What the Heck Is Dusty?

So Dusty has no basset hound nor dachshund in him. That was definitely not what we expected to hear! I even emailed DNA My Dog to confirm the results, and they kindly did a manual check for those specific breeds. Nada.


What? No basset?

So where did his misshapen legs come from? I asked. And they sent me a picture of a “dwarf” beagle. Yep, that sure does look a lot like Dusty (see infographic below).

But beagle didn’t appear as a level 1 or even as a level 2 in his makeup. It was a level 3, meaning he is only 20-36% beagle. His predominant breed (37-74%) is—would you believe it?—American Eskimo! Those small to medium white fluffy dogs with the curly “plumey” tails that look like petite Samoyeds.

Well, while we cannot see any physical signs of American Eskimo in Dusty, in reading about the breed, I can see some of its other traits in Dusty. For instance, I learned that American Eskimos were widely used as circus dogs in the 1930s and 1940s. They are highly trainable, quite vocal (i.e., they love to bark, and they bark loud and long, like Dusty), very intelligent, and like to work. Check, CHECK!, check and check. Although generally healthy dogs, they are prone to allergies and hip dysplasia. Check and check. And Samoyeds, which are the closest related breed (and not in the DNA My Dog database, meaning Dusty may actually be Samoyed, not American Eskimo) are among the top-listed dogs predisposed to dwarfism (achondroplasia), so it’s possible Dusty’s dwarfism is not related to his beagleness at all. And his bark is definitely not a beagle bay, so perhaps he gets that from his American Eskimo kin (I don’t know that I’ve ever heard that bark).

Anyway, personality-wise, Dusty has a lot of the traits that suggest American Eskimo, but those traits, of course, aren’t unique to that breed.

And Dusty is far from all American Eskimo.

He also has Keeshond (like the American Eskimo, a Spitz), Ibizan hound, and border terrier in him. Here are some of the traits we think Dusty gets from those breeds:

Keeshond: outgoing, full of personality, likes to bark, prone to hip dysplasia and skin problems, sheds heavily, needs long walks to satisfy migration instinct.

Ibizan hound: “clowns” of the dog world, slender body, long snout, deep chest, sensitive, willful, needs long walks to satisfy migration instinct.

Border terrier: strong-willed, intelligent, eager to please.

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HUGE thank-you to the multi-talented Adrienn Tordai for the very cool infographic!

Today, for the first time since learning Dusty’s breeds, I was asked if he was a basset/beagle mix (we’re asked that a lot). And for the first time, I had to say he was an American Eskimo/beagle mix. How stupid did I feel? Yep, about as stupid as you imagine I felt. It’s tempting to continue the basset/beagle party-line. For one thing, it will make for a much shorter conversation!

And thanks to a “last kick at the can” as she called it, we have a winner for our Guess the Breed contest! In the wee hours of the morning, Roberta of Toronto (mom of dachshunds Blitz and Mercedes) submitted the guess of Keeshond! Roberta, I look forward to hearing your thought process behind that seemingly crazy theory that turned out to be right! Roberta can choose either a hand-knit doggy hoodie or a donation to an animal charity of her choice. Congratulations, Roberta! And thanks to everyone for playing along!

Stay tuned for Hogan’s “Guess the Breed” contest in the next few weeks!

P.S. If you want to test your dog’s DNA, you can order a DNA testing kit through The Animal Guardian Society (tagsinfo@animalguardian.org), and $10 of the cost will be donated to TAGS!

6 Responses to What the Heck Is Dusty?

  • Roberta says:

    Yay! It is amazing how much one’s best mental processes occur in the wee hours of the morning – at least mine do 😉 

    The funny thing is I also considered American Eskimo. Something intuitively was telling me that Dusty was a spitz of some kind. I thought, okay, think of Dusty’s personality and then add some physical traits. Alert, friendly and sociable (when I met him it was like he was trying to converse with me). It is clear that he loves being around others – dogs and people. Then I thought, what dogs have been in North America for a very long time, because if Dusty is made up of many breeds, one must be close to indigenous, maybe wolf even. Lastly, if you ignore Dusty’s short hair, but look at his side profile (minus the Beagle ears and straight tail) look at his outline and stance. Is it not similar to a spitz? I also remember feeling Dusty’s fur and even though it looked short it felt like that of a dog/wolf with two coats – long and short.

    So there you have it – my convoluted thinking in a nutshell 🙂 

    Plus, I’m also a huge fan of the Spitz. Yay Dusty!

    • Cathy Witlox says:

      I love that you say that when you met him it was like he was trying to converse with you. You are so attuned to dogs, Roberta! I totally understand what you mean because Dusty DOES do that, but I don’t think I would have been as intuitive as you as to see that on first meeting. What a great thought process at 3:00 in the morning! You really should change your work hours (that’s not to say that you’re not just as brilliant at other hours of the day, though!). 🙂

  • Louise says:

    oh my! Would have never guessed!!! No wonder him and Alley got along so well – she’s a Beagle American eskimo mix 🙂

  • Christine Gilbert says:

    Wow! I never would have guessed *any* of those breeds. He’s a real ‘Heinz 57’, as my grandfather would say. (a real mix) Thanks for a fun contest, Cathy! Will look forward to Hogan’s turn next. 🙂

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