Mongrel dogs are interesting because you never know what could be in their DNA. You could try to guess by how they look.
For fun, I borrowed The Mutt Book. It provides a simplistic way of decoding your dog’s heritage by helping you identify the type of ears, head shapes, body shapes, types of coat, tail, paws and legs, etc. And where they could have come from. For greater accuracy, I also considered trying out a DNA test on Donna. But I haven’t yet. Should I?
The Mutt Book – Decode Your Dog’s Heritage
Now it’s not a book that will make you the dog expert by any means, it’s not comprehensive in that way. But as a picture book, it was pretty fun to just flip though the pages and check out the closest approximation the author has to Donna.
Right after author David Alderton, provided a quick run-through of the variations in the different body parts, he had a section where he identified a collection of mutts by type – terrier, shepherd, hound, small dogs, hunting dogs and designer dogs.
The writer identified mongrels looking like Donna as a type of Hound.
“This dog looks like a Doberman Pinscher crossed with a Rottweiler crossed with a greyhound – and that’s as good a guess as any,” he wrote. “This is a strong, athletic dog. He may tend to be strong-willed, but training will help him make a great companion.”
But mongrels are mongrels because they’ve crossed so many times, you can’t really tell what they are any more. If you saw my old post on Donna’s family tree, you will know that Donna’s traceable family are all mongrels and not all of them are black and tan mongrels like her.
Donna’s Mongrel Family Tree
And Donna at 15kg is a smaller dog than a Doberman Pinsher or a Rottweiler. Makes me wonder what small/medium dogs had crossed to birth Donna’s father Denny, whom she takes after in terms of size.
Wonder, wonder, wonder… haha!
Isn’t it enough to just let a mongrel be a mongrel? Why the curiosity about the genetic makeup?
I guess anybody living with a mutt will be curious what type of dogs their mongrel is made up of. Sometimes I find myself idly wondering if Donna has a dash of retriever in her because of her natural propensity to play fetch, or if she will have many years ahead of her because she has some long lived breed in her DNA. :P
Certain dog breeds do have a greater propensity to certain health issues compared to others. Knowing the potential risks can enable both the owner and vet to keep an eye out for these specific conditions, rather than to discover it at a later stage.
“Boxers are prone to getting cancer, and Dobermans sometimes have bleeding disorders similar to hemophiliacs,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM, associate veterinarian at California’s Laguna Hills Animal Hospital. – pets.webmd.com
As such I took some time to read up on DNA tests like the Wisdom Panel.
(Nathan Sutter, PhD, assistant professor of medical genetics at Cornell University) says such dog DNA tests can typically identify the majority breeds in a canine with great accuracy. “But if a dog is mixed breed and comes from a great many breeds, each with just a small contribution to the total, then the breed test may be unable to identify most or all of the breeds contributing to the dog,” he says. Sutter says that if a dog has a purebred parent or grandparent, the results are highly accurate. – pets.webmd.com
Given that I already know both Donna’s parents are mongrels and her grandmother too, I wondered what my chances are of getting back results that look like this! :P
Curious what the real results of the Wisdom Panel DNA test look like, check out this video ;)
Although, considering Donna’s father was rescued from a breeder environment, perhaps the chance of known breeds appearing further up his line is higher. Hmmm :/ What do you think?
These Distinct Adoptable Mutts at Blk 2 Furever Canines Shelter
Anyway, I only realised belatedly that the fun part of the adoption process could be – really taking your time to get to know the individual dogs at the shelter to see who is the right one for you. :P We sort of skipped that part and landed on Donna on our first visit with the help of the shelter. HAHAH.
But there’s actually a lot of choice. I thought Donna’s black and tan coat pattern is a pretty common look for a mongrel. But my visit to Blk 2 Furever Canines showed me that mongrel dogs in shelters can look pretty distinct from one another. It’s like what The Mutt Book showed, they can have different ears, coat textures and patterns, etc under the influence of whatever breeds that could be in their genes. And that may have an influence on personality as well, not just looks.
For example, here are three dogs with three distinctly different ears and coat patterns, personality and history. The results to their Wisdom Panels DNA tests should be pretty exciting to look at :P
To adopt Bravo, learn more about him at Blk 2 Furever Canines Shelter| | Share on Facebook
To adopt Oley, learn more about him from Blk2 Furever Canines shelter | Share on Facebook
And as you can see from this video on my first visit to Blk 2 Furever Canines, different dogs have different personalities. Some dogs like Yvette are highly independent and more interested in their surrounding environment than people, compared to the other dogs who trailed after me in the hopes of getting treated. (Despite the title of the video, this is the right video :P Just click play. Haha :P )
If you are considering checking out mongrel dogs like Donna or Bravo, Oley, Bailey or a runner like Yvette for adoption, you can contact Blk 2 Furever Canines to visit them, or Donna’s original shelter Gentle Paws and Friends. Both are located at the Pasir Ris Farmway 2 area. ;)
Known mix-breed or plain old mongrel
So despite my curiosity about what goes into Donna’s DNA, overall I have to say we are lucky that she is a very healthy girl with no food allergies or other more serious genetic conditions that affect her quality of life, physically or health-wise. So far. *Touch wood, HAHAHAHA*
And that is the most important really, to me. :)
The Mutt Book can be bought on Amazon or loaned from the National Library Board of Singapore.
The Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 2.5 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit can be bought on Amazon here.
Leave a comment
- If you have done a DNA test on your dog before, which one was it and were the results a surprise or expected?
- If you have a dog of a known breed, what is his/her temperament and personality like. And is it exactly what you expected? :P