Much Ado About Poo

Are Cock-a-poo's, Peke-a-poo's and the other poo dogs real breeds?


“Rare!” “Exotic!” “One of a Kind!” “Luxury on a Leash!” proclaim the ads in the Sunday pet classifieds. “Get the best of both worlds!” “Registered New Breed!” “Special Price - this week only - $599!”

Curious? Who wouldn't be? Almost everyone wants something different, unusual, something new and exciting, something no one else has. What are these unique, exciting dogs with funny names and high price tags?

Meet the Poo's: Yorkie-Poo's, Cock-a-Poo's, Lhasa-Poo's, Beag-A-Poo's, Peke-A-Poo's, Pom-Poo's, Doxie-Poo's and Terri-Poo's, just to name a few. Meet their cousins, the Cocker-Chons and the Bi-Tzu. This large and incredibly diverse family of dogs includes such “breeds” as Cock-a-Shels and Malt-oodles; everything from the imposing Rott-a-Dor down to the diminutive Peke-A-Pom and Yorki-Huahua. What do these dogs with the whimsical breed names have in common? The fact that they're not real breeds at all. They're mongrels — mixed breeds — masquerading as something glamorous, valuable and highly desirable. Yorkie-Poo's are simply Yorkshire Terriers crossed with Poodles. A Bi-Tzu is a Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu mix. Cock-a-Shels result when Cocker Spaniels are bred to Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs) and Rott-A-Dors occur when a Rottweiler and a Labrador Retriever join forces. New breeds? Hardly. Behind the hype and the clever name is a common mutt.

Have you ever looked at a Basset Hound and a Poodle or a similarly mis-matched combination and wondered what the puppies would look like if the two were mated? Lots of us have. It makes for an entertaining exercise in imagination. But the people deliberately breeding “Peke-A-Poms” (a cross between a Pekingese and a Pomeranian) and other such fanciful mixes have taken the “what if?” game a step further. Rather than playing games with their imagination, they're playing games with living creatures, charging big prices for their results and telling some pretty tall tales to justify it. Here are some of them:

Does this mean that all producers of “Poos” and other mixes are unscrupulous and deceitful? No, many of them are simply ignorant of responsible breeding practices and unaware of what they're really doing. Both the deceitful and the ignorant, though, prey on the ignorance of the public — as long as people don't know the truth about these exotic-sounding dogs, they'll continue to buy them and support this unethical and unnecessary practice.

There's no doubt that mixed breeds like Yorkie-Poos, Malt-oodles, and Bi-Tzus can make wonderful pets. Thousands of people own and love mixed breed dogs of every description. But are these unusual mixes really valuable, unique, “designer dogs”? No, not any more so than the many wonderful mixed breeds available for adoption at the local animal shelter.

Don't be fooled by the whimsical names, the intriguing descriptions, and the high prices! It's just a lot of poo. You can find “designer dogs” of every size, shape, color and personality as close as your local humane society or rescue service and at a far more reasonable cost. Why not visit there first and save a life? You'll be glad you did!


Note

While no club had surfaced at the time the article was written, two clubs have since begun the process of developing the Cocker-Poodle cross as a breed. For more information, see the North American Cockapoo Registry (http://www.cockapoos.com/) and the Cockapoo Club of America (http://www.cockapooclub.com/). As noted in this article, however, the process is long and the requirements for admission to the AKC registry are not easily achieved.

[More on finding a dog]

Vicki DeGruy

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