Save for his unhinged behavior directly after a bath, I never thought of my 25-pound cockapoo, Griffin, as a monster.
But the man who started the “doodle” craze by breeding a black lab with a poodle three decades ago regretfully says he opened a "Pandora’s box" and likened his product to a "Frankenstein," according to a report by The Associated Press.
"I’ve done a lot of damage," Wally Conron told the news outlet. "I’ve created a lot of problems."
Conron is in the news this week because, for the first time, the 138-year-old Westminster Dog Show will allow mixed-breed dogs. (FOX Sports 1 will air the Masters Agility Championship finals from 7 to 9 p.m. ET Saturday, Feb. 8). These canines used to be known on the streets as "mutts," but some are now calling them "all-American" dogs.
There are no labradoodles entered in Westminster, but Conron will nonetheless watch the Westminster feeling guilty about what he hath wrought.
"Marvelous thing? My foot," he said. "There are a lot of unhealthy and abandoned dogs out there."
This all started when Conron, a breeder for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia, got a request from a couple with some specific needs. The woman needed a seeing-eye dog, but her husband was allergic to them. Since a poodle’s curly hair doesn’t shed like a lab’s does, the combination was a success for Conron and the couple.
Had the story ended there, of course, you wouldn’t be reading about it today.
At the time, nobody wanted labs crossed with anything. He had a long waiting list for purebred labs, but no demand for any lab mixes.
"So I had to come up with a gimmick," he said.
What he had was a branding problem. Instead of calling them a lab-poodle mix, he called them "Labradoodles," thereby presenting them as a new kind of dog that was totally a legitimate thing to want.
"All of a sudden, people wanted this wonder dog," Conron said.
It created a new branch of the breeding industry, dedicated to so-called "designer" dogs, often bred with little regard for the health consequence to the animal. Puppy mills, which Conron calls "horrific," churn out scores of unhealthy and unwanted dogs that eventually get euthanized.
PETA told the AP it appreciates Conron speaking up against a trend he started.
"Breeding ‘purebred’ or ‘designer’ dogs for exaggerated physical characteristics such as flat faces or sloping hips can cause them severe health problems," said PETA vice president Daphna Nachminovitch. "The kindest thing that anyone can do for dogs is to adopt them from a shelter — and make sure that they are spayed or neutered."
And now, Thursday’s links:
Here’s a guy who has taken famous corporate logos and turned them into NFL logos.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram anonymously surveyed coaches about the various schools that recruit their players, with illuminating results.
Steve Nash’s mustache:
Brazil is making special accommodations for obese soccer fans.
This is the seat for obese fans at the World Cup stadium in Rio: 50% discount on tickets if you have doctor's note pic.twitter.com/V9KkSx555s