Monthly Archives: September 2013

Guess the Breed!

Hello again!

It’s nice to be back among dog lovers. Thanks, Cathy, for asking me to talk about one of my favourite subjects again.

Junebug5Earlier this year, I saw a Facebook post by the company DNA My Dog. They were offering free DNA tests because they were looking for subjects who could be used in a demo reel to pitch the idea for a new TV show to various networks. As I understand it, the program would feature a dog trainer who tailored lessons based on issues that were breed specific. Easy enough to identify problems when you know the breeds in your dog, but harder if you didn’t, which is why the DNA test was crucial.

I’ve always thought having a DNA test to determine Junebug’s genetic makeup would be fun and novel. However, I wasn’t sure how relevant the results would be. After all, Junebug was a true Heinz 57 street dog. She was a rescue from a small blue-collar town in rural Quebec. I was told there were few vets in the town, and unfixed strays roamed everywhere. In all likelihood, not even her great-grandparents had had a pampered life inside a dog-loving home. So the chance of her having a purebred in her recent past was pretty slim. I was also told that more often than not if the dogs became problematic or the population grew too big, culls were the default solution. Fortunately, Junebug, instead of being killed, was one of a group of dogs that was rounded up and sent to Toronto to be adopted.

Junebug4The Facebook post seemed like a perfect opportunity, especially since the DNA My Dog office is about ten minutes from my home. I emailed the company right away, giving a little history about my girl. After about five minutes, I decided to send along a photo as well because, well, she’s very photogenic—who could resist her? Sure enough, I got a response within ten minutes. We were in.

The company mailed me the test, and I used the cheek swabs on the ’Bug before returning them. Then on a sunny weekday, Junebug put on her best ears, and we headed to the office for the reveal. There were two dogs in the office before us and two waiting to go in after. All of them looked to have either lab or shepherd in their makeup. Plus, there was a large, wheezy bulldog acting as the company mascot. (Wheezing so much that the audio guy could pick it up. Poor man. I know enough about TV and audio to know that must have been frustrating.) We did our bit and got our results. No huge surprises, but one small unexpected one. June’s apparently a Popeye dog—she is what she is.Junebug6

Still, Cathy and I thought it would be fun to hold a “guess Junebug’s breeds” contest. The prize will be two dozen homemade treats (one dozen for dogs; one dozen for humans).

She has four Level 4 breeds and one Level 5. The Level 4s represent 10-20% of breed DNA and the Level 5, 9% or less.

Junebug3To help you out, here are some clues:

  • Three of her breeds can be found in the CKC sporting group. One comes from the herding group and one from the working group.
  • Her fur is long and silky and super soft. She’s single coated.
  • She weighs 57 pounds and stands 24 inches tall. So she’s medium sized. Under all that fur she’s not that big. However lack of maternal nutrition as well as little nutrition when she was a puppy might have affected her size.
  • She has a black streak of coarse hair down her back.
  • Her ears flop down in a wedge shape.
  • She’s not athletic but is very outdoorsy. If she could stay outside 24/7/365, she would. Rain and snow are two of her favourite things.
  • She moves fastest when hunting. She uses all her senses when she’s hunting—sight, hearing, and smell without any real preference.
  • She likes to wrestle with other dogs and prefers that to playing with balls or sticks, though she will chase them on occasion.
  • She loves to play in the water but doesn’t really swim.
  • She’s very talkative and extremely affectionate, cuddly and friendly. She’s also very independent in her thinking. No blind obedience here.
  • Her toes are not webbed, and she has a very pointy occipital bone.
  • She has a really long body and neck.

Good luck!

Our Last Outdoor Trial of the Season

We spent today at the last outdoor agility trial of the season in Pickering. What a great day!

Hogan's favourite part of an agility trial is the belly rubs. Lori was his first belly rubber of the day.

Hogan’s favourite part of an agility trial is the belly rubs. Lori was his first belly rubber of the day.

Since my husband was out of town and my usual agility buddy, Mary Ann (mom of Dusty’s and Hogan’s “girlfriends”), was working, I enlisted the help of great friends Chris and Lori, who’ve been out to a couple of trials before and enjoyed them. Hogan’s and Dusty’s first event was scheduled for 10:41 a.m. Since the venue was close to home, I brought my easy-up gazebo thingie, the dogs’ pen, crate, beds, etc. to the park and went back home for the dogs. I was hoping this would mean extra rest for Hogan (he needs his rest!).

Nick dropped by to watch and got some Dusty cuddle time!

Our dog-sitter Nick dropped by to watch and got some Dusty cuddle time!

