Designer dogs, or hybrids, are intentionally planned crosses between two purebred dogs. Despite not being officially recognized by the AKC, Designer dogs are extremely popular because of their good looks!
Our designer dog is Tilly! She’s a Cavachon, a hybrid of the Bichon Frise and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Designer dogs were bred to combine the two best qualities of the original dogs (theoretically!). The first designer dog was the Labradoodle, bred in Australia in the 1970s for a visually impaired individual with certain allergies. The Labrador, for its guiding abilities, was bred with the Poodle, for its intelligence and low shedding. Voila! You now have a suitable guide dog for that individual.
Tilly was attacked by another dog soon after her adoption. Despite getting along well with other dogs at home, she tended to get anxious around dogs on leash. With obedience training, tennis balls and yummy treats, she has been doing much better and is even making doggy friends. Her pet parents can look out for warning signs and can now better manage her reactions.
Critics of the Designer dog trend are alarmed with the lack of regulation and the long term health and behavioural consequences of mixing two breeds of different capabilities and instincts. In fact, the creator of the first Australian Labradoodle himself regrets “opening the Pandora’s box” of crossbreeds, pointing to high number of designer dogs with hereditary problems! We still don’t know what we are creating.
All this to say, if you are looking to get a Designer dog, please make doubly sure you are selecting a pup for its good behaviour and proof of good health, and not just for their looks! In fact, this piece of advice holds true for any dog you buy or adopt into your home.
More information links below!