Cute in a strange kind of way.
Rush on roodles makes oodles
By DINA ROSENDORFF
FIRST there were labradoodles and Maltese Shih Tzu.
Then came cockapoos, spanoodles and pugaliers.
Now make way for the latest designer dog, the roodle – a cross between a rottweiler and a poodle.
Demand for the roodle – fluffy like a poodle, but stocky like the rottweiler – has been heavy, with orders from as far as Hawaii, where one fan paid $2150 for a blended dog.
Breeder Fred Freeman, who believes he is the first to create the roodle, said the cross-breed took 10 years to produce.
He says they combine the low-allergenic, non-moulting, non-smelling advantages of the poodle with the intelligence of the rottweiler.
He dismisses the idea that roodles may be dangerous because of their rottweiler ancestry.
"These dogs have gone to disabled and special care families because they're brainier, more docile, laid back and easy to train. Their owners are laughing."
Mr Freeman has bred three litters of roodles with a total of 24 dogs and charges $1200 for each animal.
The cross-breeding designer dog phenomenon sweeping the pet sector has some industry members believing breed manipulation has gone too far.
But Geoff Gower from the Pet Industry of Australia says there should be no concerns if the dog is well bred and breeders have the animal's best interests at heart.
"The words `designer dog' are purely for marketing, because at the end of the day it's a mixed breed and Australia lives and thrives on its mongrels," Mr Gower said.
Breed manipulation began in Australia in the late 1980s when Guide Dogs Victoria was asked to develop a low-allergy seeing-eye dog.
The result was the labradoodle, strong and intelligent like the Labrador, but with the coat of a poodle, which meant it didn't shed.
The shaggy labradoodles came to the public's attention and mixed breeds became all the rage.
Mr Freeman believes the demand for designer dogs stems from the fact they are healthier than purebreds, which can have genetic problems from in-breeding.
"They don't have the disease and problems of the purebreds, but the golden rule is you have to start with good breeders in the first case," Mr Freeman said.