I got my dog's DNA tested - and the results surprised us all

We thought we knew what breed our dog was ... we didn't, writes Kate Henry

02 March 2018 - 00:00
By Kate Henry
Tucker, the author's dog.
Image: Supplied Tucker, the author's dog.

"He's part pug, part sausage dog and part, well, whatever was walking past." This was our response to other dog walkers when they asked what the little brown creature striding bullishly down the street was.

Ever since we picked Tucker up from the Sandton SPCA, the question of what mix of breeds he was made up of lurked in the back of our minds. Maybe he was secretly a Rhodesian Ridgeback, we feared as he started to develop the signature whorls on his back. 

Ultimately we loved the precocious bundle of fur too much to care. Then I came across an article about DNA testing on dogs, which can be used to discover more about your pooch's eclectic pedigree and pinpoint any potential health problems.

After a quick Google, I discovered a local company called MuttMix, which supplies home DNA test kits for dogs. A quick chat to our vet and I returned home armed with a pamphlet, an envelope and two cotton swabs. 

It took a bit of wrestling, but eventually, with a grumbling dog pinned to the couch I was able to swab one cheek, then the other. I let the cotton swabs dry for 30 minutes, placed them back in their sleeves and voila!

Almost six weeks later, the results arrived by courier. 

And our half-pug/half-sausage dog? Turned out he was none of the above. He's actually a 20-36% mix of Tibetan Spaniel and Pekingese, with a 10-19% mix each of Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Shih Tzu and German Shorthaired Pointer.

Bull Terrier? Seriously? That can't be right, except when you start reading the behaviour descriptions of each breed in the mix.

"The Tibetan Spaniel is laid-back, well-natured dog, but is also known to be stubborn and independent." Yup, got it in one.

Easily trainable? Check. Doesn't require a lot of physical activity? Check. 

And the Bull Terrier part? Turns out they "may be combative with dogs outside the family".

Yup, that's our dog. Mostly. Even some of the physical characteristics match if you look closely enough.

Tibetan Spaniel (left), and Tucker, the author's dog.
Image: 123RF/Ting Fen Zheng & supplied Tibetan Spaniel (left), and Tucker, the author's dog.

In the end does it matter? Not really, but it's fun to know and at least now when asked what our dog is we can reply confidently, "20% Tibetan Spaniel, 20% Pekingese, and 10% Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 10% Shih Tzu and 10% German Shorthaired Pointer".