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December 11, 2006

Designer dogs breeding some discontent

Prices rise as demand grows

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — When 26-year-old Amanda Perry was asked to breed her Beagle with a friend’s Pug to create a littler of Puggles, she thought an easy opportunity to make some extra cash had presented itself.

As she flipped through the classified ads looking at new breeds of designer dogs, including the common Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, she decided she may have stumbled upon a doggy gold mine. Many of them were priced at more than $800.

“When I saw how much Puggles were selling for I decided to go ahead with it,” Perry said. “I was also really anxious to see what they would look like.”

Weeks later six adorable puppies lumbered around her home. She set their price at $500 and waited for the phone to start ringing. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

Perry sold only one puppy at her starting price. The last two puppies — which didn’t sell until nearly nine weeks later — only sold for $100.

Those buyers — says a veterinarian in Sellersburg, Ind. — made the wiser decision.

“There’s a fool born every minute,” said 67-year-old Dr. Joan V. Evinger, owner of Care Pets Animal Hospital. “And anyone who would pay four figures for a mixed breed dog has more money than sense.”

While she has seen several of these “designer dogs” in her practice, Evinger said the American Kennel Club is nowhere near ready to recognize them as legitimate, registered breeds. To do that, the new breed has to have at least 300 representatives of the right color, size and temperament, and they must be third generation. The specific wanted characteristics of the new breed must be decided upon by a newly-created national breed association. Such associations have already been created for the more popular designer breeds, including the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle.

“These dogs are not new breeds,” Evinger said. ”People think they’ll put together a Maltise and Yorkie and make a million dollars,” she continued. “These people that are buying the puppies think they’re getting an exclusive dog, but what they have is a mixed breed dog that they paid a bunch of money for.

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