of mine? :p
Anyway, I repeat; I see absolutely no reason to breed hybrids. And that is my final answer. :D

Jihad
and the pound puppy crew.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Reynosa - I agree with you. The problems you're describing are very real, and due to the horrendous and unethical breeding practices used by hybrid breeders today. That's why I wrote my post in the roudabout way I did - I'm talking about something else entirely.

Hybrid is a bit of a loaded term; maybe I should describe them instead as pedigreed mutts - mixed breeds of known lineages, selected entirely for health, temperment, and suitability as pets, bred with the same care and attention as purebreds. I mean perfectly healthy, happy, well-behaved show dogs that don't meet conformation standards, and perfectly healthy, happy, and well-behaved working dogs that don't herd or retrieve.

If you want a dog whose family has a history of good health, you need to go to a good breeder who specializes in show dogs or working dogs. But the majority of dogs don't show or work - they're pets. So right now, if you decide go to a reputable breeder to maximize your chances of obtaining a healthy dog, chances are you wind up with a healthy dog bred for a life unsuited to most families.

My question is whether it's possible to maintain a pool of mutts from a stock of health and behavior screened purebreds. Each generation would continue to be screened the same as their parents for health & behavior issues (following Zim's comment, maybe using CGC and history as therapy dogs taking the place of championships to 'decorate' dogs). The idea is to have a wide variety of dogs with good health & temperments, suited to long life as a family pet.
 

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I've often wondered about the same thing. Since:

1) all existing breeds are the result of selective breeding of different combinations of existing breeds

2) Dogs' "work" now is largely companionship, i.e. family pet

3) Who says the existing breeds are the absolute best that could be for the dog's new "work"? Why are we stuck in the past?

The big downside I think is that we'd basically be embarking on an experiment...and in experiments you make a lot of mistakes before having success. How many "mistakes" were made before perfecting the Rat Terrier? (I only mention rat terrier because I'm familiar with the breed, and it's a relatively recent breed). What happens to the "mistakes"?

I'm assuming here that the highest ethical standards are adhered to such as testing for health and temprament issues, plus other issues that would be new (not currently concerned about when breeding one breed).

I've met some beautiful dogs with amazing personalities only to find out that they are mutts. Wow, that's one heck of a great mistake!
(I'm not a breeder and could probably only identify 20-30 breeds; I just assumed they were purebreds because they were beautiful).

I think the labradoodle and the goldendoodle are here to stay. They seem to fill a niche that people want.

This site has an extensive list of existing breeds and breed crosses
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/abc.htm
 

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For example, right now, it's not uncommon for a family to buy a Lab puppy from a working breeder, and then give him up a year later when they realize they can't keep up with him. What if instead, they were to get a Lab mix (with two parents that passed OFA screenings) with a temperament better suited to life in the suburbs?
Why on EARTH would a Lab mix have a more suitable temperament to suburb life than a purebred Lab??? With a mix, you really have no idea what you're going to get. You could get a dog that acts every bit as Lab-like as the purebred!

For example: I have a mixed breed dog I adopted from a shelter. I was told her father was a purebred Akita and her mother was a Lab/GSD mix. Theoretically (and I realize genetics are WAY more complicated than I'm making them out to be) she is 25% GSD. Well... she looks just like a GSD and acts like a GSD.

Responsible breeders breed for temperament, health, and confirmation. It is impossible to breed mutts/designers/hybrids (whatever you want to call them) in such a fashion because there is NO WAY OF KNOWING what you're going to get.

IMO, if people want a mutt, they should go the a shelter/rescue and get one. Responsible breeders will NEVER breed mutts because there are thousands of them dying every day in shelters... we don't need to create more.

If people want a dog with specific qualities/temperament, they should either screen adult dogs in shelters/rescues or buy a purebred from a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders sell to pet homes all the time.
 

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Huh?

Why wouldn't you just get a pet quality puppy from an ethical pure bred breeder?

Also, why would you breed sub standard dogs to get this perfect mutt? I mean, you realize that there is a reason that people show and title their dogs. It's to breed the best to the best.

Why would you think that breeding a non show quality dog to another non show quality dog would produce a superior mixed breed speciman? That makes no sense to me.



