OK, what exactly is so wrong with Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, etc. anyway?? Ah, here is a
page in itself. The concerns of purebred breeders on this issue include:
- There is no guarantee of what you will get, as crosses are not a "breed" and do not "breed true" over generations. Do you want the shorter coat of the Lab with the non-shedding quality of the Poodle? You
may get the opposite. A majority of them DO shed - some more, some less, with a very high-maintenance coat.
- Genetic health is NOT improved simply by out crossing. Expanding the gene pool can mean an increase
in the genetic health issues in the offspring, not a decrease.
- Quality issues. Many people do not realize that the cross breeder does not have access to better quality, sound, health tested dogs of the parent breeds, as reputable breeders do not allow their dogs to do cross breeding. I have been amazed at how many would-be cross breeders did not realize this themselves until they go shopping for a stud dog. The cross breeder also by definition is not held to breed or ethics standards by breed associations, clubs and peers. Few breeders stand behind their stock and provide a refund or replacement for a puppy that has health, genetic or other issues.
- People think it is fun (and lucrative) to cross breed, and then there are not as many homes as puppies.
We find these dogs in increasing numbers in shelters and rescue programs, with no local breed clubs to
take responsibility for finding them homes.
- Finally, about Labradoodles in particular: there seems to be a common thought that these should be
mellow, easy-going dogs. Labs can be energetic and strong, with the "big motor", great stamina and never-
say-quit drive that the strenuous job of retrieving waterfowl demands. Poodles add the lythe, athletic
physique, longer legs and playful temperament, so often these are very active dogs that get very large. As with any dog, it depends greatly on the temperament of the parents, but there are many Doodles that are more relentlessly energetic than the average of either parent breed, with the weight of the lab and the height of the Poodle!
Many "Doodles" are great and have contributed to the popularity of the mix, but it IS a mix, not a breed, so do be aware that unpredictability of results from the cross is the same as with any mixed breed dog.
Why shouldn't I adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue organization?
"Adopt, Don't Shop". People are increasingly being conditioned by appealing media campaigns to feel that this is the only "right" course of action. But is it for everyone? Read on. It is important to be clear about what the choices are, and to make the right one for you and your family. The growing "retail rescue" business in this country - some are now calling it the "rescue racket" - has spawned an industry that is creating a big demand for dogs, increasingly from other countries, bred in exactly the circumstances most of us would like to discourage.
Pet Overpopulation? We are told not to acquire a pet from a breeder when there are "so many dogs
in shelters needing homes." But in fact, the domestic canine "overpopulation" problem in this country has lessened so dramatically in the last forty+ years, that many shelters now routinely operate at less than full capacity, and there is an exploding, unregulated business of pet transporters that import animals from other parts of the country, and over a million a year from other countries, and truck them (and fly them) around the country to keep local shelters "stocked".
More and more, US shelters and rescue operations have become a destination for dogs from puppy mills and other irresponsible breeding practices in other countries, with a corresponding increase in previously unseen parasites and diseases coming in to this country that is alarming the veterinary profession. In the Portland area alone we routinely see over 5,000 dogs imported annually from outside the area and brought to local shelters, unlike days past when our local humane societies had mostly local dogs. Paradoxically, these out of area and out of country dogs make it even harder to find homes for the local dogs that need them.
A recent article in a rescue pet oriented magazine sounded an alarm with a prediction that in the near future there would not be enough available dogs to keep up with the demand at shelters, due to the effect of the decades-long spay/neuter campaign in this country. This article proposed various possible sources of adoptable dogs for shelters to seek out, finally even suggesting that it might ultimately be necessary to get "puppy mill" type breeders geared up to produce more puppies! What!!! Is this what we want to encourage by where we acquire our pets?
Is providing a home for a shelter or rescue pet the only moral "high road"? It can be very satisfying to provide a home for a dog that needs it. But there is also value in considering the question of what behavior and practices you want to encourage with your patronage - responsible breeding or irresponsible breeding. Also consider your obligation to your family and to your pet to maximize the probability that it will be a good match for all.
We do applaud people who are motivated to provide a
home for a shelter pet, and are capable of dealing with
sometimes unexpected challenges and outcomes. If you are
an older individual looking for a pet, we encourage you to
adopt the older dog that has lost its home and will have a
hard time finding a new one.
Please, if you are visiting shelters looking for your next pet, ask where the dog comes from! Try if possible to help a local dog!
Breeders as Villains. Some animal rights organizations do not believe we should "own" animals at all, and have nothing less than the (non-publicized) goal of eliminating private pet ownership altogether. Their plan is that if private breeders that can provide dogs directly to the public are vilified, harassed and legislated out of existence, and pets can only be obtained from shelters already spayed and neutered, this will ultimately eliminate the source of all pet animals. Does this sound far-fetched? It does, but sadly it is not only true, the approach has already been amazingly successful on a number of levels. There is a long term, well funded, two-part plan to accomplish this: by promoting shelter adoptions, which ensures all animals will be spayed and neutered, no matter how inappropriately young; and to simultaneously make things very difficult for private breeders, through a variety of legislative and regulatory restrictions, as well as general bad press. Media campaigns literally have made "breeder" almost a bad word, as if the dogs that end up in rescues and shelters do not also come from breeders - just the wrong kind. Responsible hobby breeders of purebred dogs are given the same negative comments and publicity as the worst puppy mills, with the puppy mills and other irresponsible breeders ironically being encouraged by increasing demand for "rescues". By contrast, it is well proven that hobby breeders of quality purebred dogs do not contribute to shelter populations, and most of them sell all but future breeding stock on spay-neuter contracts.
