Definitely a Dog – Fun with Canine Genetic Analysis

A couple of years ago, my parents adopted an adorable mutt of a puppy as a rescue. (Seriously, look at this picture of her from early 2011).


The rescue group had seen the puppy’s mother, and said that this puppy was a “shepherd mix.” Uh huh. There seem to be a lot of rescue dogs labeled as “shepherd mix,” so other than the coloring, they weren’t really sure what they were getting, and didn’t much care. Now she looks like this:

20130313 003s

We still had no idea what breeds are in there. She’s pure mutt all the way, and even though it doesn’t really matter, science has made it possible (and affordable), to satiate our curiosity. For $60, you can send in a DNA sample for analysis. The lab will examine the sample for various genetic markers, and a computer will evaluate the data against a database to determine your dogs’ likely recent ancestry. (Its like magic that this is possible:) The accuracy of results is up for argument, and it may be a good idea to compare results with another company, but the whole idea is fun all the same. So what is this dog anyway? The results were pretty surprising:


Corgi and Lhasa Apso were not among the breeds we had guessed. (Corgi we can see, but Lhaso Apso? She doesn’t look or act like one, for starters). Then again, those were her grandparents. All those “mix breed” symbols could mean anything. And boy did they. Here’s what they say the balance is made of:


Ok, there really is some shepherd. And Dachshund was a breed we thought might be in there (her face and ears, and even some coloring, could very easily be Dachshund traits). But Newfoundland?!? Was not expecting that. I’d be hard pressed to come up with a more disparate list of breeds to try to combine into one dog.

To summarize, according to this company, my parents dog is: 25% Corgi, 25% Lhasa Apso, and the remaining 50% is primarily White Swiss Shepherd, Newfoundland, Dachshund, and Bullmastiff.

That is one confused dog.

Maybe we should just call her a Dingo.

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