Designer Dogs: Mutt Marketing 101

You probably have been seeing the same media hype over the “new” designer dogs on television, in print and all over the place. WARNING: I am going to rant.

Yes, puggles are cute. (A Puggle is a dog cross between a Pug and a Beagle.) The truth is that they are mutts with a fancy name–and a fairly new registry. I believe this is a new marketing angle for people who want to sell dogs. Mutt Marketing 101 at its best.

Registries ultimately are supposed to help trace lineage, pinpoint and extinguish some physical problems, such as hip displacia, and maintain breed standards. But the bottom line is that they are clubs that anyone can join. Yep, just check it out.

Even the big daddy (AKC) is a club. Their seal of approval doesn’t even always hold much weight as some “breeders” have “registered” animals that don’t come close to those true breed enthusiasts who love their breed and who slave to have great litters with good background, temperament and training.

Just the other day a couple drove up here again with “AKC” labradors for sale. They go for $500 a pop and are sold in the Kmart parking lot. They don’t interview potential owners and obviously don’t care about their canines either since they abuse them with three or more litters a year.

I tell their story here because I believe people who breed and sell animals to make a buck have discovered a new way of mutt marketing. It took them a while but they did it. Too bad the shelters didn’t think of it first!

Many of you know that I deal with pet behavior and related issues. My concern is animal welfare–not animal rights (too militant) and not goo-goo (too unrealistic). Plain, simple animal welfare. I don’t benefit from the sale and trade of animals and I don’t yell at my neighbors or strangers who eat meat or who wear leather either.

What I do work at is educating people about animal behavior and related issues–and I ended up in pet behavior and care by default. I am the one who sees the problems due to poor breeding, lack of socializing and other mistakes. It is too early to tell what will play out with the new “designer dogs” but I am waiting.

So what do _you_ think about the Labradoodle? How about the Morkie, Bichonpoo, Pekapoo or Cockerdoodle? The one thing these dogs all have in common is that they are mutts–cross breeds. Usually mutts get the best mix genetically, but it is too early to tell on these guys. The crosses are not new, but the marketing is–and I am really suspicous since the whole rage is hitting the media right before the biggest shopping season of the year. Don’t give pets as holiday gifts…

So, while you ponder the cute “new” mutt marvels don’t forget about the 4-6 million unwanted animals that end up in shelters every year. (I remember when it was 20 million a year. No kidding, I’ve been around a while.)

On the government side, there is new legislation proposing regulations on animal breeders. For instance, I know those people who drive up with their pups don’t have a business license, don’t charge tax, don’t claim those funds and don’t take good care of their dogs. The legislation goal is to target puppy mills and other suspect breeders of pets to prevent such abuses. I believe this legislation will be fought (and proably won’t pass) but it is high time to restructure our livestock practices in this country so they are more humane and responsible.

Let me know what you think.

About Ark Lady

+ArkLady is a cyber-jungle trailblazer, author & speaker. Join thecyber-jungle explorer email list or connect via ARKlady website.