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Why Labradoodle creator regrets breeding the 'Frankenstein monster'

Wally Conron, 90, says his creation allowed "unethical, ruthless people" to breed the dogs and "sell them for big bucks."
/ Source: TODAY

The dog breeder responsible for inventing the Labradoodle is regretting a creation he calls a "Frankenstein monster."

Wally Conron, 90, spoke on a podcast with Australia's ABC News about first breeding a Labrador and a poodle in 1989 and the subsequent trend of designer dog breeds that he believed it unleashed.

"I opened a Pandora's box and released a Frankenstein monster," he said.

"I released the reason for these unethical, ruthless people to breed these dogs and sell them for big bucks — that’s my big regret."

Happy Labradoodle Dog Outdoors
The creator of the Labradoodle now regrets opening "Pandora's box" for unscrupulous breeders. Getty Images stock

This isn't the first time Conron has publicly questioned his creation. He told The Associated Press in 2014 that he believed he'd "done a lot of damage."

"I’ve created a lot of problems,'' he said at the time.

Conron believes unscrupulous breeders have created Labradoodles that develop health problems.

"I find that the biggest majority (of Labradoodles) are either crazy or have a hereditary problem," he said on the podcast. "But I do see some ... nice Labradoodles."

The dogs can develop health issues like hip dysplasia and eye disease, but are "generally considered healthy dogs," according to the Australian Labrador Association of America.

Conron's initial intention in creating the Labradoodle while he was at Guide Dogs Victoria in Australia had nothing to do with producing a cute pet.

He said he was trying to help a blind woman in Hawaii who wanted a guide dog, but her husband was allergic to the traditional Labrador retrievers used as service dogs.

Poodles have non-shedding coats that aren't as problematic for people with allergies, leading Conron to breed one with a Labrador in the late 1980s.

Three Labradoodle puppies were born, one of which was sent to the woman in Hawaii after it was determined her husband could tolerate it.

Other people looking for service dogs were not receptive the Labradoodles because they were not purebred, so Conron said he branded them as Labradoodles. Soon had requests coming from around the world.

"It was a gimmick,'' he said. "They were a crossbreed, nobody wanted them, but everybody wanted a Labradoodle. Same dog, different name.

"I realized what I had done within a matter of days. And 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.'"

Labrador retrievers have been the most popular pure dog breed in the U.S. for 28 years, according to the American Kennel Club. Poodles are also one of the top breeds, coming in at No. 7 on the AKC's most recent list.

The AKC says that crossbreeds like the Labradoodle "are often bred solely for looks."

Don't tell NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt that labradoodles are "Frankenstein" creations.

He's a proud owner of a 2-year-old Labradoodle, Lucy, who has become a beloved part of the family and an integral part of his morning routine.

"She constantly makes us laugh," he told TODAY in March. "She’s a little performer."