I mean...the reason there are thousands of breeds is because everyone wants something different. I don't see why you would need more.

If you want a companion dog that doesn't shed, look for a poodle, or havanese or a terrier.

If you want a larger dog that makes a great companion, look at low energy breeds like mastiffs or greyhounds or newfoundlands.

Not every puppy that a good breeder produces is going to be the next winner of Westminster.

It's up to the consumer to do their research and make good decisions, and there are plenty of dogs to choose from.
 

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Is it possible - theoretically, at least - to have a reputable designer/hybrid breeder? I mean one that performs the full gamut of health testing and follows ethical breeding practices, but breeds to make fundamentally good pets, and not necessarily to improve & preserve the line.
It's not only possible, there are hundreds of such breeders:

http://www.goldendoodles.com/breeders.htm

I have a challenge for you folks:

How many posts can you find in this forum that are first hand accounts of a labradoodle or goldendoodle biting someone, being dog aggressive, suffering from a genetic health defect, or in any other way not being a great, if possibly somewhat exuberant, family dog?

In two years I don't remember seeing a single first hand post about a serious problem with a doodle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Huh?

Why wouldn't you just get a pet quality puppy from an ethical pure bred breeder?

Also, why would you breed sub standard dogs to get this perfect mutt? I mean, you realize that there is a reason that people show and title their dogs. It's to breed the best to the best.
Because most of the best breeders aren't selecting for good pets, they're selecting for champion show dogs, herders, trackers, etc - things which not only don't matter for most pets, but are often detrimental to them. Breeding 'the best to the best' is precisely the problem I'm talking about. There's already a huge difference between a Golden Retriever bred by sport breeders, and a Golden Retriever bred by show breeders - and neither one is really meant for the most likely owner, which is a family of four living out in the suburbs.

The big downside I think is that we'd basically be embarking on an experiment...and in experiments you make a lot of mistakes before having success. How many "mistakes" were made before perfecting the Rat Terrier? (I only mention rat terrier because I'm familiar with the breed, and it's a relatively recent breed). What happens to the "mistakes"?
I wonder about that, too. If you select for temperment, you're probably also going to get unknown linked traits. In fact, there's some experimental evidence to suggest that this is, in fact how dogs first evolved. There was a Russian fox farmer who tried to selectively breed for calmer foxes that didn't try to escape or attack him; he succeeded, but the resulting animals wound up looking and acting very much like dogs (floppy ears, piebald coats, barking, etc.).

The idea (I think I got this from Coppinger) is that the original dogs began with wolves that scavenged village garbage dumps, and were selected by humans living there. Aggressive and fearful wolves were either hunted down, or stayed away from the villages; the remaining wolves to survive and breed were the ones less fearful of humans. As with the foxes, after a few generations the selection pressures for calmer wolves coincidentally led to the morphology changes we see in dogs.

Modern breeds exist due to artificial selection for physical and behavioral traits; the question is what would happen to dogs if you continue to select for temperment. Given a larger gene pool, I would imagine the problems would be far less than what we see in some purebreds (such as breathing problems in bulldogs and pugs, spinal/nerve problems in dachsunds, etc. - serious defects which occur directly as a result of selecting for specific breed characteristics), but genetics is a weird, weird, weird thing. Something unexpected is almost guaranteed to happen.
 

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I do think it's possible. The way I see it, that's the very basics of responsible breeding--selective breeding for a specific purpose. You can alter the purpose in my opinion, and still be responsible. I think for many though, "pet" isn't enough of a purpose for breeding.

Personally, I would be significantly more interested in a line that included CGC and therapy work over conformation and field champions. Even in currently recognized companion breeds that is what matters most to me. I just don't care if my dog has the perfect stop or a great rear, nor do I care if my dog can track or retrieve (beyond a basic game of fetch). I think those things matter a great deal to some people, they just aren't priorities for me.

Rescue is great, but it isn't for everyone anymore than going to a breeder is the right choice for everyone.
 

