Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heinz-57 Part II: And the (DNA) Survey SAAAYS...

Thanks to everyone here and on Facebook who took a shot at which dog breeds went into making mutt-tastic Inja. Your guesses included:

German Shepherd:

 Catahoula Leopard Dog:

Some kind of sighthound (ie, Greyhound):

Australian Cattle Dog:

Egyptian Pharaoh Dog:

Labrador Retriever:

Rhodesian Ridgeback:

(This would account for the stripes...)

If you remember, this is what Inja looks like:

...and according to the Wisdom Panel, her actual DNA says... (drumroll please)

25% German Shepherd:

25% Samoyed:


25% Bullmastiff:

and 25% mixed breed, with the most likely suspect (at 18% probability) the Plott Hound:


With her ears, no argument about the Shepherd. Bullmastiff seems a bit of a stretch, but it could account for her laid-back persona and the brindle. I can definitely see Plott Hound not only in the brindle, but in her lean, athletic build. It's a breed I never would've guessed. Plotts are bear-hunting dogs from Appalachia, and I knew a ton of them when I lived in Tennessee. I have met a few in Oregon, so it's certainly possible.

But what about that Samoyed? I have to say, I've never seen a Sammie without its coat, so maybe there's more of a resemblance than first meets the eye. And a sweet Sammie just might be where Inja gets her gentle, easygoing nature.

DNA breed tests are a pretty recent development, so while they're fun to do -- especially in a dog like Inja, who routinely stumps even the most expert-y of dog experts -- I'm taking the results with a grain of salt. Anyway, whoever her ancestors were, nothing changes the fact that she's our one-of-a-kind, adorable girl.

What do you think? If you have a mutt, would you want to see what shakes out of the family tree?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Heinz 57 Challenge

Our German Shepherd, Roxie, has been stealing the limelight lately with her antics. But today, it's our other dog's turn. Meet Inja:

When we met her as a 12-week-old brindle baby, our first question was, “What is she?” For the past 10 years, that's still the first question everyone asks. And then--since we don't know the answer--everyone ventures his own guess. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, dog trainers, dog lovers of all stripes have taken their best shot at figuring her out. 

Her Humane Society papers listed her as a “terrier-x.”  As far as personality, Inja is a teensy bit shy. Loves water...a smidgen of Lab? Does the fact that she crouches in the grass to stalk our other dog mean a Border Collie or Cattle Dog snuck in there somewhere? 

If so, I regret to say Inja didn’t get any of the herding-breed smarts. Life for her is pretty, um...simple. We don't mind. She may not ever get into medical school, but she’s the sweetest, calmest, most easygoing dog we’ve ever had. In fact, her nickname when she was little was the Practically Perfect Puppy. And she grew up to be the Practically Perfect Dog.

Which we were perfectly satisfied with. But recently, we got the chance to peek at her DNA with a test called the Wisdom Panel. I'll tell you the results...but first, you have to guess. Go ahead, take your best shot. Everyone else has!*

*For the analytical among you, here's her stats: weight, 55 lb;  height, about the size of a smallish Labrador.