|Cassandra Jardine and her goldenoodle pup, Raphael. Photo: Clara Molden|
'"Are you dead?' I called out rather callously. She was.'
So starts a well-written piece by journalist Cassandra Jardine in today's Daily Telegraph that goes on to document her hunt for a replacement dog. She writes about almost falling for an internet puppy-scam; explains why she turned down a Bernese Mountain Dog and why she eventually chose a Goldenoodle - much to the chagrin of the Kennel Club's Bill Lambert:
"More than half of them do shed, unlike the 20 hyper-allergic breeds on our website," Lambert argues. "There's no guarantee that you will get the traits you want and they are often more expensive than pure breeds. I appreciate the urgency of your wish to replace Molly but 'Buy in haste, repent at leisure'."
The Kennel Club has 20 "hyper-allergic" breeds on their website? Goodness! Who'd want one of those?
But let's assume that Mr Lambert has been mis-quoted (he claims I do it to him all the time) and he really said "hypoallergenic"?
Naughty Mr Lambert. He must know that while some breeds shed less than others, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.
“Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog,” says Dr. Jonathan Field, emeritus director of the pediatric allergy and asthma clinic at New York University/Bellevue Medical Center in New York City.
“The studies have not supported that there’s any type of hypoallergenic dog,” confirms Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul, chair of the Indoor Allergen Committee for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
So was Lambert so intent on putting Cassandra Jardine off buying a filthy crossbreed that he simply lied?
Didn't work anyway. Cassandra went for Goldenoodle pup Raphael, and I wish her all happiness. He looks a cute and cheeky chap.
Here's hoping his parents were health-tested. Many of the "oodle" parents aren't and there's no excuse just because the pups are a cross. True, Raphael should on paper benefit from some hybrid vigour, but given that both Golden Retrievers and some Poodles can suffer from hip dysplasia and the same type of progressive retinal atrophy (prcd-PRA), the parents should be tested for these conditions before being bred.
One of the most surprising statistics to come out of the recent release of the latest hip-scoring figures is that more Labradoodles than Miniature and Standard Poodles combined were screened for hip dysplasia in the UK in 2010 (195 compared to 103).
When I mentioned this recently on a purebred dog forum, they argued that the figure was meaningless because there were more Labradoodles than Poodles these days. This is almost certainly true - only 2000 Poodles (Standard and Miniature) were registered with the KC last year. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that Labradoodles are being tested - and I don't think it is the case, as some claim, that the sole reason they are scored is because they are lame with suspected hip dysplasia. If it was, their mean hip score would be higher than it is.
The Labradoodle's mean hip score is 13 - the same as the Standard Poodle's and almost the same as the Labrador's (14). This is, of course, exactly as one might expect given that HD is a polygenetic trait evident in both parent breeds.