Purebred dog breeders have long been dealing with genetic issues and health problems related to their breeds. Due to this, responsible breeders will conduct genetic testing before continuing a line that may have health issues. However, this same attention to detail does not yet exist in the ‘designer dog’ world, which is where two purebred dogs are bred together to create a new specialty dog (think: Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Puggle, Bullypit and more). Dogs that used to be considered ‘mutts’ are now selling for $1000 or more, and there is no stopping this trend.
The purebred vs. designer difference
When you have a purebred dog, you can get them screened for health issues and that is that. There are certain known issues with poodles, or with pugs, or with retrievers. With a designer dog, you could get a sleek coat of a Golden Retriever but have the breathing issues of a pug – you just don’t know what you are going to get. Genetic testing is a way to discern what issues the parents might be predisposed to, but there is still no guarantee that this will catch everything. This genetic testing is not common in the designer breed world, where animals sell for upwards of $1000. The desire to make a profit can be more alluring than making sure there are healthy pets out in the world.
Screen the parents
While the American Kennel Club does not recognize these hybrid pets, you should still ask for the health papers of the parents who were bred for your new dog. Even if you never want to breed on your own, you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog came from parents who were screened for health issues prior to being mated. If your breeder is reluctant to provide this, ask yourself why and keep looking for a breeder that you feel comfortable with. You can also find these designer dogs (which used to be called mutts, after all) at the shelter. You will know less about the parents this way, but you will save a life.
Dogs that don’t make it as purebred breeders may turn designer
Keep in mind, that with the strict requirements of purebred dog owners, and their reluctance to use their own dogs for these crossbreeds, you have to take even more care with the breeder you look for. Make sure they are reputable, follow along with their previous litters and see if they are experiencing any health issues, and as mentioned before, get the health papers of the parents.
Since any pet purchase is a bit of the unknown – even with all of the best research you could still end up with a pet that has health issues – it is even more important than ever to get a pet insurance plan to cover your out of pocket costs should something happen to your furry friend. Because designer or not, all pets deserve a good life, and medical costs shouldn’t stop you from providing a good home for your new companion.