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LIL' BUDDY'S BLOG: "Designer Dogs" Cute as They Are, Sometimes Have "Issues!"

THE CHICAGO IL REAL ESTATE MARKET, AND OTHER THINGS CHICAGO, FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A LITTLE WHITE DOG!

Buddy Holly Moss Scans The Chicago Trib - 06-14-2007SORRY!  You caught me again catching up on the Business Section of the Chicago Trib. 

I just scanned an article in the paper the other day about what humans might call "Designer Dogs."  Some of you, in fact, may be regular readers of Lil' Buddy's Blog - so feel free to chime in with your comments and reaction.  You breeds, more than others, will know what I am talking about.

"Designer Dogs," for you human readers that might not know, are actually specifically- designed hybrids of two breeds.  Breeds are combined for their non-shedding coats, there resistance to the usual doggie diseases and maladys (such as "Drooping Tail Syndrome"), and the fact they might be hypo-allergenic (to humans, that is).

You'll see more of these special hybrids hanging around neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Lakeview,  and The Gold Coast here in Chicago - but, of course, it's a free-dog world, and you Designer Breeds are not limited to these areas, by any means.  It's been said many human celebrities and movie stars keep designer dogs in their homes, and rumor has it the chow is pretty good there!

Many designer hybrid dogs command steep purchase fees - upwards of $2,500, in some cases.  Heck, that's even higher than my close cousins, the 2 to 3-pound Teacup Peke, many looking more like large hampsters than dogs (sorry, you lil' guys).

You may have heard of breeds such as puggles (pug + beagle), labradoodles (Labrador Retreiver + poodle), or shia poos (poodle + Shih Tszu).

According to the Humane Society of the United States, however, many of these "Designer Dogs" are bred at exploitave puppy mills, in close, unsanitary surroundings.  This may lead to more ill puppies, and human owners inheriting trouble.

Led by high prices, puppy mills have sprung up across the country, mainly in rural areas.  The true market for these special-bred dogs, however, is the Big City - Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and others.

What's a "Puppy Mill"?  The Humane Society defines one as any operation—licensed or unlicensed—where animals are continually confined, kept solely for breeding and socially or physically neglected. It estimates there are about 10,000 puppy mills nationwide.

Kathleen Summers, Deputy Director of the Humane Society's "Stop Puppy Mills" campaign, warns puppy buyers to closely investigate pet stores or Internet operations selling pets.  Some, but not all, keep their bred animals in less-than-acceptable conditions.

Many times, some designer hybrid dogs are not healthy, and may develop more serious illnesses down the road. 

Tracy Mattes of Woodridge found her cockapoo, Jake, at a suburban pet shop three years ago. Within a few months, however, Mattes noticed her puppy had begun to suffer a number of serious, and very costly, health problems. Jake developed severe allergies, a juvenile cataract, a digit on his paw that needed to be removed and a kneecap that popped out of place.

"His veterinarian bills are through the roof," Mattes said.

On top of Jake's nearly $700 price tag charged by the pet shop, Mattes has spent upwards of $6,000 in surgeries and other specialized vet care. Today, Jake has to take two medications each day and requires at least once-monthly checkups.

Humans have bred hybrid dogs for many years.  A labradoodle is one of the most popular, thought to have been originally bred in Australia for its non-allergic coat. To cash in on the non-allergic trend, however, many amateur breeders attempt to mix poodles, and other curly-haired dog breed, with another less popular breed to create a custom mix.  (Let me tell you something, you humans - we dogs aren't PAINT COLORS, you know!)

Said Yrval Nir, a veterinarian in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, "I've heard of the breeding of dogs that don't drool."    The chances of that happening, believe me - a sometimes-drooling little dog - is very low!

Suburban puggle owner Jennifer Tvdik of the Chicago Suburb of Indian Head Park was told her pug + beagle mix would grow to roughly 15 to 30 pounds as a grown-up dog.  Today, two years later, her Rocky tips the scales at 51 pounds.  "He just kept growing, and growing," said Tvdik.

Veterinarian Nir stressed consulting a vet before buying any new puppy.  Even the most meticulous breeder, he says, can't exactly predict a parents' offspring.  "It's just like saying the kid is going to be the parents," he said.

When has THAT ever happened, dog OR human?

My advice, in closing - just look for a pure-bred Pekingese - like, for instance - ME!  We're great dogs, so long as you scratch us behind our ears, and rub our little bellies, every once in a while!

Melissa Patterson's story in yesterday's Chicago Tribune provides more details.

See you next week, you dogs!  Have a good weekend, and, of course - be careful where you mark!

YOUR ACE REPORTER ON FOUR PAWS,

BUDDY HOLLY MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:22 PM by Dean's Team
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