Lilac dogs: the cruel new craze that commodifies our faithful friends

Pedigrees are being bred to have a range of unusually coloured fur, including lilac, silver, charcoal and even tiger stripes – as well as a host of health problems

Name: Lilac dogs.

Age: About 30 years.

Appearance: Half dog, half Milka.

Are you sure this is a thing? I have never seen a lilac dog before. Let me ask you a question. Are there a lot of rich idiots where you live?

No, not really. That’s the problem then. Go anywhere where people have more money than sense and you’ll be inundated with lilac dogs.

Why are rich people spray-painting their dogs lilac? You misunderstand. These people aren’t painting their dogs lilac. They’re breeding them to have lilac fur.

Oh wow, like Jurassic Park. Yes, if Jurassic Park was about the dangers of interfering with canine DNA so your pets can accessorise your soft furnishings.

Now I want a lilac dog. No, you don’t. For starters, they’re really expensive. Prices for lilac puppies have inflated beyond all measure in recent years. You can expect to pay about £9,000 for one.

Ah, perhaps I’ll give that a miss then. Probably for the best. The way in which these dogs are bred have left them with a range of health problems, such as skin disorders and hair loss. The craze has got so out of hand that the Kennel Club has launched an investigation.

What are the findings? So far, that the whole thing is little more than a marketing strategy. “Breeders who appear to be prioritising colour over other factors and charging inflated prices should be treated with suspicion,” it has said, which sounds fair.

And the Kennel Club knows a thing or two about canine health issues. Well, quite. The BBC stopped broadcasting Crufts in 2009 after a documentary claimed that the Kennel Club basically advocated dog eugenics (though it has since changed its practices). Still, for it to come out against lilac dogs is really something.

Why are there lilac dogs in the first place? The theory is that American breeders first crossed labradors with weimaraners in the 1980s, then registered this new breed as a pedigree.

But why are there still lilac dogs? They look awful. This was only the start. Once breeders had mastered the lilac dog, they went bananas and started making silver dogs, charcoal dogs and tiger-striped dogs.

What’s wrong with having a normal dog? Any idiot can have a normal dog. But rocking up to the park with a dog that has been specifically modified to fit your own personal aesthetic is something else. It says: “I am a person of great taste.” It says: “I can bend others towards my will.” It says …

“I am a monstrous Frankenstein figure who must be stopped at any cost.” Well, yes, that too probably.

Do say: “Lilac labradors are fashionable but unethical.”

Don’t say: “Now, who can I interest in a mauve monkey?”

The GuardianTramp

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