February 8, 2010

Shorty gets his DNA on

SpongeBob ChowTail out back one night last week, pretending he just heard a small suburban woodland creature. The camera flash makes him look several shades lighter than he really is. [Click for bigger.]

Those crazy kids over at Mars Wisdom Panel kept saying they could spot Chow DNA with one eye closed, and wasn't I curious about that blue spot on Smoky's tongue and his tail-in-a-circle? Well, wasn't I?

I was. When you tell people you have a new dog and they ask what kind and you say, "Oh, I think he might be a chow/pit bull mix," you see all kinds of interesting faces. I figured if we were going to make people struggle to compose their features, then we better find some science to back us up.

So we sent blood to Mars, and sat back to wait for the results.

Smoke has been here for a year now. He's about 17 months old, 60 athletic pounds, smart, keen, happy, likes people, travels well, sleeps on the bed, and has the biggest, most distinctive voice you have ever heard in your life.

He still keeps an eye out for me and looks me full in the face when one of us has something to say to the other. I still think he's just about perfect.

I told my vet I'd check for the DNA results online, and she said "results pending" was the only thing her clients ever saw. [Results are also snail-mailed.] In any event, a week or so later Smoky's workup appeared on the Mars site. It was in pdf and cleverly designed: the actual DNA results and breed names are on the second page, so you can sit and stare at the first page for a while and let the suspense build and remind yourself that these things can be wildly inaccurate and OMG dare I turn the page now and what if they say he's Duck Tolling Retriever and Bichon Frise? Because I would totally have to return him to the pound if he were that.

I drummed my fingers, took a deep breath, and scrolled to page 2.

And yeah, it turns out I paid Mars one hundred simoleons to play Captain Obvious and tell us what we already knew. To wit:
I'm guessing he's part pit bull and maybe part German shepherd.
But not half-and-half, mind you. He's vastly more generic and All-American than that. He's a blend of the country's two most common types:

Smoky is a pit-mix/shepherd-mix mix.

And if that isn't a fine style of cur-dog, I don't know what is. Happy first anniversary with us kids, Smoky! Honestly, our local pound has the best dogs on the whole damn planet.

In which I make an executive decision — which, for the record, still stands.


2halves said...

I think that's the first set of results I have heard that actually makes some sense. My Kate came back with no primary breeds. Two secondary breeds (whatever that means) were Border collie and poodle. I don't know if that fits into te "fine style" catagory, but she still a keeper. :-)

sluj said...

I'm a little selfishly glad whenever someone posts a story like this because I've been tempted numerous times to test Allie. I wouldn't be surprised to learn she has some shepherd-mix/pit-mix in her heritage.

Luisa said...

@2halves: border collie + poodle = awesome sauce. In my humble opinion, you should totally hang onto her ;~) Also: your photos are so terrific I could diiiiieee.

@sluj: I'm still inclined to take dog DNA results with a grain of salt, but it's neat to see what they come up with. [Full disclosure: Smoke may have a bit of Doberman waaay back, but not enough to be sure about, say the Martians.]