BY CLARE BOYLE: After visiting Crufts this year, I came back in awe of the many different breeds we have in the domestic dog world. There were more than 200 breeds there – some I had only seen in books and took great delight in seeing them in the flesh.
It was a terrible shame to learn of the breeds that are in danger of becoming extinct whilst we invent these new designer breeds such as “Labradoodle” or “Cockerpoo”..
What is wrong with the amazing breeds we already have? The most endangered is the Otterhound, a most magnificent dog. Similar in character to the Bloodhound, they were originally bred to hunt Otters until that became illegal in 1978 and then they switched to Mink or Coypu (similar to a beaver). They have a large head with a rough coat and are extremely friendly dogs which make them ideal family dogs.
What is wrong with the world when we have to mix the breeds we have to create designer breeds which are genetically incompatible? It is these designer breeds that we as trainers, find have either behaviourial or training difficulties.
Although the popular belief is that by mixing two breeds together you will automatically get the best out of the two breeds doesn’t always follow. For example: A labradoodle is Labrador x poodle.
These offspring will have the attribute of both breeds and that can mean they are large like a poodle with the temperament of the Labrador or the body of a Labrador with the temperament of the poodle.. How can you be certain of which way around this will be?
Have the breeders made sure that the Labrador is from good show lines for the soft personalities or will it be from the working line who are reknown for their sharp temperament and hard working drive?
And what about the poodle side? Poodles are known for their agile ability and their love of fun but some are also known for being highly strung and needing calm owners.. is this really a good combination of breeds to mix??
So let’s take a long hard look at the future for all dogs. If we re-home the dogs from the pounds and rescues in this country and stop generating these new breeds, we can help save the endangered breeds that represent our country.