Doggie DNA identifies Snickers breed (Viewpoint)

Our dog came into our household two years ago, just before the pandemic turned life as we know it upside down and after several years of persistent pleas from my children for a dog to be theirs.

I resisted. I said no.” I was adamant. I told them the dog would “block our style”. That we couldn’t come and go as we pleased. That they are more work than our cat. Much more of work!

I even offered them another cat to appease them. Yet the constant calls continued. They started surfing the internet to find dogs to adopt on Petfinder. I started looking with them for all the cute dogs that needed homes.

My husband firmly said, “No dogs. We are cat people. He probably said he didn’t want a dog 100 times.

You can guess what happened next.

Naturally, I went with my children to a dog adoption event at the local Petsmart. Hosted by Little Rhody Rescue, there were dogs of all shapes and sizes. The children were in heaven.

And that’s where we found our dog, Snickers, in a pen with an angry Chihuahua.

He was referred to as a “Spaniel mix” even though he looked more like a miniature beagle with a Chihuahua face. I think the only reason he was still available was because he “coughs” when excited. Apparently, this is a Chihuahua trait that can be very alarming to hear if you don’t know it. Looks like the dog is choking. We were reassured, it was “normal”.

My daughter and son hugged him, and the rest is history. Needless to say my husband loves this dog now.

Everything about him was relatively easy, so easy that I wonder how he ended up lost in a shelter in Louisiana. It’s hard to imagine he’s not wanted. But he gets distracted on walks, following scents, so I can see him eventually walking away.

The tracking – was it a beagle trait? A little research showed yes. Was he also part hunting dog? He also points. Was he a pointer?

Our vet said she thought he was part of the beagle, as there are a lot of beagle mixes that come from the south. But the Southern vet had called him a spaniel. We started to get curious. What was it?

Cavalier King Charles? He has droopy ears. Cocker? But his fur is so fine that in some places he doesn’t even have any. Partly hairless dog? A little English springer spaniel? Was he the product of a designer dog breeding operation?

His nose is still on the ground, like a beagle. If something moves, he’s on it, a real hunter. And he is fast. Once he grabbed a squirrel and ripped its tail off. What were we dealing with here? It zooms with wild abandon. Jack Russell? But he doesn’t bark much unlike other small dogs, he’s also very friendly with people and most other dogs, and I’ve never heard him howl, although my mother-in-law claims it happened once when we left him alone with her. He doesn’t lose much either.

Now we are part of the “dog world”, which means that people will tell you about your dog when you are out in public and you want to know what he is. We would answer, spaniel mix. They inevitably say, what kind? We say, “We’re going to end up making his DNA; we really don’t know.

I was walking him to a pet store and a couple stopped me. The woman reflected, “He looks like a GSP.” It’s dog talk for the German Shorthaired Pointer, which it actually looks like. We get a lot of opinions about his legacy. The cattle dog was another frequent suggestion.

So I decided to send his DNA and settle this matter once and for all. I did more research and selected the wisdom panel. The reviews were pretty good. I sent the money, swabbed the inside of Snickers mouth (harder to do than they say), and mailed the results.

We were excited – and baffled – when they arrived.

As we thought, he is significantly beagle, 51%, followed by shih tzu, at 18%. Shih tzu? We didn’t see that one coming. At all. He looks nothing like a Shih Tzu, although he does have a gentle personality indicative of that breed, and will follow us from room to room as this breed is known to do. So maybe that’s right, and not wrong. Interestingly, Wisdom said both Snickers’ parents were part Shih Tzu!

The other major breed that appeared was Chihuahua, unsurprisingly at 12%.

Snickers also contains 5% Rat Terrier, 3% each for Miniature Poodle and Maltese, 2% each for Basset Hound, Pomeranian and Toy Fox Terrier, and 1% each for American Hairless Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. .

So are we surprised? Yes and no. We joke that he is a Shih Tzu mix.

I felt beagle and chihuahua were obvious. The hairless terrier explains the short fur and its absence. The beagle and basset hound help explain the obsession with tracking and smell and the desire to hunt. Rat burrowers also have a high prey drive, hence swooping down on anything that moves. Toy breeds are affectionate and playful – so that’s where he gets some of that from.

Beagles are also known for their camaraderie and pack mentality. That must be why he wants to be with us all the time. Luckily he doesn’t snap and the only bad things he does are eat toys (Legos, which is weird) or tissues or any paper product, and shred them. Turns out we can thank the beagle in him for that.

All in all, it’s a real mix, and while it was fun to keep guessing about his past, it’s nice to finally get to know the races that make up our special little guy.

Lori Stabile, former writer for The Republican, is a freelance writer based in Rhode Island.

Comments are closed.