The man who invented the labradoodle says creating the breed is his "life's regret" and that he has no clue why anyone would want one.
Wally Conron, who is now 90 years old, invented the breed in 1989, when he worked for Guide Dogs Victoria, in Australia. Now, three decades later, he's expressing just how unhappy he is with his creation.
"I opened a Pandora's box and released a Frankenstein('s) monster," Conron said on Australia's ABC Podcast last Friday.
Conron said he created the animal — a cross between a poodle and a Labrador retriever — to help a blind woman who needed a seeing-eye dog that wouldn't bother her husband's allergies. That decision, according to Conron, opened the door for "unethical, ruthless people" to create crossbreeds without any regard for the animals' health.
"Why people are breeding them today, I haven’t got a clue," he said.
The labradoodle is often credited with launching a wave of "designer dogs," with owners often spending thousands of dollars to combine breeds and create exactly the sort of pet they want. The trend includes mixed breeds like shih poos (shih tzus combined with poodles), puggles (pugs combined with beagles) and chugs (pugs combined with Chihuahuas).
"I realized what I had done within a matter of days," Conron told the ABC. "I realized the reason for these unethical, ruthless people to breed these dogs and sell them for big bucks."
This is Sultan: the first ever labradoodle.— ABC Science (@ABCscience) September 23, 2019
He was bred to be a guide dog - but then interest took off, and the Aussie breeder behind the idea says it's his biggest regret.
"I opened a Pandora's box and released a Frankenstein's monster."
Conron's original litter was small — just three dogs in total — but the breed quickly caught on as more than just guide dogs. There are now an estimated 70,000 labradoodles in the world, according to the Australian Labradoodle Association of America.
The 90-year-old breeder isn't alone in his criticism either. Colin Tennant, a British dog behavior expert, told CNN he believes people need to pay more attention to a dog's health when combining breeds.
"In essence, you are blindly breeding and altering genetics of the line without foreknowledge."
He's not the only groomer who feels that way. Summer Michelle Waslch, a groomer from Ohio, commented on a link to the story on Facebook with her thoughts.
"As a groomer I can agree!!" she said. "They made smart dogs into crazy mutts! That's the truth of it. They are very overpriced mutts. And I've been bitten by 'oodle' dogs the most!"