Designer Dog Breed – Meet The Roodle
By Rebecca Prescott
Celebrities like Paris Hilton may carry their dogs in their Gucci handbags, accessorized to the glittering collar. But the recent trend in designer dogs seems to suggest that everyday people are catching this unfortunate trend.
Instead of simply buying diamante collars, however, people are demanding cross bred dogs with catchy marketing names. We’ve had the Spoodle, the Groodle, the Labradoodle, the Spanador, the Cavador, and the Retrievador. Now folks, meet the Roodle.
The roodle is a cross between a poodle and a rottweiler. They are the successful creation of a breeder from Melbourne, Australia. Fred Freeman has successfully bred 3 litters of roodles, some going as far afield as Hawaii.
Roodles have the crinkly coat of a poodle, but larger. They are quite stocky, and fairly big, with long floppy ears. Mr Freeman describes the dogs as having the intelligence of a rottweiler, yet docile and easy to train. His roodles are also non aggressive, do not moult, don’t smell, and are low on the allergy scale.
The idea of creating a non allergic dog was what started the original breeder of the labradoodle, Wally Conran. Wally was the Manager of the Royal Guide Dog Association in Australia at the time. Someone needing a guide dog who was non allergenic contacted the Guide Dog Association, and Wally successfully crossed a labrador with a poodle that fitted this purpose.
So, the origins of the labradoodle were quite in keeping with the way many of what are now considered pure bred dogs were created. That is, they were created with a specific purpose in mind.
But the popularity of the labradoodle has created a new set of problems. Namely, many unscrupulous people, some with no experience breeding dogs, and others with none, or little, experience breeding labradoodles or other similar crosses, jumped on the bandwagon. Demand meant that these dogs were expensive, supply was short, and this attracted many into this new field.
But breeding dogs, especially across different breeds, is not simple. In Wally Conran’s original efforts, not all labradoodles were low in allergy. And when it comes to trying to come up with new mixes, a lack of knowledge can produce disastrous results. For instance, breeding two dogs with similar genetic weaknesses can lead to the new litters born with an increased chance of the health problems associated with those breeds. Other factors include disposition. If people are expecting certain traits based on what decent breeders have produced, and they pay a lot of money for a dog that turns our to be completely different, those dogs may well end up being abandoned.
In the case of a dog bought to be low allergenic, this likelihood is higher, and this is exactly what is happening to many of the labradoodles being bought in the US now. They are ending up in shelters because they do not have the characteristics of the carefully bred stock the variation originated from.
And given that badly bred rottweilers can be very aggressive, if the roodle trend takes off in the same way, this could be a disaster all round. Especially so if a family with children bought one expecting the docile nature of the roodles created by Mr Freeman, and end up with an aggressive, large dog.
Labradoodles are not consistent breeds. And given that ten years was spent trying to get a rottweiler poodle cross, there is every indication to think that roodles are not a consistent breed either. That means that simply mating a rottweiler with a poodle is not going to automatically get you certain characteristics, especially in temperament.
Normally, contacting an association for a recommended breeder would solve this type of problem. But in this brave new world of designer dogs, this may not always be the case. Especially if the experience with the labradoodles is anything to go by.
The breeders at Rutland Manor and Tegan Park in Australia started their stock from labradors, poodles and labradoodles from Don Evans, another breeder who had discovered the breed independently of the Guide Dog Association. Those labradoodles were legitimate labradoodles, and they kept records of all subsequent breeding. They also determined which coats were low allergenic. They conducted extensive research and breeding programs to arrive at the dog that has become characterized as a ‘labradoodle’. Contrary to popular knowledge, they are not the product of exclusively mixing in labradors and poodles. Other breeds were used occasionally, for certain characteristics.
The breeders at Rutland Manor and Tegan Park began calling their dogs, and those descended from that stock by reputable breeders, Australian labradoodles, to distinguish them from the labrador-poodle mixes that were being indiscriminately produced. The mixes were not quality controlled, many were allergenic, yet people with allergies were misled into buying them, expecting not to get allergic reactions.
The International Labradoodle Association was set up originally to help maintain the quality and characteristics of this new designer dog. Yet they now are seeking to call all labrador-poodle crosses ‘Australian labradoodles’. If this is successful, consumers will have no way of knowing whether they are buying what they think they are, and what their health requirements determine they need. The end result will be more abandoned dogs being euthanased because of a careless association and even more careless breeders.
It does not bode well for the roodle.
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