Creating a new registered dog breed isn’t easy. It takes years of dedication and hard work from people devoted to the breed. In many cases, the development of a new breed involves crossing two purebred dogs, in the hope that the offspring would have the most useful features of each.
One example of this is the Labradoodle. It resulted from crossing a Labrador Retriever with a Standard Poodle. The expectation was that the pups would be good guide dogs for vision impaired people with allergies, because they would hopefully inherit the hypoallergenic Poodle coat. This worked to some extent, but unfortunately the Labradoodle may still cause allergic reactions in sensitive people.
There are several steps to the evolution of a new dog breed.
1. An idea. Someone sees the need for a dog with specific characteristics, and works out how they could possibly create that dog. They will look at existing breeds and select those that may have something to contribute to the new breed.
2. Enthusiasm. Many great inventions and discoveries occur because of the persistence of just one or two people, and the creation of a new dog breed is no different. A few people put in the time and effort to following through with the idea, and creating some examples of this new breed. At this point, an informal breed society is often created.
3. Formal descriptions. At this point, the tentative breed standard is developed, and fanciers start to keep pedigree records for their dogs. The American Kennel Council offers a Foundation Stock Service which includes a record keeping service, and they have guidelines for how a new breed can gain full AKC recognition.
Recently, there have been several “designer dogs” developed, which are usually combinations of two small breeds. Some examples are the Cavoodle (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel crossed with a Toy Poodle), or the Maltipoo (Maltese crossed with a Toy Poodle). These new designer breeds are usually very tiny, very cute and very expensive!
Many people believe that designer breeds are somehow healthier than their purebred parents, because of hybrid vigor. This isn’t necessarily the case. Just as a crossbreed can be healthier because they get the healthiest genes from both parents, they could also get a double dose of not so healthy genes. They could in fact be less healthy than their parents. Couple this with the fact that many designer dogs don’t undergo any genetic health testing before being mated, and you can see that these pretty little dogs aren’t necessarily a good buy.