Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Cocker-doodle-do? Or don't?

It may just be my personal experience, but maybe this is a countrywide trend?
At my son's school there has been an outbreak of puppy buying.
It's quite a posh school in a posh area, from play dates I can stereotype that in many of these families daddy is something important in the city, mummy doesn't have to work but still has to have at least one nanny.
There are also some normal folk, but not many.
Sometimes poor mum has to juggle going to the gym and the beauty salon before going for coffee with the other Stepford wives - oops, didn't mean to be rude!
It must be hell for them.
I observe them from a very envious and curious distance as I rush shambolically between work and school trying to fit everything in and usually failing dismally and unstylishly!
Anyway, the latest must have for this elite set is a pup.
And the pup of choice - almost without variation?
A Cockerpoo.
Now don't all sigh.
I have to say that so far all have fitted into to their seemingly perfect worlds remarkably well.
They have been lovingly carried in cashmere blankets to the school gates to much adoration from the kids. They have effortlessly and fearlessly made the transition to walking on the lead beautifully despite still being really very weeny.
Sweet, friendly and remarkably healthy pups despite most of these dogs originating ominously in Wales.
Very nice temperaments, easy for even novices to house train and undeniably gorgeous.
My research has revealed that most of these have been bought from a large apparently squeaky clean kennels devoted to producing expensive crosses, it's one that does some early housetraining and appears to health test almost everything possible and hold all the relevant licences.
I am torn.
It is wrong in many ways, but this outfit is serving their target market accurately and seems to have a high satisfaction rating.
It is giving the priviliged the cute little pups they want at a very high price, but they are providing part-trained and health tested well socialised pups.
They are a quite a different kettle of fish to the puppy farmers supplying the dealers with cheap, poorly reared, untested stock that are often sickly.
Is it ever acceptable to commercially breed dogs?
There's a meaty moral dilemma for you for you while you have your elevenses.
And I start to worry that if even people I know are still shopping for pups from big commercial outlets, what hope for the rest of the world?
And am I able to identify any exemplary small, less commercial Cockerpoo breeders for them to compare and contrast with? No!
It occurs to me we haven't even done a Cockerpoo Fido Facts and perhaps we really should.
Is there a club?
Are there any progressive breeders out there who'd like to get in touch? We only have one advisor for this breed listed and I remember that number has been there for many years.
Are there any owners who'd like to bring their Cockerpoos into a studio in Slough for us to take photos of? All the school Cockerpoos have looked liked pees in a pod. Black, shiny, shaggy and small.
Anyone out there got any other colours or types?
What's it like to live with this breed? We need someone to write that up for our feature - might this be something that you could do?
What should be the criteria for a good breeder of Cockerpoos?
And is the Miniature or the Toy the oodle of choice?
The public seems to really like these little dogs so I guess we should try to help direct them to the good folk as they're obviously finding breeders one way or another all by themselves.
We advise that breeders of this cross should do all the health tests relevant for both breeds involved in the cross.
Are you a Cockerpoo breeder already doing health testing?
Do get in touch if you can help or contribute to the debate!
My email is


PBurns said...

A dog created wholecloth in 1870 and given a potted history is a "Pure breed" but if we do the same thing today it is called a mongrel. Shouldn't we be calling that what it is -- nonsense?

A dog dealer in 1870 is a "founder of the breed" at the famous "Posh Kennel", but if someone is doing the same thing today, they are just a commercial kennel chasing the fiver? Why?

Time does not cure or debilitate; the market will decide in the end. The market has decided it likes cockerpoos quite a lot, and Cesky Terriers not at all. Who is to say it is wrong? Not me!

I am OK with commercial breeders, PROVIDED they do more than cover shelter and shots and food. Yes health tests and outcrossing is important, but so too is the MIND of the dog, i.e. excercise and socialization. More dogs are wrecked by poor socialization than anything else.

Of course an 8-week old puppy is going to not have too many socialization problems if it is moved out to a loving family in short order.

All in all, it sounds like things are fine, well and good here. This should be applauded, not condemned.

As for the changing nature of what we want from dogs, I wrote a piece about this some while back entitle "Robert Bakewell's Apartment" which is a reference to the founder of agricultural selective breeding. See >> for that little squib.


Anonymous said...

"A dog created wholecloth in 1870 and given a potted history is a "Pure breed"" but weren't most of those created for a specific purpose?!? i.e. to hunt, go to ground or to guard ?!?, these new so called designer breeds have purely been created to give a specific look without regards to what their ancestors minds needed to be exercised/engaged with. They are merely breed for profit by people with little real concern for the dogs themselves or their future, they are produced to meet a fashion, like the pot bellied pigs of the 90’s, and sold to people who want to fit in with the latest trend, its true to the old saying that a fool and his money is easily parted, when such designer puppy farmer charges £800, £900 for a puppy!!


Anonymous said...

Thomas, Toy breeds - bred to be companions - are among the most ancient of breeds! This 'work' was valued then, and is now a pet's chief career once more.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if these Oodles, Ugs, and Poos, will still be called such things when they end up in the rescue centres.......or will they just be called crossbreeds and mongrels. Does anyone know if these new designer breeds have their own rescues in place?

Anonymous said...

"weren't most of those created for a specific purpose?!? i.e. to hunt, go to ground or to guard ?!?"

As long as the owners take care of the dogs what's wrong with the purpose of "family companion"?

Dulwichmum said...

Dear Beverly,

I am the proud owner of a sweet apricot coloured, completely adorable cockapoo. His name is Teddy and we bought him from a breeder in Lincoln. We met both of his parents and the breeder has been really helpful. I shall email you some photos!

tami said...

Dear Beverly,i am a BLACK working cockerxpoodle cross, i prefer not to use the name cockapoo (name from america, where else) we have been bred for over 50years to help deaf people and are VERY easy to train. i absolutely adore people, especialy children, making me the perfect family pet. i will share my bones with a toddler and am forgiving when accidently trodden on. i will even wait and walk slowly and help the little ones to walk. i always come back when called and from very early on did not like to make any mess in the house. i have been told i am a my spare time i like to steal socks and sneak on the bed and snuggle up on the pillow and dream of bones and a child to share it with.with love and lots of kisses, a happy,easygoing cockapoo of dorset