Cocker Spaniel and Poodle mix for sale
The family installed an electric fence inside the house to keep the pup contained, paid for obedience classes from a trainer, and were set.
Only they weren't. Theirs is a cautionary tale, an increasingly common one, of what can happen when a dog becomes too popular for its own good.
The puppy did not have the docile temperament of a lab, as advertised. He was high-strung, as poodles can be sometimes, especially miniature poodles. He was not good with children; he competed with them as if they were littermates—scolding, wrestling, biting them. He was not, as labradoodles are marketed, low-maintenance. Like both a poodle and a labrador, the puppy craved constant company. Being confined to two rooms by an absurd, zapping, invisible "fence" drove him crazy. So did the children and the nanny, who were inconsistent with their attention and discipline.
Like more and more labradoodles—and their cousins, the golden doodles, a golden retriever-poodle mix—this pup was dumped. He ended up at the Doodle Rescue Collective, Inc., based in Dumont, New Jersey, which fields calls from doodle owners all over the country desperate to dump their dogs.
Since the Doodle Rescue Collective began rescuing doodles in 2006, it has helped over 1, 200 dogs and counting. And it is not alone. There are dozens of other poodle-mix rescues, including rescues for cockapoos, or cocker spaniel-poodle mixes; schnoodles, for schnauzer-poodles; chi-poos, for chihuahua poodles; maltipoos, for maltese-poodle mixes; and so on. The rescues often spend thousands of dollars in healthcare and rehabilitation for these so-called designer dogs, mutts actually, whose owners spent months on breeder waiting lists to get them, and thousands of dollars to buy them, only to abandon them within a year or two.
Of course, not all labradoodle breeders run puppy mills. Gail Widman, president of the Australian Labradoodle Club of America, said that all members of the club must adhere to strict breeding standards, using DNA tests as proof, register with the source group in Australia, and guarantee the health and temperament of their dogs.
Given all those qualifications, Widman said, for people who might not be able to have a dog otherwise because of allergies, the true labradoodle, she claimed, "is the perfect dog."
"You'll be hard-pressed to find a real Australian labradoodle in a shelter, " Widman said. "They have wonderful temperaments, no smell, no shedding—they're brilliant dogs and they simply do not get given up."
But it is true, Widman added, "That a lot of people [breeders] call their dogs Australian labradoodles and they aren't."
These dogs have become victims of their hype, rescuers say. It's a phenomenon that happens to many breeds of dog. Every time a type of dog captures the public's imagination, the clamor surrounding it creates new backyard breeders, a new product for puppy mills, and new owners swept up by the hype. Dalmatians were all the rage after Disney's 101 Dalmations was released. Cocker spaniels had their day after Disney's Lady and the Tramp. Paris Hilton made teacup Chihuahuas dressed up in tutus a fleeting fad.