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What’s the deal?

 “Designer dogs” are simply expensive mixed breed dogs with cute names. A lot of people are looking for something unique so gravitate towards these mixes. The problem with them (the dogs) is you never know what you are going to get.
Don’t expect Designer dogs to fit the bill if you are looking for a shed free breed. Just because it is a Poodle or Bichon mix does not mean it will not shed. Remember that the other half of the mix usually is a breed of dog that sheds quite a bit so it stands to reason that a percentage of the pups will inherit the shedding coat. Even the ones with poodle type hair will shed due to having 50% of the genes of a shedding breed.
If you do opt towards one of these expensive mixes you should do some research on the dogs the person is breeding. Many small dogs have huge problems with “slipping patella” or bad knees. This is an inherited disease that is extremely painful to the dog and requires surgery to fix. Another ailment of small breeds is epilepsy. Having a dog with seizures is sometimes very difficult to deal with and if the seizures are bad they can be fatal to the dog. Cardiac issues are common in a lot of the smaller breeds that are commonly used for mixing as well. Make sure the parents of a puppy you are looking at have health clearances. Just because they are mixed breeds or pure breds being used to create mixed breed pups does not mean they should not be health tested. When asking about health issues make sure you see the paperwork that certifies the dogs are clear of hereditary diseases. These would be:

     OFA- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. This organization tests for hip and elbow dysplasia, patella, heart and thyroid issues.

If the dog is free of elbow dysplasia it will have a number starting with the letters “EL” such as EL87650. If the dogs’ elbows are bad no number will be given.

The hip rating will look something like this: GS28138G28M-T. This rating is as follow- GS is for German Shepherd, the next 5 numbers is the certification number, The “G” in the middle stands for “Good” (this letter can also be “F”=fair, “E”=excellent) then 28M states the dog was certified at 28 months and was a Male, the “T” is for Tattoo or Microchip (which is now required).

CERF-Canine Eye Registry. This organization tests for any abnormalities of the eyes such as PRA, Glaucoma, Corneal disorders etc. CERF testing must be done yearly so make sure the paperwork is current.
If the breeder does not have the paperwork showing the clear status of the dogs they are breeding then I would look elsewhere for a puppy. Some of these diseases are expensive to correct if they can be corrected at all. Do not let a breeder tell you that only large dogs get hip dysplasia. This is a totally untrue statement!! All dogs are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia!
   Just remember; your local shelter may have the same type of dog taken in as "breeder excess" (puppies they cannot sell) for a much more reasonable cost! Giving a dog a home from the shelter so that it will not be "put to sleep" is a better choice when looking for your next companion!
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