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It's not only possible, there are hundreds of such breeders:

http://www.goldendoodles.com/breeders.htm

I have a challenge for you folks:

How many posts can you find in this forum that are first hand accounts of a labradoodle or goldendoodle biting someone, being dog aggressive, suffering from a genetic health defect, or in any other way not being a great, if possibly somewhat exuberant, family dog?

In two years I don't remember seeing a single first hand post about a serious problem with a doodle.

Right back atcha: How many Doodles are there on the forum? How many Labs, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Poodles, Boxers, Papillons, Chihuahuas, etc.? How many problems have each of THOSE breed had? How about we take into account ages? Training? Vaccinations? Genetic background/testing? etc.

Sorry, but Doodles aren't magically exempt from behavioral problems. They're not genetically superior, or their owners any better than any other breed just because they are Doodles. In fact, I have read about plenty of Doodles who needed professional intervention for behavior or health problems, though I'll admit I haven't seem much posted on this particular forum.
 

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I don't think the "problem" is that the dogs are true to their origin, I think the problem is that people choose dogs based on their looks, rather than finding dogs that suit their lifestyle, and people who really should not own dogs at all are able to buy whatever dog they want. If a family of four can't handle a golden retriever, they shouldn't have a golden.

I also don't see why you think show bred dogs don't make good companion pets. In fact, they ARE pets...just confirmationally sound pets.

I guess I just don't see why we need to alter the dog to fit OUR needs when there is already such a wide variety of breeds and mixes that are bound to fit your needs.
 

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I don't see the problem in buying a pet quality puppy from a reputable, show breeding breeder. A dog bred for the show ring (whether it meets the breeders strict standard or not) is bred for both looks AND temperament. Mixing this dog with another prebred (of a different breed) isn't going to make too much of a difference, in fact I could see it making matters WORSE. It's a roll of the dice when breeding mutts, you don't know what you'll get.

Now, someone looking for a pet quality pup who looks into buying from working lines better do their homework even moreso than the one seeking out from a show quality breeder, and had better make the extra effort once the dog is home. A show line dog is going to have a history so you know more of what you're getting, but when it comes down to it shouldn't be any higher a drive than the same breed of dog sitting in the shelters - you just don't know what you're getting as much as you do with the show bred dog. The working line dog, however, is going to have more energy and drive, so even the 'pet quality" pups from this litter are going to need a special owner.

I would imagine there are few reports on health problems or attacks from "Labradoodles" because they haven't been around long enough for everyone to get their muddy paws in the pot and breed the heck out of them to cause temperament and health problems. Give it some time, they'll start having problems too.

I just really don't see the point in breeding mutts unless it's for some purpose other than "just a pet". There are hundreds of breeds to choose from, each with individual qualities, that I have no idea how someone can't find a breed that suits their lifestyle. And if you're looking for a mutt, well check out the local shelter. There are MILLIONS of dogs sitting in shelters that are perfect for SOMEONE out there. Not all shelter dogs are "damaged goods", you just have less knowing in what you're getting. It's more of a gamble, but I think it's worth it.

And I really don't think breeding "pet quality to pet quality" is going to make a difference on whether or not a BC can be a couch potato or a lab won't be a big goofy bonehead until it's over 3 years of age. Granted, I don't know my dogs heritage, but they're both mutts and they have their goods and bads that come with the breeds that are in them. Neither come close to coming from show or working lines.
 

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I don't think the "problem" is that the dogs are true to their origin, I think the problem is that people choose dogs based on their looks, rather than finding dogs that suit their lifestyle, and people who really should not own dogs at all are able to buy whatever dog they want. If a family of four can't handle a golden retriever, they shouldn't have a golden.

I also don't see why you think show bred dogs don't make good companion pets. In fact, they ARE pets...just confirmationally sound pets.

I guess I just don't see why we need to alter the dog to fit OUR needs when there is already such a wide variety of breeds and mixes that are bound to fit your needs.
Very good points, as are many of the others here. But it's human nature (and Nature's nature) to improve. Since we have dozens of high blood pressure medications, why do we need another one? Because maybe the next one will be better.

Problem is the first "cross" is never going to get you what you want. Anyone know how many generations Louis Dobermann had to do before getting the Dobermann Pinscher that he wanted? Probably quite a few, although he did do it within his lifetime.

