Labradoodles are hot doggies right now, but their success is shrouded by a very dark story. Sure these dogs are adorable, but the sad reality has original Labradoodle breeder Wally Conron wishing he’d never built this craze.
Conron stumbled upon this new puppy hybrid when trying to find a solution for a visually impaired woman. Her husband was allergic to dogs, so she needed a guide animal that wouldn’t cause him health problems. The poodle/labrador mix fit the bill, but was hard to sell to other clients.
Eventually, Conron coined the catchy term “labradoodle,” and the new breed took off like wildfire. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston fell in love with the sweet-natured canine, and even President Obama considered getting one for a family pet.
Enter puppy mills, eager to rake in on Labradoodle fame. These opportunists saw dollar signs, but lacked the know-how to breed these dogs right. The result has been a rash of labradoodles with health problems and unstable dispositions.
In Conron’s words, “Instead of breeding out the problems, they’re breeding them in. For every perfect one, you’re going to find a lot of crazy ones.”
The result? These dogs are unwanted, and many are killed. Conron regrets creating this “Pandora’s box,” and has become very outspoken about his concerns.
Health defects aside, trendy dogs lure buyers who simply aren’t prepared for the commitment. People who don’t understand that an animal is more than just a fashion accessory are likely to tire of the responsibility, and abandon their dog instead of giving her a proper home.
If you’re considering adding a Labradoodle to your family, stay away from breeders and head to a labradoodle rescue site like Doodle Rescue Collective Inc., a non-profit that matches homeless labradoodles with potential families.
Adopting a pet is always better than supporting a puppy mill, and the only way to stop unscrupulous breeders is by not giving them your money. When you adopt a labradoodle, you don’t just save the animal’s life — you send a message to puppy mills and influence other potential pet-owners to follow your lead. All that and you get to save money? Sounds like a win-win.