Saturday, April 23, 2011

What kind of Dog is That?

For several years, we often were asked by pedestrians we passed by what breed of dog was Shauna. We always said she was part collie and part Siberian. She was large for a female Siberian, and had a longer coat. Also, her snout was longer. On the other hand, her snout was not as pointy as a collie's. Her head also wasn't as flat  as a collie's. She had a higher crown. All things considered, though, we thought her to be a Siberian-collie mix.

Often, cars  would stop, the driver would roll down his window, and ask if he could breed her with his Siberian. (They were disappointed when we told them since we had adopted her from the county Animal Care Center, she had been spayed,)

One day a couple of years ago, I was glancing through a magazine at a veterinary clinic and noticed an ad for dog DNA testing. The company was located in Seattle, and claimed to have the DNA profile of over one hundred breeds of dogs (though not the DNA of a wolf). I thought it was worth one hundred bucks to find out if we were right.

Two months later, we received the results: no collie. She was Siberian/malamute. Surprise! But I can see it in her build. Siberians are normally pretty lean-looking. Bred for sprinting. Malamutes have a broader, more muscular back. Bred to haul heavily-loaded dog sleds. And Shauna's build was more like a malamute's. Her ears were more mobile than a Siberian's, too. They always seem to have their ears fully erect and forward-facing.  Shauna's ears can be in any position. When focused on something, they're up and facing ahead. When relaxed, she turns them out to the side and they're not fully upright. When listening to me when I'm behind her, she swivels them around . When greeting someone, she lays them flat against her head. When feeling stress, they're really flat against her head. As with wolves, ears can be an aid in dog-communication.
One ear up, one down. What does this mean?

1 comment:

  1. What a gorgeous dog she is... never seen one prettier!