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Guy Who Invented Labradoodle: 'I Released a Frankenstein's Monster'

Wally Conron regrets creating the cross-breed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2019 12:06 PM CDT
Labradoodles Eva, bottom, and Adam owned by Susan and Lonnie Chester are photographed at their home near Vineyard Lake in Norvell Township, Mich., on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2017.   (J. Scott Park /Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP)
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(Newser) – What's not to like about a labradoodle? The breed has taken the world by storm since it was invented in 1988, and was even considered by the Obamas as a possible choice for "first puppy." But the man who invented it all those years ago now calls the move his "life's regret," the Guardian reports. Wally Conron, speaking to Australia's ABC News podcast Sum of All Parts last week, said he "opened a Pandora's box and released a Frankenstein's monster." The problem? "Unethical, ruthless" breeders who only care about "big bucks," and don't put the dogs' health first. "I find that the biggest majority (of labradoodles) are either crazy or have a hereditary problem," Conron says. Plus, the world has since been inundated with other "-oodle" breeds: "Unscrupulous breeders are crossing poodles with inappropriate dogs simply so they can say they were the first to do it," he says.

Conron was a breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia, mainly breeding Labrador retrievers, when a blind woman whose husband was allergic to dogs asked him for help. Conron needed, he says, "a dog with the working ability of the Labrador and the coat of the poodle," and thus the labradoodle was born. It was the name, Conron says, that caused so many people to decide they wanted one, and within days of the media hype starting, he began regretting his choice. "Why people are breeding them today, I haven't got a clue," he says. He's expressed his regret before, even telling Psychology Today in 2014 that he advised the Obamas against choosing the breed. Experts tell USA Today cross-breeding irresponsibly is indeed a problem. But a vet and multiple owners insist to the BBC that labradoodles are great. (Read more labradoodle stories.)

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