Designer of Designer Dog Has Regrets

Regrets, I’ve had a few… but then again I never designed a designer dog.  Apparently once you’ve done that, you’ve got oodles of regrets.  Now before any doodle gets upset with us – just because your “father” has some regrets doesn’t mean that you and all of your doodle friends aren’t great dogs (because we know that you are and we love see you at doggie day care), as a dad I know that I have regrets about my kids – but I love them just the same.

First let’s start with the obvious. These designer “breeds” of dogs (you know, “Labradoodle,” “Goldendoodle,” and the list goes on and on) are not breeds. They are intentionally crossbred dogs.  And who can claim responsibility for these oodles of doodles?  Apparently that person is Wally Conron who, in the 1980s, was the puppy breeder manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia and was tasked to provide a non-shedding guide dog to a blind women because her husband was allergic to dogs.   It took him 3 years and 33 dogs before he mated a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle which resulted in 3 puppies.  He was pretty sure that he had solved the allergy problem but he than ran into an unexpected problem: he couldn’t find a family willing to train and socialize these puppies before the pups joined the guide dog program because everyone wanted a purebred dog.

So what do you do when everyone wants something with a fancy label?  Of course, you attach a fancy label to whatever you’re trying to sell, and that’s what they did. They announced that they had created a new breed of dog: the “Labradoodle.”

But since none of these oodles are purebred dogs each breeding cycle results in puppies that lack the generally predictable characteristics of purebred dogs. Conron states, “This is what gets up my nose, if you’ll pardon the expression. When the pups were five-months old, we sent clippings and saliva over to Hawaii to be tested with this woman’s husband. Of the three pups, he was not allergic to one of them. In the next litter I had, there were 10 pups, but only three had non-allergenic coats. Now, people are breeding these dogs and selling them as non-allergenic, and they’re not even testing them!”

Conron doesn’t stop there; he worries that he’s “opened a Pandora’s Box” and “released a Frankenstein. So many people are just breeding for the money. So many of these dogs have physical problems, and a lot of them are just crazy.”  His concern goes as far as warning President Obama on the risk of getting a Labradoodle, and rather than being proud of his oodles of doodles he blames himself for the harm he has done to dog breeding, stating that “I’ve done so much harm to pure breeding and made so many charlatans quite rich. I wonder, in my retirement, whether we bred a designer dog—or a disaster!”

And what kind of doodles does the father of the doodle have in his own house?  None – just plain old, purebred Labrador Retrievers.  But what do you think?  Is Conron worrying about something worth worrying about or is he simply upset that he didn’t get to cash in on his “creation?”

Thanks for reading.
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