Part One looks at the insidious reason behind the oodles of new dog names (pun intended).
Dogs are big business.
Look at the list below of some purported breeds provided by a single puppy supplier. I use “purported” because the designer names used are not actually recognized breeds.
Beagalier (Beagle cross Cavalier)
Cavocker (Cavalier cross Cocker Spaniel)
Cavador (Cavalier cross Labrador)
Cavoodle (Cavalier cross Poodle)
Groodle (Golden Retriever cross Poodle)
Jug (Pug cross Jack Russell)
Maltalier (Maltese cross Cavalier)
Maltese Shih Tzu (No designer name was given for this cross. What? Malty Shit not suitable?)
Mini Groodle (Golden Retriever cross Miniature Poodle)
Moodle (Maltese cross Poodle)
Pugalier (Pug cross Cavalier)
Puggle (Pug cross Beagle)
Schnoodle (Schnauzer cross Poodle)
Spoodle (Cocker cross Poodle)
So what's my point?
The list above is what has become known as "designer dogs". It's a relatively new term coined in the late 20th century. These are actually cross breeds with a fancy, schmancy made-up name. There’s nothing wrong with cross breeds. Cross breeds abso-jolly-lutely rock! Pedigree dogs originally come from cross breeding. There’s nothing wrong with “designer dogs” per se. I even think fancy, schmancy names are quite humorous. What’s wrong is the impression the “designer dog” label gives implying that one may be getting a specially designed and recognized breed and the calculated reason behind doing this.
“So, what’s the reason?” I hear you ask.
A consumer is charged a lot more for the privilege of purchase simply due to the Ritzy name.
Some buyers believe the designer name means it's an actual pedigree breed. It's kind of like designer clothes; say, Dolce and Gabbanna versus Target. Which would you expect to pay more for? Now what if you buy a Bali rip off with the Dolce and Gabbanna tag? Not the real thing, but hey, no one can tell. It's all in the name. Designer dogs are like the Bali rip off - except the price hasn't been dropped! It's been increased. Not a pedigree breed but the name implies some sort of special breed worth more than a cross breed.
That analogy in NO WAY implies that pedigree dogs are inherently better or should be valued any more than cross breeds. There's no dog snobbery involved. This is about what we are doing to dogs, including the manner in which we are breeding and selling them. After all, how many of us have wondered why on earth label clothes are so expensive when you can't even tell the difference with the copied version? They often come from the same sweat shops as the budget brands. Unfortunately, the sweat shop analogy can also be used to describe the process used to produce many "designer dogs". The designer label analogy is given to show the power of branding and labelling over how one perceives value and therefore what one might be prepared to pay for something.
This is what businesses do. They market commodities. They use branding as a tool to do this. Dogs have become a commodity.
In the next blog, I’ll give two powerful examples of how consumers were not remotely interested in cross-breed dogs - until those same dogs were given designer names.
NB The links I provide contain valuable information but do not imply that I agree with any content in its entirety.