What is the impact of the craze for “designer” dog breeds?

Many of them are purchased from commercial breeders supplied by puppy mills and backyard breeders.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Michigan — More and more people have purchased so-called designer dogs in recent years.

Many of them are purchased from commercial breeders supplied by puppy mills and backyard breeders.

Sadly, it’s nothing new, but the demand for these designer dogs has caused an increase in these unsavory breeding practices.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 10,000 puppy mills in operation in the United States.

Even though designer dogs are very popular, they still end up in shelters.

“We had Aussiedoodles, we had Birnadoodles, Goldendoodles, Labradoodles. And none of them are alike,” Sarah Rapisarda, behavior manager at Port Animal Protection Societymentioned.

The coveted Goldendoodle is just one example of this designer dog craze.

“The original idea was to create the perfect service dog to create the affability and gentle temperament of a Golden Retriever, but with the coat of a Poodle, which is less allergenic solely because it doesn’t shed in the environment. No coat is truly hypoallergenic,” said Jen Gavin, dog trainer and owner of “A Pleasant Dog.”

Designer dogs are bred with the goal of obtaining the best qualities from each purebred parent.

“At their core, they are a mixed breed. Again, it’s a mixed bag, you never know what you’re going to get,” Rapisarda said.

Recently, 35 doodles were rescued from a puppy mill in Alabama and transported to western Michigan.

RELATED: GOODS OF Doodles | Harbor Humane welcomes 35 dogs from Alabama puppy mill

Parents used to raise litter after litter, with puppies selling for thousands of dollars, but no money was used for adult care.

Behavioral scientists say that while the goal may be to look a certain way, temperament must be taken into account and health screenings are essential.

“We want to make sure that the breeding pairs that we intentionally breed for are behaviorally healthy. And structurally, we see a good number of doodle dogs that suffer from a behavior or health issue that is almost exponentially worse than their parents,” Gavin said.

The rescued doodles are on their way to a better life and will likely be adopted soon, but hundreds of thousands of mixed-breed dogs remain in shelters across the country.

“These aren’t dogs that are broke, because that’s an old thought with shelter dogs. They’re just dogs that, you know, have had unfortunate circumstances and maybe some of them need a bit more specialized care, but they need a home, like everyone else,” Rapisarda said.

Unless a DNA test is performed, mixed breeds usually have an unknown parentage but are no less deserving of a forever home.

“I think it’s so much easier to see beyond their breed and look at the dog as an individual, which makes the human and the dog more successful,” Rapisarda said.

You can find what you’re looking for at the shelter, whether it’s a thoroughbred, crossbreed or mix, while saving a life in the process.

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