This is Mel. She's a sweet dog, and I love her dearly. But I'm not sure she should be replicated.


Her mother was a St. Bernard. Her father was a mystery, although her mostly black coat and boundless energy make a strong case for Lab genes.

That makes her a mutt.

But no. Apparently the designer-dog trend that has brought us puggles, Yorki-poos and golden doodles has now spawned something called a "Labernard."

People are not only deliberately breeding this dubious combination but they're slapping a fancy name on them and selling them for hundreds of dollars. 

Our "Labernard" was an accident, brought to the Humane Society with her littermates until we adopted her in a weak moment. We knew she'd get big, and we figured she'd be a handful. But no one could have prepared us for the frightening mixture of St. Bernard size and stubbornness combined with Lab rambunctiousness. She was truly the puppy from hell, as destructive as Marley of bestseller fame. No, she didn't eat a wall, like Marley did, but she destroyed countless shoes, carpets and upholstery, uprooted a bush to which she'd been tethered and knocked down every child in our neighborhood in her enthusiasm at finding new playmates. Plus she had a tendency to drool. Still does. 


Mel has mellowed into a reasonably manageable dog in her old age, but I wouldn't wish those first two years on anyone. And I certainly wouldn't spend $500, the price I saw on one website, to buy another Mel. 


I understand that many hybrid designer dogs have their merits. But some of the recent ones I've seen strike me as ridiculous. A Baskimo (American Eskimo crossed with Basset hound)? Schnekingese (miniature schnauzer crossed with Pekingese)? Even a pitbull/shih tzu combo with a name I can't post on this website. (I'm convinced someone bred those two ONLY to combine the names.)

Where do you stand on designer dogs? Do you have one? What's the weirdest combination you've ever seen or heard of?