Friday, November 06, 2009

Designer Dogs You'll Never See

It's official. The era of Designer Dogs is upon us. What used to be called "mutts," "mongrels" or "hole in the fence" dogs are now being bred on purpose and offered to the public. The hegemony of the AKC prevents these mixes from being labeled "breeds," hence the market friendly term "Designer Dogs."

Personally, I blame the Doodles. Poodles crossed, intentionally or not, with Labrador Retrievers and somebody with advanced PR instincts named it a "Labradoodle." Which is a charming name, fun to say, and converts a tough sell into a desirable acquisition. Go down to your local shelter, and notice all the lab mixes filling the kennels. Lab mixes are big dogs, with hunting instincts and a need for a lot of exercises. Contrast that with a "Labradoodle," which sounds like a cuddly indoor pet that would be fun to have around.

So why not a "Golden Doodle?" That would be a Golden Retriever/Poodle cross that riffs on the Labradoodle name while not having any etymological claim to that extra "D." Should logically be a "Golden Roodle," which is not nearly as successful of a name.

These may be good dogs. These may, in fact, be great dogs, but the concept has run riot. There is an American Canine Hybrid Club, with official cross breeds. A sampling:

Affenpinscher x Bichon Frise Affenchon
Affenpinscher x Chihuahua Affenhuahua
Affenpinscher x Japanese Chin Chin-Fenpinscher
Affenpinscher x Poodle cross Affenpoo
Afghan Hound x Rottweiler Rottaf
Airedale x Labrador Retriever Lab'Aire
Airedale x Poodle Airedoodle
Akita x Boxer Boxita

pSeriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY? "Chin-fenpinscher?" "Rottaf?" "BOXITA?" Apparently, the name is assigned when a breeder registers a cross and proposes a name. It occurs to me there are several crosses you are never going to see. I hereby propose the following:

Shih Tzu x American Bulldog Bull Shih
Maltese x Cocker Spaniel Cocktese

Hey! They're easy to remember!

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