My previous dog was a mutt. People used to constantly ask what kind of dog is that? She had the build of a boxer (long legs, huge chest, tiny waist), ears that flopped just at the tips like they couldn’t make up their minds to stand upright, a brindle coat with inch long fur, and a pit bullish face.
I used to just shrug my shoulders and say mutt, until I got her DNA tested. The results were mostly pit bull with German shepherd, husky, and a few other breeds thrown in to make her a true mutt.
When I got my current dog, there really wasn’t a question about her breed. She looks exactly like a German shepherd. That is, until you see her next to a real German shepherd, whereupon the differences are evident.
My dog’s ears are bigger, her legs are longer, her head is narrower and more wedge shaped, her face doesn’t have a black mask, her back is straight without sloping, and her build is slimmer than your average German shepherd dog. She does have the traditional German shepherd black and tan saddle pattern, but her fur is significantly shorter. Even though it’s shorter, unfortunately, she sheds just as much.
So, when I saw the doggy DNA test go on sale, I decided to get hers tested, too. Just in the 6 or so years since I got my previous dog tested, DNA testing has come an awfully long way. 6 years ago, almost half of my dog’s DNA was just marked as mixed breed. Now they have it down to 1%. Go science!
Of course, surprising no one, she is mostly German shepherd. But, she also has 11 other breeds in her DNA, some of which I’d never even heard of before.
My dog is a mutt in disguise! She’s actually a way bigger mutt than I expected. It made me happy to know just how much of a mutt she is, because I’m a big fan of mutts. They’re unique and they don’t tend to have as many health problems as purebred dogs do.
I’m not saying that all purebreds have health issues or that mutts have none (my previous dog died of cancer, after all), just that mutts’ predisposition to certain breed-related health conditions is less.
German shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia and a few other genetic conditions. Mutts can get dysplasia too, but my German shepherd mutt has excellent hips, so says my vet. He also says she’s a pretty girl every time I take her in. He’s correct.
Plus, my dog cost less than a hundred bucks to adopt from the shelter. I’m not sure how much a purebred GSD costs, but I bet it’s more than $100. Really, I don’t understand paying thousands of dollars for a purebred dog when there are tons of perfectly good dogs sitting in shelters. My dog most likely would have been euthanized had I not adopted her at a year old, because she has fear aggression that we’re still working on. Still, even with her issues, she’s the sweetest, willing to please dog. And she cost less than $100! Adopt, don’t shop, people.
It makes me a little sad that no one asks me what kind of dog I have anymore. I always liked to hear people’s guesses. Now, everyone just looks at my dog and assumes she’s a German shepherd. Given how much she looks like one, that’s a damn fine guess. But, I’d love to have a conversation about Bohemian shepherd dogs or Xoloitzcuintlis (pronounced show-low-eats-queent-lee).
Is your dog a mutt? If so, what kind? Also, how friggin’ cute is this face?