Letting the Designer Dogs Out
You have the latest gadget, the hottest car and the best restaurant reservation in town, chances are you also have your eye on this season’s trendiest accessory — the designer dog.
Singer Jessica Simpson totes hers around in a Louis Vuitton bag; actor James Gandolfini has a pint-sized pup, too.
“Any dog that costs upwards of $2000 is going to cause a considerable stir among those who look for trendy things,” says Maggie Bonham, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Designer Dogs.
While mixed-breeds have been around forever — usually the result of random couplings — breeders are now intentionally producing mixed-breed puppies, marketing them as designer dogs and selling them for thousands of dollars.
These designer dogs are startlingly popular, according to the American Canine Hybrid Club, the designer-dog world’s answer to the American Kennel Club.
The club is registering about 500 litters of designer dogs a month, more than double the number of litters it was registering just more than a year ago.
Of course, not everybody is happy about welcoming these new breeds into the canine family, as seen in this article from The Wall Street Journal.
High-end mutts sit up and beg for respect
With her silky coat and full repertoire of tricks, Roxie could be a contender for one of the canine world’s top prizes, the coveted Best in Show ribbon at the Westminster Kennel Club competition. There’s just one problem: her ancestors.
Roxie’s not a purebred, she’s a mutt. She is part of a growing segment of hybrids, in this case, a popular cross between a Labrador and a poodle known as a Labradoodle. Her owner, Krista Waitz of Orlando, Fla., is pushing for dogs like Roxie to compete with purebreds despite their mixed lineage. “We’re in for the long haul,” she says. “We’re not giving up.”
It’s one of the biggest controversies in the canine world. Now that pricey “designer” dogs with names like the Giant Schnoodle (Giant Schnauzer/poodle) or the Morkie (Maltese/Yorkshire terrier) are trotting into homes around the country, their owners are demanding entree into the canine elite — and getting pushed out like junkyard dogs at a society ball.
Most of the country’s 73 million pet dogs are still purebreds or mutts from the local pound. But breeders say designer dog sales are booming. Wallace Havens, whose Puppy Haven Kennel outside Madison, Wis., sells 2,500 puppies a year, says requests for $600 designer dogs grew by 10 percent over the last year while demand for Puggles (a cross between a Pug and a Beagle) has tripled. The American Canine Hybrid Club, the designer dog world’s answer to the American Kennel Club, says it’s registering 500 new litters a month, more than double the number in 2004.
So the next time someone asks you what breed, you’re mutt is just say, “designer dahling!”