The term ‘designer dog’ has been used so loosely it is time we clarified exactly what it means. A designer dog is one that has been crossbred with two popular purebreeds.
Designer dogs are said to come from sound purebred dogs of different breeds, which have been specially chosen for certain traits and characteristics.
Unlike purebred dogs, designer dogs are not considered a ‘breed’ in Australia as they are not registered or recognised with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) or your local Canine Council. This means breeders are not regulated and scrutinised for their breeding practices and the breed has no real standard.
This is not to say that particular breeders of designer dogs aren’t breeding using safe practices; it just means there is room for more ‘cowboys’ who are cashing in on this new generation of dogs and putting the general public at risk with sick or unbalanced dogs.
There is also the risk that the bad traits of the purebred are what is being transferred into these ‘designer dogs’, rather than the other way around.
Dr Paul McGreevy from the University of Sydney has researched dog breeding extensively and its genetic implications. McGreevy also discovered that some breed standards of purebred dogs, which seem to be based more on aesthetic qualities than working properties, have actually led to some health and behavioural problems in the domesticated dog.