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Page 3 Profile: Wally Conron - Dog Breeder

Every dog has its day…

Conron, 85, kick-started the trend for ‘designer dogs’. He was breeding manager at the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia in the 1980s when a couple asked him to breed a dog that would accommodate both the wife’s vision problems and the husband’s allergies.

Prefect! What’s the problem?

Initially his cross between a labrador and poodle proved unpopular. But he came up with the name Labradoodle and “All of sudden, people wanted this wonder dog.” The craze took off thanks to celebrities such as Jennifer Anniston opting for them. Spying the opportunity to cash in, “horrific” puppy mills sprang up to meet demand.

I don’t like where this is going…

Neither does Conron, who now says he “created lots of problems”. The mill owners produce more dogs than they’re able to take care of and many suffer severe health problems.

But they all find a home to go to?

Of the mills, Conron said: “Instead of breeding out problems, they’re breeding them in.”

He can’t be popular with animal lovers…

Daphna Nachminovitch, of animal rights organisation Peta, says: “The kindest thing that anyone can do for dogs is to adopt them from a shelter, and make sure that they are spayed or neutered.”

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