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One of the unfortunate results of the ‘Designer Dog’ trend is an increase in purposefully bred hybrids in the shelter system.
Rehomes of some ‘Designer Dogs’ go through organizations committed to that particular hybrid or one of the parent breed rescue organizations. Someone who has spent a great deal of money on a dog is not likely to give it away. They generally look for a way to recoup some of their initial investment and hope to sell the dog to a new owner. Now, with that being said, shelters are seeing ‘Designer Dogs’ coming through their doors.
To find out how the ‘Designer Dog’ trend is impacting the shelter system, I spoke to Kris Best, Communications and Development Manager and Lynae Gieseke, Executive Director, both of the Minnesota Valley Humane Society.
According to Kris and Lynae, the single biggest reason dogs are being surrendered, whether they are a hybrid or a purebred, is the owners not realizing the amount of work it takes to train and raise a dog. In fact, 20%-25% of shelter dogs are purebreds.
When looking at hybrids, Kris and Lynae recommend carefully researching the parent breeds and making sure they have the traits best for your family. You may get the best of both breeds in your dog – or you may get the worst! They are seeing people purchase a ‘Designer Dog’ because of the cute name and adorable puppies without taking into consideration whether this is the right type of dog for them. Kris Best, “Don’t get a dog just for the ‘label’. It’s not a purchase like your designer purse or sunglasses.”
The key to any dog whether hybrid or purebred is their training. This takes a commitment by the owner. Kris Best states, “We are seeing an increasing number of Labradoodles and Goldendoodles in CanineUniversity, because most people are surprised by the high energy of these dogs!”
You can find ‘Designer Dogs’ at your local shelter, but they tend to move in and out of the shelter quickly. I like Kris Best’s suggestion, “Why not look in your local shelter and create your own ‘Designer Dog’ label? Look at that adorable Lab/Dalmatian mix and make it your ‘Labmation’ or the handsome Shepard/Husky mix and make it your ‘Shepsky’?” Or better yet, see just a dog, a companion and giver of unconditional love. A being who will enrich your life in ways that cannot be expressed.
Whether designed with intent or by happy accident, all dogs deserve a loving, nurturing, forever home.
Reprinted with permission from TC Dog magazine, July/Aug 2006, Vol. 4, No.2.