There are some things you just shouldn't do, even if you are able. I love big, hearty dogs. Most of my adult life has been occupied with Labrador retrievers. A solid 80 pound hunting dog with a loyal heart and predictable disposition. My dream dog was a Great Dane, which we added to our family four years ago. Gentle giants with a big heart, our Dane is everything you would think if you know the breed.
Of course my search for our new puppy began during Shelter Week and my social media feeds were filled with dogs needing good homes. Heeding the call, I decided our new addition would be a good old fashioned mutt and off we went.
We searched on line and made the rounds of local shelters for a few weeks. Then my son fell in love with a blue-eyed pup that was one of a litter of eight. I looked at the tag on her cage and it indicated her litter was full of Lab, Shepherd and Husky mix puppies. I peered at her siblings and it seemed to make sense. One was very fluffy with steel blue eyes and the rest all seemed to have some of the traits of the breeds mentioned. Surely, the shelter staff would know, right?
We brought her home to toys and treats and training galore. Almost right away we noted some behaviors that the breeds mentioned would not explain. She was extremely affectionate which fit perfectly and became very attached to her family. But she would stand on her hind legs and "box" with us and liked to do things like attempt to swallow whole squirrels. Immediately the speculation began. My children were looking up the behaviors of various breeds and friends began making helpful suggestions.
Boxer was a sure bet, largely because of her coloring and maniacal tail wagging. Some kind of herding dog was also suggested as she was fond of nipping at the heels of both the Great Dane and various family members. My daughter trolled me the best suggesting she was part chihuahua, knowing my aversion to the neighbor's dogs of the same breed.
It became a regular topic of conversation in the house and then my husband found it. Wisdom Panel, the company that sends you a kit to swab your dog's mouth and magically returns their genetic makeup using DNA testing. I truly thought he was kidding, until I saw the kit on the table. It sat for several days before I took note that the packaging was in the garbage.
After a few weeks, I asked whether we had received the results. My husband said yes, but that I did not want to see them. Well of course at that point seeing them became a must. He sighed and handed me his phone. I scanned the report quickly and saw Labrador and German Shepard in the pie chart. See, I thought to myself. That shelter staff knows their stuff.
I kept scanning. Staffordshire Terrier. Okay, not a Husky but still a strong, smart breed. Chow-Chow? I guess that explained her sibling's fluffy coat. Then I saw it. There it was. Chihuahua. A tiny, noisy and aggressive little dog. And my dog had it. A lot of it.
How my daughter laughed, and laughed and laughed some more. I looked more closely. Not only was she part chihuahua, it was a big part. In fact, one of her parents was a Staffordshire Terrier/Chihuahua mix. Her other parent it seems was the bigger mutt. I looked at my pup and just stared. The mom of the monster 200 pound Great Dane was now the master of a Chihuahua mix.
That was two weeks ago. I've had time to reflect and my first thought is this. Doggie DNA tests should be illegal. You either love your dog or you don't. Second, I feel kinda jipped because if she's part Chow-Chow, she could have at least had the purple tongue. That's cool.
Most important, I simply love this little girl to death. She greets me every morning like she hasn't seen me in a month and is my constant sidekick as I work from my home office. She makes me laugh and we have a blast at the dog park where she herds the other dogs with abandon. We will never agree about swallowing squirrels whole, but we have come to an understanding.
Finally, this girl has the best Chihuahua genes. Think about it. That little dog took on a Staffordshire Terrier and made puppies. Either way, that was one badass little dog.