George, yeah the Russian experiment was fascinating. More about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tame_Silver_Fox I think there was an even earlier experiment (1900s?) where the objective was simply to breed a domestic fox so it would be easier to harvest the pelts (ugh!) rather than this one where they were actually trying to find the chemical/genetic reason for domestication.
 

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Sorry, but Doodles aren't magically exempt from behavioral problems. They're not genetically superior, or their owners any better than any other breed just because they are Doodles. In fact, I have read about plenty of Doodles who needed professional intervention for behavior or health problems, though I'll admit I haven't seem much posted on this particular forum.
Exactly. Allow me to fill in the seemingly missing posts about Doodle behavior (though, this seems to be walking right into generalizing) that we somehow need to determine whether or not a hybrid breeder could be considered responsible.

When I lived in Ann Arbor, almost every other dog that came into the salon was a doodle. Every single doodle bit me or another groomer. All of them had kennel aggression issues. Most of them were completely unruly temperament wise. The one living in my apartment complex knocked a guy down and broke his arm. There!

I have to say no to the original question. And rather than ramble about it, I'll just condense my point to one "breed" and why this hybrid nonsense doesn't need to happen: Puggle.
 

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How many posts can you find in this forum that are first hand accounts of a labradoodle or goldendoodle biting someone, being dog aggressive, suffering from a genetic health defect, or in any other way not being a great, if possibly somewhat exuberant, family dog?
I've known dog aggressive Labs, human aggressive Labs, and a human-aggressive Standard Poodle (I don't know many SPoodles), so I don't see why a mix would be any better. You can't account for owner incompetence. And I'm sure they have just as high rates of hip displasia and other genetic issues that Labs/Goldens and Poodles have. Maybe people with problem Doodles are just afraid to post here :p . I do know that quite a few end up at the local shelter, I suppose because, just like Labs, they're so active. And some shed. I can't believe people get rid of their dogs for shedding (I've come to peace with the fur in my food), but it happens all the time.
 

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I can't speak for other people, but If the dog doesn't have the temperament/soundess of mind and body to make a good pet first, that dog is out the door. It's also got to be of good quality, don't get me wrong, I can't bear to keep something ugly in the back yard, but I have to be able to live with it. Mine make great pets, in addition to being show/breeding/performance dogs.
 

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It's not only possible, there are hundreds of such breeders:

http://www.goldendoodles.com/breeders.htm

I have a challenge for you folks:

How many posts can you find in this forum that are first hand accounts of a labradoodle or goldendoodle biting someone, being dog aggressive, suffering from a genetic health defect, or in any other way not being a great, if possibly somewhat exuberant, family dog?

In two years I don't remember seeing a single first hand post about a serious problem with a doodle.
I'll happily meet that challenge. On Saturday at work we ran a routine blood screen on a 1 and a half year old labradoodle. Boy were we shocked! 1 1/2 and the dog is in kidney failure. The owners allowed us to follow up the results with a urinalysis and ultrasound. It is a chronic condition, so genetic, not something he got from eating something he shouldn't have. This dog is looking at a severely shortened life expectancy and his owners are looking at some big bills down the road. Let's hope his 6 month old brother that he came in with doesn't have the same issues.

It's a great argument for regular blood testing no matter the age (pet was showing no symptoms), but also shows that yes, they still have problems.

I can name three goldendoodles who come into work that must be muzzled for us to get anywhere near them. Granted that at least one is a puppymill dog bought from a pet store, but the other two aren't.

On the otherhand... I will say that our friendliest, best behaved, we fight over who gets to be his tech, dog is a goldendoodle. We love Ernie!
 

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1) all existing breeds are the result of selective breeding of different combinations of existing breeds
Sure, but not after a generation or two.

The Plott hound wasn't available outside of the Plott family for more than 20 generations and wasn't recognized by the AKC for 250 years.

Still, I think we have done a poor job of breeding decisions. Too many breeds today are evolutionary dead-ends.

My notion of the ultimate dog is the feral dog. Nature makes better decisions about selection that humans. The closest thing in our family is my daughter's mutt, Dante.

 
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