Wednesday, February 11, 2015

THE TRUTH ABOUT ME, by Tristan the dog

Mom decided to get one of those tests done for me that show what dog breeds are lurking in your DNA.  We had always thought I was part chihuahua and part terrier of some sort.  The terrier part of me gave me my cute, whiskery face and my long legs.  The chihuahua part gave me my small size and round little head.  At least that's what we thought, so it seemed like Mom was just wasting her money to pay for having my DNA checked out.

But Mom was in the mood to waste her money anyhow, and I was forced to donate some blood so the test could get done.  The company that does these tests is called Royal Canin®, and they make dog food.  They don't know how to spell canine right, but I guess no one has told them this.  Anyway, the test is called Genetic Health Analysis™.

It took a really long time to get the results of the test, but yesterday we finally went to visit Dr. Vodraska, and she told us all about what the test said.  First of all, it turns out that I do not have any chihuahua in me at all!  Not a single drop!  We were totally shocked to learn this.  What I do have is mainly two breeds.  One of these is RAT TERRIER, and the other is MINIATURE POODLE!  Okay, the terrier part is what we expected, but POODLE???  Give me a break!

A miniature poodle.  Looks just like me, right?
The DNA test shows my ancestry for three generations.  In every generation, from my great-grandparents to my parents, there is 25% miniature poodle, 25% rat terrier, and 50% mixed breed.   Five breeds had enough DNA to be listed separately in the mixed-breed group.  The three that show up the strongest are Irish Terrier, Otterhound, and Jack Russell Terrier.  The other two are Jindo and English Toy Spaniel.

With all these breeds in my background, the nice people at Royal Canin® predicted that I would be between 19 and 33 pounds in size.  Hahahaha!  I only weigh 6 pounds!  But Dr. Vodraska said I was the perfect weight, and she would never want to see me weigh 19 pounds!

I told Mom that if she ever cut my hair to look like one of those silly poodles, I would have to bite her on the neck.  But Mom said my hair was too short and wiry to be groomed that way.  And I guess I have to admit that poodles with regular haircuts don't look nearly as ridiculous as those poodles in dog shows.  My sister Dorrie wrote a blog entry all about poodles.  It seems like the kind of poodles I should have in my background are toy poodles or teacup poodles because they are more my size than miniature poodles.  But that is one of the weird things about this test.  All of my ancestors were bigger than I am.  Mom thinks this might mean that I was the runt of the litter.  Well, if I'm going to be a runt, I'm going to be a feisty one!

I found this picture of a rat terrier that looks
quite a bit like me, especially in the ears and head.
I am much prouder of being descended from rat terriers than from the poodles.  Last February at the Westminster Dog Show, rat terriers got to be shown for the first time.  This was because the AKC had finally recognized that they were a real dog breed.  Dorrie also wrote a blog entry about rat terriers, if you want to find out more about them.

Irish Terrier
So I got my terrier-ness from the rat terrier side of the family, and I must have got something -- but I'm not sure what -- from the poodle side.  Mom and I had been wondering where my cute wiry whiskers came from, and now we think it might have been from the Irish Terrier or the Jack Russell.  I wish I could be as big and tall as an Irish Terrier, but I'm not.  You can read more about the breed in this blog by going here.

Parson Russell Terrier
Jack Russell terriers are actually supposed to be called Parson Russell Terriers.  They are another breed that has only recently been recognized by the AKC.  Jack Russells are very, very energetic.  They are smart and learn fast, so they are often used in movies or TV shows.

Okay, that brings us to the otterhound, which is really and truly a way bigger dog than I am.  Also it doesn't look at bit like me -- although it's hard to tell exactly what it looks like under all that hair. Otterhounds were used in England as pack hounds to trail and kill otters.  People thought the otters were pests because they ate the trout and salmon that people wanted to fish for themselves.  Mom says this is sad because she has watched the otters playing at the zoo, and they are very cute.  Luckily, people don't hunt otters much anymore, so otterhounds are mostly kept as pets.  I'm not sure what genes I inherited from the otterhound.  I don't think I would like to go hunting in deep water, that's for sure!

Lots of people haven't heard of a Jindo, and that's because it is not a very common breed in this country.  Jindo dogs come from the Jindo Island in Korea.  They look quite a bit like the Shiba Inu or the Akita.  They are hunting dogs, and they have been used to hunt everything from rodents to deer.  A Jindo has a strong will and independent mind, just like me!

English Toy Spaniel
The English Toy Spaniel is probably the smallest breed that shows up in my ancestry, but it is still bigger than I am.  This type of dog has a square body, round-shaped head, and a short muzzle.  I have these things, too, but my muzzle isn't as pushed in as the English toy spaniel's is.  This breed is energetic, happy, and playful.  It is also usually well-behaved, which is a gene that Mom says I did not inherit!

Adorable little not-a-chihuahua me!
Another thing this DNA test thing did was to check on genes that are related to health issues.  Like poodles, for example can get stuff such as progressive retinal atrophy, heart disease, diabetes, and epilepsy.  The Jindo breed is prone to hypothyroidism.  But I tested negative for the genes that cause these problems, so Dr. V said I was not a "carrier."  This means I could sire puppies, and I wouldn't give any bad genes to them.  Of course, I can't sire any puppies because, well, you know.

So that's it.  That's the real me, deep down inside, where my DNA lives.  I kind of wish that I had a little bulldog or great dane in me, but I guess you can't have everything!


  1. I want to appreciate author Dorrie so writing such an amazing article, I keep to know many new things of this breeds.

    1. I am glad you read my blog entry and learned some things about various dog breeds. Thanks for taking the time to write such a nice comment!