Pamela A. Davol, 76 Mildred Avenue, Swansea,
On May 28, 2004, the Southcoast Life edition of the Fall River Herald News featured an article spotlighting the "Doodle", a mixed breed of dog created by crossing either a Labrador or Golden Retriever with a Standard Poodle, which is currently being marketed as a new hypoallergenic "breed" in the US. Though I do not frequently write letters to the writers of articles in newspapers, this particular article was fraught with misinformation on the Doodle "breed" that had the potential to impact negatively on families of allergic children as well as increase the demands on animal rescue organizations. The following is a copy of my letter written in response to the original newspaper article; it is my hope that the information provided in the following letter will serve as an advisory to those families who may be seeking to purchase a representative of the Doodle breed.
May 31, 2004
Dear Ms. ...........,
I just finished reading your recent article entitled A New Breed of Dog in the May 28, 2004 Southcoast Life edition of The Herald News, and I am very troubled by the gross misinformation that you presented on the "Doodle" mix-breed. I point this out not as a criticism, but rather because the erroneous information reported in your article has the potential to impact negatively on those families who may seek a hypoallergenic, large-breed dog as their family companion.
Firstly, "Doodles" (Labradoodles, Golden Doodles, etc.) are not "a new breed of dog" as the title of your article states. Doodles have been bred for over 30 years and originated in Australia. These dogs were originally bred for a specific purpose: to serve as guide dogs/assistance dogs for individuals whose allergies would otherwise prohibit them from using the services of a guide or service dog. Australian breeders have been cultivating this breed over several decades and through multi-generations to the point that one may argue that the Australian "Doodle" is today a breed unto itself. It is only recently that Doodles have gained popularity in the United States.
Secondly, the true "Doodle" is NOT a first generation outcross. Some backyard breeders (breeders not educated on their breeds and who typically breed dogs for profit at the expense of quality and breed-preservation) have attempted to cash-in on the growing popularity of the Doodle by performing first-generation crosses and are passing these dogs off as hypoallergenic Doodles. My recommendations to anyone considering purchasing a Doodle or to anyone referring to a Doodle breeder (especially with consideration to allergies) is to contact a breeder whose foundations originated in Australia. In Australia, the breed characteristics (hypoallergenic coat, temperament, genetic soundness, etc.) and other specific traits have been selectively bred for multi-generations, as indicated above. These dogs breed more "true" to the established Australian standard for the breed. Earlier generations or first generation outcrosses are less reliable and less consistent in terms of "breed type", genetic soundness, and especially hypoallergenic coat characteristics. By purchasing a first generation outcross, one cannot be certain of acquiring a Doodle with the hypoallergenic trait. Breeders with foundations derived from the Australian breeding program also tend to be more conscientious about genetic soundness and preserving specific traits of the Doodle compared to breeders who are simply trying to exploit and cash-in on the novelty of the breed by attempting to produce Doodles from first generation outcrosses. As with any breed, new or old, quality of the dogs will often vary depending on the motives and knowledge of the breeder.
Prospective dog owners with allergic concerns who may purchase first generation outcrosses from backyard breeders in the US are at risk to having to give-up these dogs at a later time if the dog fails to carry the hypoallergenic trait. In light of the dog over-population crisis and the continuous demands and countless hours placed on those in the field of dog rescue, it is my hope that in the future should you choose to write on a topic regarding dog breeds, that you will first consult someone who is an educated member of a National Breed Organization; that is, an individual dedicated to protecting and ensuring the education of the prospective dog owner and who understands that breeding responsibility goes beyond simply selling puppies for profit. In the future, I would be more than happy to refer you to an appropriate source.
Pamela A. Davol (retired breeder)
Copyright © 2004. Pamela A. Davol. All rights reserved. Copyright & disclaimer.
Back To Main Menu