You might think the labradoodle was the happy accident of a chance meeting between a lovestruck labrador and a pining poodle. But in fact, the hypoallergenic labradoodle is the regrettable creation of puppy-breeder Wally Conron.
Why regrettable? Because the breed is unpredictable. Sometimes you get a calm, hypoallergenic puppy, other times you get a hyperactive, malting mutt. And that’s putting it mildly. Some of those Doodles are downright crazy!
To be fair, Conron never meant for the breed to become so popular to the point where we now have a whole range of Doodle dogs and Doodle breeders flooding the market (and the shelters). In the 1980s, Conron’s labradoodle made one couple very happy and helped a sight-impaired man with severe allergies find comfort and quality of life.
Since then dog breeders of every repute have cashed in on the high demand for Doodles. From Goldendoodles to Bernedoodles and Aussiedoodles and Schnoodles, you don’t have to look far before you find one of these designer dogs.
But the sad truth is, these breeds are not without their health problems. Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are known for having hypersensitive skin and digestive systems, not to mention problems with anxiety and arthritis. Other designer dogs like the French Bulldog is a high risk breed because of their pushed-in faces and oversized heads. A Frenchie typically struggles to get enough air into their lungs and prone to eye problems. Most French Bulldogs born via C-section and many mother dogs die during birth.
None of these breeds are natural and their very existence raises all kinds of questions regarding ethics and morals. These are some of the issues that writer and animal activist Madeline Bernstein explores in her new book: Designer Dogs: An Exposé: Inside the Criminal Underworld of Crossbreeding:
Bernstein calls out those responsible for the savagery, both domestic puppy mills and backyard breeders, and also an international dog trafficking ring that she’s been on the front line exposing.
This book “reveals our culture’s obsession with new types of dogs, disposable pets,” engineered for tiny bodies and silly, cute faces – and inevitable health consequences. When the medical bills become too much, these designer dogs are abandoned and add to the 6.5 million pets entering shelters each year. Bernstein predicts a future of “made-to-order puppies; hybrid animals; shorter life spans for dogs; and even the extinction of breeds like French bulldogs, pit bulls, King Charles spaniels, mastiffs, Skye terriers, bloodhounds, and more.”
It’s an eye-opening book and one that every dog lover needs to read, especially if you’re considering a labradoodle.