So you know you can tell a poodle from a collie and you think you can tell a corgi from a dachshund, but how well do you really know dog breed characteristics? And how good are you at determining the possible breeds for a mutt?
DNA testing for dog breeds is becoming increasingly popular. Mutt owners have always been curious about their dog’s unknown ancestry and modern technology has made it possible and affordable to see just exactly where Fido’s genes might have come from.
I think this also has important implications for shelters, city pounds, dog owners and really anyone who comes into contact with mixed breed dogs. Plenty of people have deeply ingrained prejudices about different breeds of dogs, some of which are true and some of which are not true. (For instance, when looking for a vet for our first Brittany Spaniel, my parents called one clinic that was very negative about Brittanys. The vet said that they make horrible family dogs and he recommended that they pick another breed. Needless to say, we found another vet.) However, if we let breed stereotypes based merely on appearance influence the way we interact with dogs or the decisions we make about care, training and treatment, rather than looking at the personality and history of the individual, we could end up making false assumptions or wrong decisions.
Just because a dog looks like a certain breed doesn’t mean she is that breed. Also, even if she is a certain breed it doesn’t mean she’s going to exhibit all of the characteristics you associate with that breed.
Take the dog Ellie from the breed quiz–she’s primarily Siberian Husky, with some German Shepard, Newfoundland, pug and wire fox terrier. From the small picture given in the test, she could probably pass as a full-blooded Border Collie. Just goes to show that when you start mixing and matching breeds (whether on purpose or not…) you never know exactly what you’re going to end up with.