Monday, 4 February 2013

Doggy DNA



Apart from being gentle, funny, good-natured, full of energy, extremely intelligent, stuck to my side and very pleased with her new life, what is Daisy?   We had a DNA test done to help us get some clarity on her likely breed mix and from that hopefully be able to draw some conclusions about typical behaviours, weight, etc. The test uses a mouth swab to identify a range of DNA markers which are then compared against a database of 185 breeds.  Disappointingly however, this appears to be weighted towards USA breeds despite online marketing claims to the contrary.

     Scared, sad, gummy eye and very thin at the rescue centre

So what is Daisy?  Basically, she’s a mixed breed dog from a long line of mixed breeds.  The only two specific breeds pulled out were at Great-Grandparents, where one side indicates one of the four Great-Grandparents was a Whippet, and on the other side, one of the Great-Grandparents is indicated as an American Staffordshire Terrier.  There are no clear indicators in the rest of her family tree for any other specific breeds.  In the analysis, you are given probabilities for other breeds that they see markers for; none of Daisy’s other breed probability indicators were higher than 15% (that’s not very high!) with some at just 5% (pretty suspect).  The breeds that MIGHT be included in Daisy’s family tree COULD include Chinook and Flat Coated Retriever.



I'm unimpressed, I fail to be convinced that a mongrel found in Lancashire contains DNA from a rare sled dog that is almost unheard of in England (Chinook).  To us, Daisy has German Shorthaired Pointer markings on her neck, belly and legs and the rest of her coat and colouring is more Doberman than anything else we can think of.  Most people who meet her reckon the ears are German Shepherd and her long tail is reminiscent of a Doberman that has not been docked.  None of these breeds were suggested in the DNA profile which, frankly, was probably a waste of 60 quid.



It was obvious from looking at Little Miss Perfect (both in motion and stationary) that she's part Whippet and research on the breed confirms she has many of their behavioural characteristics including the incredible speed, the lack of interest in being cold and wet, the deep desire to be warm and comfortable ("on a soft bed, if you please, and whilst you're there, another log on the woodburner"), the friendliness and sharpness of mind.



We occasionally think we see some Staffy in her muzzle line and brow as she’s nowhere near as “pointy” as a Whippet.  There's definitely no Collie, so the original description at the rescue centre of "8 year old Collie-cross" has been dismissed as an admin error!  A good error though, because we drove 160 mile round trip to see a Collie-cross.  If you'd told me I was going to look at a Whippet/Staffy/Doberman/GSP/question mark I wouldn't have left the house.



We still have no idea where the ears come from … bets are being taken on Jedi Master or Long-Eared Bat with a side order of House Elf.



Messing around online last week I came across a rare Sicilian hunting dog ... that's not in Daisy's DNA profile either but the ears are amazing!






22 comments:

  1. Oh, the difference between then and now!!! She truly is a happy girl, all wrapped in her bed and quilt.

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    1. Thanks FFG. Amazing how she has changed in less than 3 months. Amazing how she has changed our lives too - definitely a win, win for all involved :}

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  2. She looks very much like our first dog (except the ears) who was a mix too - the best we could think of for her was a Manchester terrier cross. I wonder if that came out in the profile?

    PS wondered why she was related to a helicopter till you told us a Chinook is a American dog breed!

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    1. Hazel, the DNA profile didn't mention Manchester terrier. Management hopes that in a few years time the databases might have improved and we'd consider having the test done again.

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    2. If it was me, I wouldn't bother. Your own observations have told you more than £60 did - and she could be a pure-bred-million-pounds or dustbin-dog, you would love her no more or no less. She's found her feet with you (love the contrast of kennel and home-girl pics!) and you with her, and that is (by far) all that matters.

      PS If Management has need of relieving himself of another sixty quid, I can find a more worthwhile cause - cheques payable to 'The Cotton Patch', and I'll be along directly!

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    3. Hazel, thanks, please join the Q for spare cash :} :}

      and you are right about Daisy, and I'm still trying to decide who is luckier - her or us.

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  3. Must admit, the ears are amazing, and I really think pets are what the owners want them to be regardless of breed. Warm and loving homes make for responsive loving pets.

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    1. pets are what the owners want them to be
      Not always Susan. Ollie had a bad start in life and he never fully recovered from it.

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  4. Really, who cares what she is, as long as you love her and she loves you. Those ears though are truly amazing!

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    1. Sue, I don't care at all, and when you meet her you'll see why. Daisy is a gorgeous little girl and I continue to wonder what circumstances led to her being a starved stray out on the moors? As I will never know the answer to that I don't worry and am just so very glad that she is now part of our family.

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  5. What a disappointment, that's quite a bit of money to shell out for that kind of information, I think you're nearer the mark with your own analysis. That photo of Daisy in the rescue centre is so sad, I'm so pleased that she's got such a good home now, and the photos now show how she's thriving.

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    1. Thanks Jo. If you think the rescue centre pic is sad you should have actually been there. However, despite the situation Daisy's personality showed and I knew we just couldn't get back in the car and walk away from her.

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  6. Goodness, if you put Daisy's coat on the Cirneco's frame they'd be twins! Just look at that bone structure. But 60 quid? With so little results? Remind me not to have MY DNA lineage investigated. LOL Either way, Daisy is a darling and is home now with Mum. :-D

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    1. Kris, someone else said exactly the same thing to me yesterday. Get a paint can out and you'd have a matching pair :}

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  7. Such a difference from the early photo. I'd have guessed German Shepherd and Doberman form her photos.

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    1. We think you're right Sue, regardless of what the DNA test says.

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  8. Have you noticed the ears in this picture: http://www.loweswatercam.co.uk/13020924v.jpg?

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    1. Hi Roddie, I have met Jodie on many occasions and she is a lovely dog. I know what you mean about the ears :}

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  9. What does it matter really? All that matters is that you have the most wonderful, charming, intelligent, loving and charismatic new family member that you wouldn't be parted from in a million years given the choice.

    I can't wait to meet her soon, the "Daisy minds woodburner" photos are especially delightful!

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    1. You're absolutely right James, it doesn't matter at all. Look forward to seeing you soon.

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  10. Bit behind with this blogg! Scrolling through I thought hang on there is a dog in these pictures, big smile on sarum's face and a happy half hour catching up on the canine news! Can't help laughing at the comment about Daisy having an aversion to cold and wet. Remember a famous stinkingly wet and windy night when himself went out wellie booted and well wrapped up to walk our canine. He came back 30 mins later saying that she had run off and he couldn't find her in the pitch black but she woudl come home as she had done before. In her wisdom she had taken one look at the weather and instead of following him out had turned tale and was fast asleep in front of the WBS dreaming of her bonkers master! xxx

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  11. Hello Mrs. My, aren't we carp at keeping in touch at present, note to self: phone Mrs Sarum this week! I think I remember the incident to which you refer - Tess was such a lovely girl and far too smart to go out in such foul weather!

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So there I am, chuntering on to myself, but it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks to all who take the time to comment - it makes my day :)

and I always delete spam - my blog, my rules :-}