Posts Tagged ‘designer dogs’

Rodent boy slept on the floor last night, away from his bed and cuddled up closely to Muppet Dog. When I asked him why, he said it was because Muppet wouldn’t get up on to his bed, so he joined him on the floor. As cute as this is, it also highlights why we got the dog in the first place. As our children pass through that invariably tricky adolescent phase, the mutual unconditional friendship animals provide, can be so helpful. So, when one of our kids occasionally ‘hates’ us for some trivial reason, Muppet Dog is still likely to be able to gain access to their bedroom for a cuddle. Ultimately, and without wanting to sound too melodramatic, this interaction could, we believe, potentially cushion them from spiraling into depression or other behavioral problems. Now while I’m not overly worried this will be an issue for us, it can and frequently does become a problem for many families.

We waited until Rodent Boy reached seven years old before we got Muppet. Being the youngest child, and assuming the dog lasts the full term, Rodent will be nineteen or twenty years old (adult anyway), and so better placed to deal with the passing of what has rapidly become a fellow sibling. Having a sensitive teenager dealing with the death of a dog-brother could, we thought, make a difficult time even harder.

“So what dog should we get?”
I said enthusiastically one morning just after Rodent’s seventh birthday.

“Look, I really, really don’t want a dog.” said Working Mum. “They shed hair, they fill the garden with poo, they bark all the time, they need exercising, they chew everything… Do I need to go on?”.

All valid arguments of course from someone like her who’s never had a dog. But what she was failing to appreciate, was that like children, dogs always give back far more than they take. After much research, I finally found a breed that I felt met everyone’s criteria, Working Mum included – well except for the poo bit, they all do that.

“The Australian Labradoodle!” I proudly announced to the family at dinner.

This ‘designer dog’ came about when in the early 1980s Wally Conran the breeding manager of the Australian Guide Dogs Association in Victoria had the idea to cross a Poodle with a Labrador Retriever to produce a hypo-allergenic guide dog. A lot has happened since then, not all of it good. With the rise in popularity of this breed every Tom, Dick and Harry has been crossing Poodles and Labs in their backyard in an effort to cash-in. Unfortunately, 87% of first cross puppies will shed hair and therefore not be hypo-allergenic and some very strange looking dogs have resulted. Thankfully however, a handful of breeders in Australia are working very hard to refine the breed and they believe that it will only be a few years before the required criteria is met for it to become a recognised breed with the Kennel Clubs around the world.

So what’s so special about Labradoodles? Well to start with, they’re great looking dogs. They have no doggy odour, seldom, if ever, need bathing, and of course are a Godsend if, like us, you have any allergy or asthma sufferers in the family. They have a vivacious nature and a joy of living. They have a unique and delightful way of ‘melting’ at the touch of a human hand, even when bouncing around and full of play.

We got Muppet Dog from CloudCatcher Labradoodles about two and a half years ago and he is without doubt maturing into a mighty fine young man. He’s a fifth generation Labradoodle and I have since met both his parents, a couple of his grandparents and an uncle. Several of his siblings were dispatched around the world, a couple to the US, one to Denmark and one to Germany. I’ve now just about got used to cars driving past us slowly with excited young occupants staring longingly out at him. Women too, often just stop me in the street and initiate meaningful conversations. [Sigh…] If only I’d had him a few years ago!

Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail.
Henry Wheeler Shaw


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