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Un-pup-ular Vet says breeding cute 'designer dogs' causes them extreme 'suffering'

'The term ‘designer’ comes from the fashion world where people almost see [these dogs] as accessory items. They look good on the end of a lead as you’re walking down the road'

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Tim Kirby (Karl Hussey Photography 2019)

Tim Kirby (Karl Hussey Photography 2019)

Tim Kirby (Karl Hussey Photography 2019)

A veterinary surgeon has said that breeding “designer dogs” must stop.

Tim Kirby worries that the current trend of breeding designer dogs for aesthetic purposes, such as Cockapoos, Labradoodles, and Pomskies, can have detrimental effects on their health.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on his RTÉ Radio One show, the Kerry native explained that the concept of designer dogs has become commonplace in Ireland over the last few years and said that people are likely to spend up to around €2,000 on the perfect pup.

“The term ‘designer’ comes from the fashion world where people almost see [these dogs] as accessory items. They look good on the end of a lead as you’re walking down the road,” he said.

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Cockapoos are considered to be 'designer dogs' (Photo: Aaron Duffy/PA Wire)

Cockapoos are considered to be 'designer dogs' (Photo: Aaron Duffy/PA Wire)

Cockapoos are considered to be 'designer dogs' (Photo: Aaron Duffy/PA Wire)

“If you walk down any high street in Ireland at the moment, you’re likely to see a designer breed.

“Essentially these types of dogs are cross breeds coming from [the likes of] Cocker Spaniels crossing them with Poodles, there’s just a whole variety of dogs.

“These dogs are bred purely for aesthetics. People look at them and think, ‘If I cross this breed with that breed, it’ll look really, really nice.’

“It’s a fairly new concept over the last 20 to 30 years. We’ve got this scenario where people are crossing multiple breeds to get a specific dog that looks a certain way just for humour purposes really.

“There has been an increase in recent years of crossing these breeds. For example, we see a lot of Labradors crossed with Poodles and they look a certain way.”

Tim told Ryan that genetically modifying these dog breeds is not as simple as it seems and poses serious risks to the animals.

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“With humans, it’s like we constantly need to interfere with things. It’s not like mixing two colours of paint together where you cross one breed with another and get something predictable. That’s not the case with dogs.

“Take people who cross Pomeranians with Huskies. You’re getting a really large, strong dog that comes from really harsh climates and is a working dog, and you’re crossing it with a very small, sedentary house dog.

“It’s almost like a lottery. You have no idea what you’re going to get because you’re mixing two completely different breeds.

“That’s fundamentally flawed in the sense that you have no idea physically the problems that dog is going to develop.

“As vets, we see a lot of these breeds coming in with behavioural issues. We’re seeing an awful lot of these dogs being presented with behavioural issues.

“People will come in and say, ‘My dog is constantly barking, it’s behaving erratically, we don’t know what to expect from it temperament-wise.’

“It’s actually underlying health issues that are causing the behavioural issues.

“You’re looking at the head of a Poodle stuck onto the body of a Shih Tzu with the tail of a Beagle. It might look funny to some people and it might look pretty but actually, from a welfare point of view of that dog, it’s probably suffering in so many ways.”

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