Back at the park, we had a bit of time to settle in before our Snooker run—my first time ever trying it! The course was challenging because obstacle #6 was 12 weave poles, and Dusty doesn’t yet know how to weave, and Hogan weaves VERY slowly. This meant I had to earn 23 points in the first half (we needed a total of 37). I decided to do obstacle #7 (tunnel and two jumps) twice, obstacle #5 (tunnel and two jumps), and obstacle #3 (jump). Hogan didn’t get very far before running out of time, so he got just 16 points. Dusty did pretty well, but I screwed up by sending him over a red jump when he needed to go over #3 in the second half, so he finished with 27 points, I think. (I can’t post the video because I shouted out an obscenity when I screwed up–oops!) His missed ribbons do tend to be my fault time and time again. Oh, well. We’re both getting better with practice!

Hogan resting between events.

Hogan resting between events.

Our second event was Starter Jumpers (again). We’ve tried this event probably seven or eight times this summer with no ribbons. But today was different!

Dusty chewing a stick to ease his excitement (Cora being curious)

Dusty chewing a stick to ease his excitement (Cora being curious).

First, Hogan ran. He actually did the whole course, although he was slow, sniffed a lot, and missed one jump. (It took him 53 seconds to do it, and 43 seconds were allotted). Then Dusty flew through the course, with a time of 27.60 seconds! I thought he had knocked a bar on one of the jumps, but apparently he didn’t. That means Dusty got his first Q! Yay!

Dusty and his very first ribbon for qualifying!

Dusty and his very first ribbon for qualifying!

I’ve had a great summer of attending trials with my dogs, and I would keep doing this regardless of earning Q’s and ribbons. We’re in agility purely for the fun of it. I’m not a very good handler (still working on it), but we have a great time out there. But I must admit, getting that ribbon today sure as hell felt good!

Below are some more pictures from today, and to see the video of Dusty’s qualifying run, click here!

Wes eventually made it to the park. Here he is watching Steeplechase with Dusty

Wes eventually made it to the park. Here he is watching Steeplechase with Dusty.

 

Chris volunteering as a bar setter in Steeplechase (on my behalf)

Chris volunteering as a bar setter in Steeplechase (on my behalf).

 

Possibly my new favourite picture of Cora (she was watching garbage men taking the nice-smelling garbage away)

Possibly my new favourite picture of Cora (she was watching garbage men taking the nice-smelling garbage away).

It was tough to get Dusty to lie down!

It was tough to get Dusty to lie down!

My three sweetie pies.

My three sweetie pies automatically sitting for a treat when they see the camera’s on them.

Misha’s Adorable Mix Revealed

As rescued dogs typically do, Misha came to my mom as a mystery mix. She was guessed by Loyal Rescue to be a Cairn terrier mix and was listed as such. Some of my mom’s friends and neighbours had guessed Misha to be a Dandie Dinmont terrier (which I’d never heard of!) or a Cairn terrier mix, as Loyal had thought.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

 

After we got Hogan’s DNA results, I figured Misha, similarly, could be a mix of many breeds—one of which I felt certain would be Chihuahua (judging by her snout). What I never would have guessed is that Misha is a designer dog! She is a first-generation mix from two purebred parents—one a Chihuahua (nailed it!), the other a rat terrier (never would have guessed it!)—called a rat-cha.

This is a rare black Chihuahua. (The snout is definitely Misha's snout.)

This is a rare black Chihuahua. (The snout is definitely Misha’s snout.)

This is a long-haired Chihuahua. Considering Misha's wiry coat, there must be long hair in her ancestry.

This is a long-haired Chihuahua. Considering Misha’s wiry coat, there must be long hair in her ancestry.

A rat terrier with short legs (they're usually long-legged, I think).

A rat terrier with short legs (they’re usually long-legged, I think).

The more I look at this picture, the more I think Misha's breeds make sense.

The more I look at this picture, the more I think Misha’s breeds do make sense.

It’s mostly because of Misha’s coat and colouring that this breed mix surprises me. Her bark resembles a Chihuahua’s bark, and her energy doesn’t quite match that of a rat terrier, but it comes close. She’s also got a funny little run that apparently is Chihuahua-like. So there we go. Misha is a rat-cha!

Misha’s Breeds

Misha’s DNA results are in! She’s a first-generation mix, meaning both of her parents are purebred! Just for the fun of it (no prizes for this one), does anyone have a guess of her two breeds? (A real guess-the-breed contest with edible prizes is coming up soon, so this is just a practice run!)

DSCF8210