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Friday, June 29, 2012

Dog DNA Test Solves a Mixed Breed Mystery

Here is our girl Hannah, adopted last fall from our local shelter.

She was taken in as a stray, so we had no information about her heritage. Our intention was to adopt a mixed breed dog, and we love everything about her. She has an independent, self-possessed temperament, she's very smart and learned all her training commands immediately, and gets along beautifully with our small poodle.

The shelter workers thought that Hannah was probably a Dachshund/Chihuahua mix. Hence the long body and big, slightly protruding eyes. One vet thought she was a Chuggle - Chihuahua/Beagle combo, and another guessed Jack Russell Terrier or Rat Terrier and Dachshund. The groomer thought she might have some Jack Russell or maybe even Basset Hound mixed with Chihuahua. I thought I saw Boston Terrier or perhaps Pug in those large, wise eyes and her blocky body.

My best friend throughout my childhood was a short-haired Dachshund named Herman. I certainly knew there were Dachshund traits in this little girl. A great nose, a sense of independence, and a penchant for burrowing under blankets.

She definitely has a very sparky, take-charge manner when on guard duty. Her body is much wider than a Dachshund's, her neck is short, and she carries her head relatively low. Those beautiful eyes have the appeal of a Disney animal.

So, long story short , friends and family all chipped in a bit for a gift they knew I'd appreciate but was too frugal to spring for - a doggie DNA test. This was done by the vet with a blood draw, as we wanted reliable accuracy.

So, this week the results arrived in the mail. They showed that our girl is not Chihuahua, not Beagle, not Pug, nor Boston Terrier, Jack Russell or Basset.

She is:

1/4 Short-haired Miniature Dachshund - not a big surprise
1/4 Lhasa Apso - which explains her goldfish gait, bulky build, big eyes, and watchdog manner
1/2 Miniature Poodle - which could be where the trainability comes from, and perhaps explains her bond with our Toy Poodle

I'm so glad that I was able to find this genealogy information, thanks to my pals who were all eager to hear the results. Probably the most important thing, however, was the medical information that was given to the vet. This is all about the recessive genetic markers for various health conditions, etc. Not my area at all, but what they did reveal was that with all the genetic factors, there was very little risk of health problems from my dog's heritage simply because those factors were recessive, and therefore not strong enough to cause problems for her. Can we hear it for hybrid vigor!

So much fun and such a very professional and thorough report. I'm glad I have the answer to the puzzle. Our little girl is such a unique and precious combination of some very wonderful breeds, and she has a style all her own. I will not give her one of those obnoxious and silly hyphenated breed names, either. She is a Hannah. One of a very fine kind!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Keeping Dogs Cool in a Heat Wave

Here we are in the Pacific Northwest, aghast at the weather reports from other parts of the USA. Days and days of triple digit temperatures, 90 plus degrees and 90% humidity, how do you endure it? Of course we have earned the title of Weather Wimps here, and although we put up with semi-darkness and dripping precipitation as often as not, we rarely have to suffer with the heat.

The good news is that we have a solution for you - or your dogs at least! The cooling jacket for dogs is a new product this year that has a tremendous fan base already. What's not to love?

The coat can be dipped in water, then popped in a plastic bag and put into your freezer. Then take it out and wait until it warms a bit (full directions come with this product), and put it on your dog for hours of refreshing coolness.

Remember the principle of the cooling effect of evaporating water? Taken to a new level right here.

It has gel packs that can be frozen and tucked into special pockets strategically located in the jacket where they'll work best to cool your dog.

Relief from a heat wave's misery, right here in one of the finest new items created for dogs. This is one product that your dog would be buying for himself if he could only get his paws on a keyboard. Available in our eBay store Dog City Dime Store
 Don't miss out.