The creator of the labradoodle says he made a mistake
Photo by Seth Weisfeld on Unsplash

Since the labradoodle boom in the early aughts, the popularity of the adorable curly-haired dog has spread. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Lance Bass, Tiger Woods, and Henry Winkler count themselves among the multitude of labradoodle owners. But the creator of the breed admits he is not a fan. "I opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster," Wally Conron recently said on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's podcast, "Sum of All Parts."

Conron created the dog breed in 1989 while he was working at the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia. Conron had a good reason for creating the dog, as it was originally intended to be a hypoallergenic guide dog for a woman in Hawaii with a special request. "I bred the labradoodle for a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog hair," Conron said. "Why people are breeding them today, I haven't got a clue."


Since poodles don't shed, Condon knew the breed would be a good choice. However, he ran into difficulty. "Over the period of three years, I tried 33 standard poodles, but not one was successful," he told the podcast. He then decided to mate a male poodle named Harley with a female Labrador named Brandy. The result was "a dog with the working ability of the Labrador and the coat of the poodle," he said.

RELATED: Dog owners are more likely to kiss their dogs than their significant others

Condon regrets the mash up. "I realized what I had done within a matter of days," he said. "I went to our big boss at the time and I said to him, 'Look, I've created a monster. We need to do something about it to control it.'" Instead, the breed was given a cutesy name in order to help it sell. The labradoodle is cited as inspiration for the crossbreeding trend that has resulted in dogs such as shih poos and puggles.

It turns out, crossbreeding can increase a dog's risk of congenital disease. "I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have a hereditary problem," he said. Many poodle crossbreeds have epilepsy and Addison's disease, in addition to problems with their eyes, hips, and elbows. However, the Australian Labradoodle Association of America, says they are "generally considered healthy dogs" despite having some problems.

RELATED: Service dogs enjoy a performance of 'Billy Elliot' to learn how to behave in a theater

Labradoodles are also a staple in puppy mills, where commercial dog breeders care about producing designer dogs with little concern for the dogs' health. "I released the reason for these unethical, ruthless people to breed these dogs and sell them for big bucks – that's my big regret," Conron said. An estimated 2.11 million puppies are sold through puppy mills each and every year. In comparison, three million dogs are killed in shelters because they can't find homes. There are around 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S., most of which aren't regulated.

The dogs are crazy-cute and hard not to love, but Conron's confession is a reminder that sometimes we don't think about the health or source of our pets as much as we should. It's important to think of the health and well-being of your animal just as much as you think about the softness of their curls.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia is poised to become the 23rd U.S. state—and first state in the South—to ban the death penalty after lawmakers on Monday approved legislation prohibiting the practice.

"We're dismantling the remnants of Jim Crow here in the New South. Abolishing the death penalty is another step on that journey," tweeted Democratic Del. Jay Jones, who's running for state attorney general.

Both chambers of the General Assembly passed earlier versions already this month. On Monday, the Senate passed the House bill in a 22-16 vote; the House then voted 57-43 on the measure to ban capital punishment. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has indicated his support for the measure.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

This morning, Joe and Jill Biden went out for a walk with their dogs, Champ and Major, to check out the surprise the first lady had installed overnight for Valentine's Day weekend. The White House lawn has been decorated with oversized hearts that have positive words like LOVE, GRATITUDE, COMPASSION, and FAMILY on them. The one that says HEALING is signed "Love, Jill."

As they walked along with coffee cups in hand, the first couple was met by a few members of the press. The conversation that they had has gone viral—not so much because of how extraordinary it was, but rather the opposite. It was delightfully ordinary, filled with normalcy, decency, and even a random act of kindness for good measure. And the simple goodness of it all is moving people to tears.

Keep Reading Show less

Just over a month after passing the grim milestone of 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, the United States has surpassed another one. As of today, more than half a million Americans have been lost to the virus that's held the world in a pandemic holding pattern for almost a year. It's a number that seemed unfathomable even six months ago, and yet here we are.

Despite increasing vaccine rollouts allowing us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the loss we've experienced is immense. Having a president who not only understands loss on a personal level—having endured the tragic loss of his wife and baby daughter earlier in life and the death of his son just six years ago—but who conveys with compassion the grief of the nation as we mark this milestone is a comforting change.

Tonight, the White House honored the 500,000+ lives lost with a display of 500 candles lining the steps of the building, with each candle representing 1000 Americans. The president and first lady, along with the vice president and second gentleman, held a memorial moment of silence outside the South Portico as a military band played "Amazing Grace."

Keep Reading Show less