What’s In a Charlie?

When my fiancé and I adopted Charlie, the humane society had guessed that he was a German Shepherd and Australian Cattle Dog mix. 

 Here’s a flashback to the day we brought him home! 
This Shepherd/Cattle dog combo seemed likely enough- he had shepherd coloring and was about the size of a cattle dog. As time went on, we wondered if he might also have a little corgi in him, what with his foxy face, fluffy neck, and very fluffy haunches. We both also just really like corgis, so we knew that might be just wishful thinking on our parts. 

At some point, I recalled reading about a company that would analyze your dog’s DNA and tell you what breed (or combination of breeds) they were. I finally got around to googling it at the beginning of February. 

I found out that the company, Mars Veterinary, offers a product called Wisdom Panel that can test canine DNA and match it to a database of over 200 different breeds. 

It’s a bit pricey, but my fiancé and I decided to get it as a sort of Valentine’s Day gift for each other. I ordered it through Amazon and the kit arrived in about 3 days!

The directions were easy to follow: take the two sealed swabs provided and get a sample from the inside of your dog’s cheek. You do have to make sure they have not eaten in the past two hours to avoid food contamination. Charlie was less than thrilled about that part. 

Charlie didn’t exactly mind having the actual samples taken, but my fiancé did have to give him lots of pets to keep him still so I could make sure the get a good swab. 

Then I put the swabs back in the box, stuck a pre printed shipping label on it, activated the kit online, and mailed it off. 
Waiting was the hardest part. I had read that it would take between 2 and 3 weeks after the lab received the sample to process the results. 

To my pleasant surprise, I got an email saying Charlie’s results were ready one week after they were received at the lab. 

Say what?? Obviously we weren’t surprised by the German Shepherd or Australian Cattle dog, but Doberman? Sheltie? Lab?

After thinking about it, though, I realized Charlie has the brown on black “eyebrows” most Dobermans have. 

Shelties are pretty fluffy and also on the petite side, which could be where he gets the extra floof and his smaller and slimmer size than most of the other breeds in his ancestry. 

But I’m still not sure about the lab…Charlie does not like swimming at all, and I’ve seen cats learn to fetch better than he does. 

The exact breakdown of Charlie’s breeding, in case you are interested, is:

*37.5% Australian Cattle Dog

* 12.5% German Shepherd

*12.5% Shetland Sheepdog

*12.5% Labrador Retriever 

*12.5% Doberman Pinscher 

*12.5% Mixed breed- this means that some of Charlie’s ancestry was mixed beyond the 3 generations back the test looks at. The full report does show what groups (i.e., herding, sporting, terrier, etc) the DNA is most similar to. In Charlie’s case, it was the working class breeds. 

Overall, I was really thrilled with the test. It was fun to find out what kind of mutt he is and try to find some characteristics of those breeds in his looks or temperament. 

At the end of the day, though, Charlie could be any combination of breeds and he would still be 100% spoiled and 100% loved.