Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You
Look for Breeders that Conduct Health Testing. Find out whether the breeder has tested for any health problems common to both of the purebreds being crossed. If a parent dog has tested positive for health problems, there is a significantly higher likelihood that the offspring will inherit the defective genes for those health problems. If both parents share the same defective genes, the puppy will have between a greatly increased likelihood of inheriting those problems and a certainty of inheriting those genetic diseases. Because crossbreeds are purebred dogs that have been bred with other purebred dogs, each of the parent dogs will have its own genetic predisposition to specific health problems that afflict its breed. If the two breeds crossed to create a designer breed share the same genetic health problems, it's important that breeders conduct health testing for those problems. Breeders should not breed dogs with shared health problems because of the significant possibility the parent dogs will pass those health problems on to the offspring. See Health Testing for Disease-Prone Dogs for more information. If both breeds in a cross are prone to hip dysplasia, elbow problems, patellar luxation, cardiac problems, or thyroid problems, find out whether the breeder conducts OFA health testing. For more information about OFA health testing, see OFA Certification. If both parent breeds in a cross are prone to eye problems, find out whether the breeder conducts annual CERF certification examinations. For more information on CERF exams, see CERF Certification. If both parent breeds are prone to these genetic health problems, but the breeder does not conduct testing for these issues, you may want to continue your search for crossbreed puppies. If breeders don't conduct these health examinations, you are at an increased risk of receiving an unhealthy puppy. Determine Whether the Dog is an F1 Cross. As previously discussed, first-generation (F1) crosses are the healthiest crossbreeds and reap the greatest benefits from crossbreeding. F1B crosses may begin to show genetic diseases reoccurring, with second-generation, third-generation and subsequent crosses more and more likely to display genetic problems similar to those of purebred dogs. Unless you're looking for the specific characteristics you might get with an F1B, and willing to accept the higher risk of medical problems, specifically looking for an F1 cross. See the Parents before you Get a Puppy. Without seeing the parent dogs, you have no way of knowing what genes the offspring may have inherited for appearance, temperament, and other important characteristics. Are the parents "large" for their breeds, or small? Do they have the typical breed temperaments, or do their temperaments deviate from the breed standard? Just because a dog is purebred doesn't mean it complies with the breed standard. If you don't see the parent dogs, you may discover that your Labradoodle is shy or aggressive, even though neither Poodles nor Labrador Retrievers are known for a shy or aggressive temperament. If inbreeding has altered the parent breeds' genes enough to affect their temperament, your dog could inherit those genes. You should know what the parent is like before you adopt the puppy, in order to form an idea of whether the puppy's characteristics will likely match your needs.