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Please don’t become part of the designer dog trend

By on January 30, 2017

Since the advent of social media, trends have been able to take hold faster than we ever thought possible. One day the ice-bucket challenge fills timelines and the next day it’s a salt challenge or acts of solidarity people can become part of.

Social media influences our decisions, whether you want to admit it or not. And if Kylie Jenner can convince you to buy a $800 trendy designer purse, she could just as easily convince you to buy a trendy $800 designer dog.

But the purse would probably be cheaper than a designer dog.

In 2014, TIME magazine reported that a Morkie, a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese, was the most popular designer dog. And get this, each dog was worth an estimated $2,000.

Designer dogs have become the newest trend because they are selectively bred for “cute” or popular features. This is a trend that has dog-lover and investigative journalist Danielle White from Buzz Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom concerned.

In a recent article she penned, she says : Last year, animal welfare charity the RSPCA linked the latest Instagram dog trends to a surge in a demand for fashionable cross-breeds, which are making them a popular first choice amongst users.

For example, the “Puggle” is a cross between a beagle and a pug. Some owners claim that the Puggle is better than a purebred because it doesn’t have the eye problems that a pug typically does and it doesn’t have the temperament of the beagle.

The Puggle has become one of the trendiest dogs. They have been featured on the cover of the New York Post and made apperances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America.

Jake Gyllenhall, James Gandolfini, Sylvester Stallone and Julianne Moore have all posted pictures of the Puggle pals on various social media venues.

And who wouldn’t love these dogs? They’re adorable with their big eyes (that aren’t quite bulging) and droopy ears.

The problem is that these dogs are often conceived because of a trend, and trends come and go. When the trend is at its peak, any breeder will try to get in on the profit.

Lisa Peterson, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, told ABC’s Amanda Onion that the popularity of a particular mix might encourage “backyard breeders.”

Backyard breeders are notorious for over-breeding animals, causing health problems in litters. Chances are they were breed for profit, not love, and may also be physically and emotionally abused.

So before jumping on the Puggle (or Labradoodle, Schnoodle, Cockerpoodle, etc.) train, do your research and make sure you are getting the dog for the right reasons and from the right place.

And if you find that you are guilty of following a trend before adopting or behaving in a more humanely-educated way, check out a local shelter. Because these designer breeds have become so popular, rescues for them have been popping up across the United States, like the Arizona Puggle Rescue.

There is even a popular Facebook page called Puggle Rescue whose mission is to “help connect available puggles to new homes.”

Your local shelters and rescues should be the first places you look for animals. The only one, in fact.

Right now, the Nebraska Humane Society has several dog mixes that are considered “designer.” Jack and Jill are two Chi-Chon’s (Brichon Frise and Chihuahua) that are up for adoption right now. Or, if you’re looking for a bigger dog, Leo is a Alusky (Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky mix).

These dogs need homes too and not only will you be saving a life and making a new best friend but you won’t be paying nearly as much. AND you’ll be making room for the dog ready to take the adopted dog’s kennel.

Before adopting an animal, make sure you are taking them home for the right reasons. A dog is a lifetime commitment, not an accessory.

About Savannah Behrends

Savannah Behrends is Journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She has two adorable bearded dragons and loves to take them outside on the swing. She has also had hamsters, birds, dogs and gecko's.

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