Spay/Neuter Issues. It is the practice at all shelters and rescue organizations to spay and neuter pets prior to adoption, regardless of age, even small puppies. Yet scientific studies are increasingly demonstrating that it can be medically and temperamentally harmful to spay/neuter dogs prior to puberty and even later. These adverse health results include a number of orthopedic problems because of the delayed closure of growth plates, several types of cancers, incontinence, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis and a higher rate of adverse reactions to vaccines. The results for temperament issues are worse. In particular, neutered males are more aggressive, not less, than unneutered ones, and the younger the dog is neutered, the more pronounced the effect. Studies have shown several problems with a significantly higher incidence in spayed/neutered dogs including noise sensitivity, fearful behavior in females, aggression in males, and generally increased reactivity. The bottom line is that for optimal health of your canine pet, it should not be spayed or neutered until the onset of puberty, and two years is even better. This will not be an option with dogs from shelters or rescue organizations. As a pet owner, you should have the option to maximize your pet's chances for long term good health.
Cost. Many people also may feel they cannot afford a purebred dog from a breeder, not realizing until they have settled on a shelter dog that adoption fees have also climbed to several hundred dollars, often well over a thousand, for a mixed breed of unknown background. And ongoing health and behavioral issues can make up any remaining difference in a hurry in veterinary and remedial training fees, with no recourse or support from the breeder. Make sure you know the shelter or rescue organization's fees so you aren't surprised.
Predictability. The most major concern with rescue adoption is not knowing if the dog you are considering will turn out to be right for you and your family, as issues of health, temperament, breed characteristics and background experiences are usually unknown. What we are not told is the high rate of return for shelter animals - a heartbreaking and expensive process for all concerned. A high tolerance for surprises, great flexibility and a capacity for remedial training is recommended for shelter adoptions. Research has shown that acquiring a pet from a responsible private breeder dramatically increases the satisfaction level experienced with the pet. This is an average - many people have great experience with their rescue dog, of course. What is important is to be clear about your own capabilities and experience when evaluating these options.
Choice. There is much less variety in the types of dogs available in shelters today than in years past. We seem to have a huge preponderance of only certain breeds or mixes of these breeds. These dogs may not best suit the capacities or needs of everyone. By contrast, there is almost infinite variation in the breeds available through private breeders with corresponding available choices as to function, size, coat, temperaments, vocalization (did you know that the beautiful Basenji does not bark?), shedding, hypoallergenic qualities, and pleasing appearance, so with a little research, you can customize your dog search for your own family and living situation. Also be aware that most breeders of quality purebred animals are not making any money long term doing this! It is a labor of love for the breed.
Age and Your Dog. No, not the dog's age, your age! It is wonderful to finally be retired and have plenty of time to be with your new pet! It is a great time to get a dog. But also be aware that Standard Poodles often live to be 13-15 years of age, Minis and Toys often to 17. If you are in your seventies and wanting a new dog, you need to think about how old you are going to be when the dog is aged, and needing help getting into the car and so forth. If you are seventy, that could take you into your mid-eighties, when you may or may not be able to continue to care for a dog. When you are seventy, you feel great and think it's no problem. But at this age, things can change fast.
As rescue coordinator for the Columbia Poodle Club, the most heartbreaking and frequent call I get is from a relative who has just buried a parent, aunt or uncle, or has had to put them in hospice care, and now needs to find a home for the dog left behind. At this point, the dog is also aged, maybe with one or two health issues of its own, often never having lived anywhere else. There is no good answer for these dogs. I have tried in vain to find homes for them, as have the shelters they often are taken to. People just do not often adopt aged dogs that will have short lives filled with veterinary bills. If you are in your eighties, in good health, and would like a new pet, please consider the aged dogs in this tragic situation.
Please, if you are considering adopting a young dog and you are a senior, do not do so without first having a plan!! A plan for who is going to take your dog if you become ill and/or die before you assume you will. You need to get a commitment from a relative or very close friend you can really trust, who is younger than you are, that they will (willingly and lovingly) take the dog. Then, you need to make an effort during the dog's lifetime to have it become acquainted with your chosen successor, and make sure the commitment continues. A bequest in your will to this person to defray costs, on the condition they accept your dog, is also appropriate.
Poodle Palooza is Back!
Our date is September 25, 2022
In Ridgefield, WA on our own five acres.
Send me an email if you would like to be on our list for updates
on this great Poodle party!!
NOTE: As of May 25 we are at capacity for reservations, but if you will email me at email@example.com, I can add you to my waitlist.
Benefitting Poodle health research through the Poodle Club of American Foundation,
and the Columbia Poodle Club, Inc. **
Standards, Minis and Toys – all welcome
You don't own a Poodle but love them and would like to come?
You are welcome!
*Full catered, gourmet lunch provided*
*Poodle Olympics! Funs games with your dog, with prizes.*
*Professional Photographs of/with your Poodle, in the photography tent*
This year's special event will be a performance event showcasing the
amazing versatility of Poodles
Benefitting the Poodle Club of America Foundation, funding research into Poodle health issues, and the Columbia Poodle Club, Inc.**
Where: Ardent Standard Poodles, 30200 NW 18th Pl., Ridgefield, WA 98642
(cross road: 299th St.) Just north of the TriMountain Golf Course
When: September 25, 2022; 10:30 AM - 3:00 PM
$25.00 per person, children under 12 are free.
**RSVP required** to Paula Morgan, 360-760-4262, firstname.lastname@example.org,
with names of attendees, and number of cars.