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Labdradoodle and crossbreed furore on Crufts programme

POODLE EXHIBITORS and breeders were up in arms over comments in favour of Labradoodles and other crossbreeds over pedigrees on the BBC’s Crufts programme, screened last weekend.

Vet Dr Bruce Fogle claimed that crossbreeds were superior to pedigrees because they would not carry hereditary genetical defects.

The offending comments were made during the Crufts TV programme broadcast on Saturday, March 11th. Presenter Ben Fogle, who has found great favour with many viewers for his calm and well-informed style introduced his father, vet, broadcaster and author Bruce.

Referring to a Labradoodle named Opal that had been in the Crufts studio earlier, Ben asked his father what he thought of Labradoodles. Dr Fogle replied: "I think they are wonderful. When you get two breeds, both of which may have inherited problems, you dramatically reduce all of those inherent problems because you are diluting the dangerous genes… I think it’s a terrific idea. You can mix other breeds and they work out well."

Veteran Crufts anchorman Peter Purves also drew the ire of many Standard Poodle enthusiasts during the earlier item, when he suggested that Labradoodles were to become a recognised breed, although he did qualify his statement on air as not being completely certain. "I think they look absolutely marvellous," said Purves. “I understand that the KC is about to register them as a breed...I’m not absolutely certain of that, but I understand so."

Sandy Vincent, Chairman of the Standard Poodle Club condemned the comments of both Fogle and Purves, saying: "Having returned home from Crufts on Utility day having had a pleasant and very tiring day, I like many people settled down to watch the Group judging on TV, and waiting to see how the Poodles did in general.

But what did we get? Dr Bruce Fogle saying that ‘mating two pure bred dogs together like the Labrador and the Poodle would suppress the genes that produced the health defects that the pure bred dog had! I am so outraged and incensed, I wondered why we in Standard Poodles do testing at great expense and try to educate the public who speak to us at Crufts or indeed purchase puppies from us as breeders. which I hate and always will do. Crufts is about Pedigree dogs not cross breeds.

Fellow Standard Poodle breeder and former Secretary of the Standard Poodle Club, Ann Rawlinson, reported that on the Sunday following the programme, many visitors to the Standard Poodle stand on the Discover Dogs section of Crufts had revealed themselves to be Labrador owners and had been enquiring if Ann or her colleagues knew of any Standard Poodles that would be available as Stud dogs or Dams for their Labradors.

KC External Affairs Manager Phil Buckley, stated categorically that Labdradoodles, or any other ‘designer crossbreeds’ would NOT be recognised or registered as new breeds by the KC. A statement issued by the KC said: "Whilst the Kennel Club exists to protect and promote all dogs and therefore Labradoodles, Puggles, Cockerpoos, etc. can all be registered with us on our Companion Dog Club register, our primary fears are that some unscrupulous breeders may start breeding these types of dogs to make a fast buck - it is our understanding that Puggles are being sold for up to £1000 in the States! - and will fail to provide after sales service, so if there are problems these dogs may end up at the door of animal rescues, as there will obviously be no ‘Breed Rescue’ for them.

"We have also been taking the media opportunity to educate owners to the facts that the average dog will live for twelve years and cost at least £1,000 per annum to keep; and been using the Dogs Trust slogan - with their permission! - of 'A Dog Is For Life - Not Just For Fashion!"

Peter Purves made it very clear to OUR DOGS that he had been misinformed before the broadcast and clearly regretted misleading viewers. "I was given false information about the registration of Labradoodles by someone before the programme," said Purves. "I wasn’t certain of the information quoted to me and I should have checked it. I one hundred percent accept that this is not true and I apologise for misleading people."