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Labradoodle Creator Laments His Work That Made The Breed


Thirty years ago, Wally Conron inadvertently sparked a revolution in the canine world. In an effort to breed a hypoallergenic guide dog, he crossed a poodle with a Labrador. And voila; the labradoodle was born.


Last week, Conron set off a second explosion. In an episode of "Sum Of All Parts" from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he expressed some regrets about his creation.


WALLY CONRON: I opened a Pandora Box and released a Frankenstein monster.

SHAPIRO: That story went viral, and it did not sit well with many labradoodle enthusiasts.

MICHELLE PUGLIESE: To be honest, I was pretty offended by his comments.

SHAPIRO: That's Michelle Pugliese, who runs the Doodle Dogs Of Philadelphia meetup group.

CORNISH: Doodle Dogs, because there's much more than just the labradoodle now.

PUGLIESE: It's like anything mixed with a poodle. You've got your goldendoodles, your labradoodles, your shepadoodles, your bernedoodles, your cockapoos.

CORNISH: And that proliferation of doodles is part of why Wally Conron regrets it. He told the "Sum Of All Parts" podcast that after labradoodles became popular, unscrupulous breeders, quote, "jumped on the bandwagon." And now...


CONRON: I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have an hereditary problem.

CORNISH: Michelle Pugliese disagrees.

PUGLIESE: I think crazy is a very is strong word to use. Are they playful? Yes. Can they be a bit hyper? Yes. But this is all easily corrected through obedience classes. They're just like little Muppets.

SHAPIRO: So which is it - monster or Muppet?

JOHN HOWE: It's probably a little bit of both.

SHAPIRO: That's John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

CORNISH: He's seen some problems with labradoodles in his practice, but he says a lot depends on how the dog is bred. So if you're looking for a labradoodle, do your homework. And whatever dog you buy or adopt, get to know it first.

HOWE: Don't just look at the cute dog and say, oh, wow, isn't this gorgeous? You know, just - this dog is great. You know, spend more time.

SHAPIRO: Thinking that time might just make the difference between doodle bliss and doodle despair.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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