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Hybrid Vigor? Some of you may have read claims that mixed breed dogs are "healthier" than pure breeds because of "hybrid vigor" that results when two different breeds (and their greater genetic variance) are combined. However, I've seen this "hybrid vigor" idea abused by those who want freedom to throw any breeds together and call it "healthier." The truth is that any potential "hybrid vigor" is merely a potential benefit, not a guaranteed benefit of buying/adopting a mixed breed dog. As many of you know, many diseases and health problems are hereditary. That means it doesn't matter WHAT the breed or mix is...if one or both parents carries a genetic problem that can be passed down, the offspring may also end up either carrying that disease in their genes or actually developing that disease. Because of this possibility it is vitally important to do your homework before choosing a breeder. If you are in the market for a doodle (or any other breed or mix) study the individual breeds in the mix and find out what their health weaknesses are. Then...make certain that the breeder you choose tests for the testable diseases common in those breeds. It's not enough that two breeding dogs seem to be healthy and so far have been the picture of health. It's not enough that a breeding dog goes to the vet every year and gets a stamp of "health" from the vet. Many diseases and genetic predispositions are not visible to the naked eye and without specific health testing there's no way to know if there is a problem. So what are common hereditary diseases in labs, goldens and poodles & the tests needed to screen for those problems? * Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is either a malformation of the hip joint or looseness of the hip joint. Either way it can be a pretty debilitating issue causing pain and difficulty walking/playing/etc and it is common in all three breeds. However, this is a multi-factorial disease--meaning it's not caused just by one thing or one genetic defect and the result isn't just one problem. Right now there are two main tests a good breeder may use to determine their dogs' hip quality: The most common test is an x-ray done through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals so the test is often referred to as OFA. It's not the OFA that does the actual test, they just read the results and issue a rating/clearance. The test rates the formation of the hips. Hips that are rated Fair, Good, or Excellent are considered "passing." The other test for hips was created by University of Pennsylvania and is called the PennHIP -- PennHip does not give a "clearance" but grades the dog's likelihood of developing CHD using a distraction index (DI) that measures hip tightness or looseness. Scores received from PennHip are numbers under 1 such as 0.55 or 0.70, etc. This grading shows how a dog's hips compare with others in their breed. A score like 0.50 shows that a dog's hips are at the 50% percentile or equal to about the "average" hips for that breed. The higher the numbers mean a lower percentile. The lower the number, the higher the percentile which means tighter hips. It is very important that you choose a breeder that does either or both of these hip tests (especially for medium and standard size doodles) to minimize the chances that your pup will develop CHD. But do keep in mind that although starting with healthy hips will reduce your risk of problems, it won't guarantee it. * Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, and Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease are also conditions that OFA deals with and many breeders test for. However, I'll leave the reading on this up to you--info available on the OFA site. * Eye disorders Each breed has the potential to carry/have various eye disorders. I won't go into each one, but to minimize your risk look for a breeder that does CERF testing and/or PRA testing. CERF stands for Canine Eye Registration Foundation. A certified ophthalmologist must examine a dog's eyes for this test (not just any vet). PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy and is a genetic disease of the retina which eventually causes blindness. A CERF exam can see evidence of PRA, as well as other eye problems. But the PRA test is a DNA test to ensure that a dog is free of the gene so that it does not get passed on. * Canine Von Willebrands disease also known as vWD is a bleeding disorder similar to hemophilia in humans and is more common in poodles than in labs or goldens...but since a doodle is part poodle it's an important test to ask about when choosing a breeder. The tests most breeders use a DNA test that shows if a dog is either affected or a carrier or clear of the disease. An affected dog would/should never be bred. The list of testing above is not exhaustive nor does it prove a breeder's quality. However, it's a place to start and from there your screening of a breeder should include telephone and email conversations as well as a visit to the premises when possible (breeders also need to be able to keep their breeding grounds safe and sanitary for their puppies and allowing daily visitors is not always safe). Look for a good health guarantee and read the health guarantee contract as if you already have bought the pup and it's now a year old. If your 1 year old develops hip dysplasia...would you be happy if the contract required you to return this dog you love? Or would you want some other kind of compensation? As you can now see, the health of a puppy is not determined merely by being the offspring of two different breeds, but by being the offspring of two healthy dogs (regardless of breed) with a good background, bred by a breeder who stays up to date on health issues of the breeds in question. These are just my thoughts, I welcome discussion if I got any facts wrong. Always do your own homework/research before choosing a breeder.
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Beautiful labradoodles in need!

[NOTE: This post is now older and many of these dogs may already have been adopted. If you want to rescue a doodle check with IDOG.biz and poomixrescue.com] Was looking around petfinder and found three really pretty doodles in the Pacific Northwest. For those of you around here, if you know of anyone looking for an adult dog...these three are beautiful! Some require experienced handling, but otherwise seem awesome! All listed on petfinder if you search for "Poodle" and a location near Oregon you'll run across these sweeties--otherwise I've listed a link. First Abigail:

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16 week old pups in rescue

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http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=10795705 Cosmo:

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Max

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http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=10874991 And Kia (actually a bit further in Canada's west side):

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Charlie:

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http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=10239480 Another one that is listed as a poodle, Nellie:

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http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=10880981
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My Doodle Date

Today I met Barb and Nancy for the first time at Chipotle Grill in Roseville. Barb has...6 (?) doodles at home, one of which (Meadow) will be a breeding dog and I was so excited to meet the 16 week old today! Nancy owns two doodles: Lilly and Daisy and they are both breeding dogs for whom she is a guardian. Here are some pics of Meadow, Barb's puppy, who was a total sweetie! Very mellow and friendly and just too cute! She reminds me a lot of Rosco as a pup, but she's a multigen labradoodle and has much longer, wavier hair than Rosco.

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Boy, that went fast! In a few days, the first pups will start to go home...here are some pictures of them at 8 weeks...enjoy!

Here are the first photos of pups leaving with families--the first 2 picture are of the family that was affected by the Boston Marathon bombing--they were so happy with their new pup....Doodle kisses members helped me raise the money for their pup and we surprised them with the donation! They have a 6 year old at home that is going to love their new puppy!

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Here is another family with their little girl--now called Bailey--they surprised their kids when they came home from school that day!

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