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Labradoodle inventor regrets what he started

The man who came up with the Labradoodle — and, in the process, fueled the “designer dog” trend — now says he regrets what he started.

Wally Conran, 81, first bred a Labrador retriever with a poodle while he was manager of the puppy program at the Royal Institute of the Blind — in an attempt to provide a non-allergenic guide dog to a blind man in Hawaii.

The puppies were supposed to have the best traits of both dogs: the affable, controllable nature of the Labrador, and the curly, non-shedding coat of the poodle.

“But now when people ask me, ‘Did you breed the first one’, I have to say, ‘Yes, I did, but it’s not something I’m proud of’,'” Conran told The Australian. “”I wish I could turn the clock back.”

The Labradoodle is considered by many to be the the first of the so-called “designer dogs” — hybrids that fetch purebred prices and, in some cases, outsell pedigreed dogs (most of whom at one time were mutts or hybrids as well).

Some pet shops report designer dogs like Labradoodles, spoodles, schnoodles, cavoodles, moodles, groodles and roodles are being pumped out at high volume across the nation to meet demand.

“I’m not at all proud of my involvement in it,”  Conran said. “But the genie’s out of the bottle, and you can’t put it back.”

His dismay isn’t shared by breeders of the curly-haired cross-breeds, who say Conran came up with a winner — a family-oriented, non-shedding dog of  happy temperament.

The Labradoodle, like most so-called purebred breeds, may someday be officially recognized as such by kennel clubs. The Australian Labradoodle Association hopes the dog will be deemed a breed by the Australian National Kennel Council, though it notes the process could take as long as 20 years.

Comments

Comment from Anonymous
Time February 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

labradoodles do shed…thats why it was a failure

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