On designer mutts, purebred imports and their unfair outcomes
If you own a sort-of-purebred––whether he’s recognized by a breed registry or not––you can breed him to a bitch of similar heritage––or not––and create a “designer dog.”
After all, a so-called “designer” doesn’t have to be Gucci or Pucci or Prada to claim he created a “designer” paper airplane that cannot fly...or a “designer” dress that fits like a garbage bag.
When, I’d like to know, did we become so collosally stupid that we’re now willing to believe that a “designer” label––on anything––means quality?
When did we adopt the notion that pets can be responsibly and safely purchased through “breeders,” sight unseen, as long as these individuals claimed the title and produced pets through “professional” websites anyone could slap up with $100 and a few cute puppy pics.
In fact, my clients are typically proud of the fact that their dogs came from Russia or Ukraine or Romania, Wisconsin or Minnesota or Texas. Imported pets add a certain caché. Until, that is, the creature fails to live up to his “designer dog” comeliness or supposed “breed standard” (i.e., his grown-up looks doesn’t match up with the adorable “parent” pics on the website). Or maybe they prove expensively diseased.
Either way, that’s when they get dumped. And that’s why my local shelter is currently experiencing an overflow of sort-of-purebred “designer” dogs and would-be “purebreds.”
Pug mixes, in particular, are on the rise. Shar-pei and French bulldog mixes, too. Heard of an Ori-Pei? (pug and shar-pei mix).
A Carlin pinscher? (pug and min-pin mix).
There are zillions of others. And once they have a name that catches on, it’s like wildfire. People buy. Talk up their pup on Lincoln Road. And build the buzz on a “breed” not worthy of any designation beyond, “cute-for-now, congenitally diseased mutt.”
And make no mistake, these dogs are almost always sick in some way or another. Whether they’re the purebred Frenchies from eastern Europe with almost uniformly impossible hips, uncontrollable atopy and butterflied vertebrae in trios, or the seriously brachygnathic Carlin pinschers from Minnesota, people are proud of these dogs...until they can’t afford their illnesses or are shocked by the rate of growth of their “teacup.”
Take yesterday’s shelter adoption: The Yorkie that ate Miami. Twenty-five pounds of “teacup” dog someone clearly bred and sold as a Yorkie (you can usually tell from the tail dock). No wonder he ended up in the shelter.
Take my own Slumdog: Someone must have thought he was worth selling (as a pug or pug mix) or else they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of removing his dewclaws. I can’t imagine anyone watching this “pug” grow and grow (with increasing deformity and terrible skin problems) feeling satisfied with their purchase.
And we wonder how he got onto the streets. Ten to one it wasn’t an accident.
Abandoning animals to a street life is a crime. (If you could prove it.) But creating these sick mixes and selling for export is of far more widespread concern. The insidious evil of it boggles the mind. Too bad our pet lemon laws are so toothless. Too bad the people who buy these animals are so easily sold on them.
To paraphrase Albert Einstein, it’s too bad there are only two things in life that are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And we’re really not so sure about the universe thing.