Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The labradoodle's creator says he "opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster"

Photo: Education Images (Getty Images)

As we get older, looking back on the decisions that make up our lives, it’s only natural to feel some level of regret. This effects all of us differently. War criminals and serial killers may enter old age unrepentant, but the creator of the labradoodle—a curly-furred Labrador/poodle crossbreed whose worst crime is smelling terrible when it’s wet—is apparently plagued by a guilty conscience that has inspired him to speak out about the evils he’s committed.

The New York Times’ Emily S. Rueb and Niraj Chokshi detail the man, Wally Conron, and the background of his grim work. As overblown as some of Conron’s quotes (“I opened a Pandora box and released a Frankenstein monster”) may be, his larger point is a valid one that points to the problems inherent to breeding “designer dogs.” While plenty of people love labradoodles, Conron only bred the dog back in 1989 in order to help “a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog hair” and says that he doesn’t understand why anyone else would want a pet he describes as “either crazy or [having] a hereditary problem.”

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His creation, as noted in the article, “has been credited with sparking a crossbreeding frenzy resulted in shih poos, puggles, and more.” The health and behavior problems that these kind of dogs may have aren’t Conron’s specific focus, though. He’s focused more on the labradoodle, whose very existence he willed into being.

“I went to our big boss at the time and I said to him, ‘Look, I’ve created a monster,” Conron says. “We need to do something about it to control it.’” (That “big boss” apparently disagreed; he adopted the first labradoodle after it retired from helping the blind woman.) Amy Murphy, who serves as President of the confusingly named Australian Labradoodle Club Of America, doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with the breed whose official club she, um, leads, saying only that labradoodles need to be “challenged” and “have people around” in order not to act out. This means little to Conron, though, who once said he’s “done a lot of damage.”

“People ask me, ‘Aren’t you proud of yourself?” he says. “I tell them: ‘No! Not in the slightest.”

Again, this may seem like a hyperbolic statement. But, when we look for evidence to support either side—the labradoodle supporters or their haunted creator—it seems notable that even the Catholic Church recognizes the inherent evils of the breed and, as the below photo suggests, apparently offers programs that attempt to exorcise the dogs, one by one.

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Photo: The Washington Post (Getty Images)

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.