What do Labradoodles, the atomic bomb and coffee capsules have in common? Well, apparently the individuals who invented them deeply regret their contributions to mankind.
Mikhail Kalashnikov regretted creating AK-47 gun. Robert Oppenheimer regrets the atomic bomb, and Ethan Zuckerman now wishes he hadn’t invented the hated pop-up advert.
Today, Wally Conron wishes he had never crossed a Labrador Retriever with Poodle, bringing us the viral new dog ‘breed’ now known as the Labradoodle, or Goldendoodle.
Yes, they’re adorable, fluffy and like owning a living stuffed animal and they have the much-loved added benefit of not shedding or smelling like the average dog.
But from where Conron’s sitting, it’s a bit of a Frankenstein story that has become an out-of-control money-making breeding business.
Back in 1980, working as dog-breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia, Conron was tasked with creating a non-shedding guide dog for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to dogs.
Now he claims that what started as favor for one person in need has turned out to be his greatest professional mistake.
“I opened a Pandora’s box, that’s what I did. I released a Frankenstein,” Conron told Psychology Today. “So many people are just breeding for the money. So many of these dogs have physical problems, and a lot of them are just crazy.”
Despite the fact that he and his organization initially put some effort into advertising the new breed, Conron now claims that it was a mistake due the breed’s health issues. The poodle crosses suffer various ailments such as problems with their eyes, hips, elbows, even epilepsy, he said.
Conron even advised former president Barak Obama not to get one. "You know that American president Obama announced he was thinking of getting a Labradoodle. So I wrote him a letter saying what the pitfalls were,” he said.
But Conron’s biggest concern is the business element to the breed, and the ethics behind that booming business. Related: Safe Haven Assets Shine As Recession Looms
Doodle breeds are the most sought-after hybrid dog in the world, but Conron and many other breeders and veterinarians claim that they are overpriced (for being a mix) and the market is controlled by "unethical, ruthless charlatans" who breed the dogs in their backyards.
Everyone’s now trying to create their own hybrid breeds: Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever/Poodle), Schnoodles (Miniature Schnauzer/Poodle), Cavoodless (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle), Roodles (Rottweiller/Poodle), Yorkiepoos (Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle), Shihpoos (Shih Tzu/Poodle) …
And that is in an American pet industry that generated an estimated $73 billion in 2018, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Doodles now fetch as much as $3,000 per puppy, but due the fact that many of them are coming from “backyard” breeders, there is no exact data on their share of the market.
As for Conron, according to his own testimony, he is not willing to capitalize on his invention. He lives on a pension in a small flat.
“If I'd gone into breeding Labradoodles for a living, I'd be on easy street. But there was no way I'd do it. My conscience wouldn't let me."
Still, despite Conron’s claims and the fact that doodle breeds feature in many home videos in which they are portrayed as being frightened of everything—even appearing in a commercial as a reason to invest in a home security system--there is an army of people praising the breed.
Aside from being hypoallergenic, owners of the breed praise their intelligence and kindness, as well as the fact that they are ideal pets to have around kids.
But as far as regrettable inventions go, they all share this similarity: making loads of money.
Once they gain popularity—from bombs to Doodles—everyone tries to duplicate it, improve upon it and make it more productive—sometimes, dangerously, in the backyard.
By Josh Owens for Safehaven.com