Doggie DNA

Molly with the letter DMy A-to-Z agenda shows it’s Willy-nilly Wednesday and the letter is D, so I figure everyone who’s previously visited my blog is betting I’m going to post about Dogs.  Wrong!  I’m posting about DNA.  Well… it’s actually about doggie DNA, so I guess you were right after all.  Your prize?  Adorable pictures of dogs!  And that’s not all… if you keep reading until the end, you have a chance to win an actual physical prize!

Each member of my family ‘owns’ a dog that was adopted from a shelter, so we have no idea what breeds make up their mutt-y cuteness (except for Lily – hers is kind of obvious).  With my animal-crazed family, this led to some surprisingly heated discussions as we each defended our dog’s dubious heritage.  “My dog’s a tougher breed than yours!”  “Who cares? Mine’s a smarter breed than yours!”  Yep, that’s how we roll.  We don’t actually care about the breeds, since we love them like crazy no matter what, it’s just a fun way to pick at each other.
In my wanderings around the interwebs, I discovered there are companies that will test your dog’s DNA to figure out the breeds.  So for Christmas two years ago, I decided that would be a fun gift for everyone and would finally put to rest whose dog is best (mine, of course).  I researched several companies, and some of them required a picture of the dog, which seemed like cheating to me (and we didn’t need to pay someone to guess the dogs’ breeds based on looks since that’s exactly what we were doing).  
In the end, Wisdom Panel Canine Genetic Analysis seemed to be the best bet – they had one of the biggest breed databases, didn’t ask for a picture, and broke the results into several categories.  The Significant category meant the dog had at least 50% of that breed, Intermediate meant at least 25%, and Minor meant at least 12.5%.
The presents were a huge success – everyone loved them… everyone except the dogs who hated having their inner lips scraped with the little brush-y things for their DNA samples.  They were not amused. 
We sent off the samples, and since we had to wait several weeks for the results, we made a game out of it.  Each of us wrote down the breeds we thought made up each of the five dogs, with the winner getting the bragging rights of Awesomest Doggie Breed Guesser Ever.  Now when I sat down to write this post, I fully intended to reveal the breeds of all five dogs.  But then I thought it would be more fun to have you play the breed guessing game, too.  
I’ve posted pictures of all five dogs below, and in the comments you can guess the breed(s) for each dog.  I will say that some of the breeds were very surprising, and that no dog had more than three breeds listed.  For the person who guesses the most breeds correctly, I will send him/her a DVD copy of my short film Saying Goodbye when it’s released in a few weeks.  It’s won awards at several film festivals, and you can find out more about it here.  
I’ll reveal the actual breeds and the winners next Wednesday (4/11).  Although you won’t increase your chances of winning by spreading the word, I’d really appreciate you letting others know about the contest. *bats eyelashes in a charming and beseeching manner*
Now here are the adorable Rish family dogs:
1. Bailey belongs to my brother, and she’s nine years old.
2. Chloe belongs to my mom, and she’s seven years old.
3. Freya is my dog, and she’s seven years old.
4. Lily belongs to my dad, and she’s eleven years old.
5. Molly belongs to my sister, and she’s eleven years old.
It’s weird that so many of my pictures with the dogs by themselves involve snow, since it hardly ever snows in South Carolina.  Oh, and Chloe didn’t really eat a book, it was a total frame job.  If you want to see the girls in action to get a better look at them, you can watch my ACBDog video.  Then enter your breed guesses for each dog in the comments.
Have you ever tried one of the doggie DNA kits?  What are your breed guesses for each dog?  How Delightful is Molly with her letter D?


Valued Visitor's picture

What a charming game. I wish I could remember some of the breeds I'm thinking of--or even spell them correctly.
Here are my guesses:
1) Labrador, Corgi
") Pit Bull, Staffordshire Terrier
£) Labrador, Wolf
$) Irish Setter
%) German Sheppard, Corgi.
No slur intended. Please apologise to Freya.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

I always wanted a wolf-hybrid - it's actually what drew me to Freya at the shelter - so no apologies necessary for Freya.  Thanks for playing - it's fun seeing all the guesses!

Kimberlee Turley's picture

Don't know a thing about dogs, but Freya sort of looks like the White German Shepherds my husband keeps telling me he wants to get. (Which would probably make her the smartest.)

My sister used to work in a lab that did DNA testing, and one of her duties was to run tests on the parental DNA kits they sell in the stores.

I thought it would just be a few tests every month, but she says it's hundreds, maybe even thousands per month. (Seriously? Thousands of people every month are buying these expensive kits to find out if a certain guy is a match for the father of their child? Scary.)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Freya definitely is the smartest, and I'm not biased, nuh-uh, not at all. :-)

Wow, that really is scary that so many people are using those kits per month.  Even scarier - I'm sure your sister's lab wasn't the only lab doing it, so multiply those numbers by even more labs.  

K.T. Hanna's picture

They are SO adorable and this is such a fun post!

1)Lab and something...

2)Boxer/Pit Bull/Staffie


4)Golden Retriever/Boxer


This was fun! I look forward to the results. (I'm really not good at guessing games haha)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Your guesses are similar to what we guessed... you'll have to wait until next Wednesday to find out if that matches science.  :-)

Misha's picture

Hahaha I'm not even going to try, but I will say that they all look like wonderful dogs. I actually think that breeds are better, because pure-bred dogs have weaknesses bred into their genes.

My awesome breed is a half labrador, half rottweiler/bloodhound cross. :-)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Yeah, we had purebreds growing up (cocker spaniel, golden retrievers, poodles), and most of them ended up having those breed-specific genetic issues.  But we loved them anyway.  

Your dog sounds like a fun combination of breeds!

Laura Barnes's picture

I love your contest, but I could never guess any of them! Well, not true, I think the 3rd might be a Golden Retriever. Sorry I'm so ignorant on dog breeds. I look forward to learning though.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Even if you were an expert on dog breeds, it would be tough to guess some of the crazy breeds that were revealed by the testing!  :-)

Elizabeth Twist's picture

Fun game, Jocelyn!

My guesses (*squints trying not to look at other guesses*)

1. Baily: Shiba Inu and Labrador Retriever
2. Chloe: English Bull Terrier and Jack Russell (and maybe a scootch of Pit Bull)
3. Freya (those eyes! that schnozzle!): Husky and Lab and German Shepherd
4. Lily: Spaniel, I'm guessing Cavalier King Charles and Golden Retriever
5. Molly (oh my God the look on Molly's face is killing me right now): German Shepherd and Beagle

Looking forward to the answers!

A-Z @ Elizabeth Twist

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Freya's beautiful blue eyes are what drew me to her at the shelter.  And Molly really does give the best looks.  Thanks for playing - it's fun seeing how the guesses match up with what we thought versus reality.

Joanna Rish's picture

I guess it wouldn't be fair for me to play...since I know the answers!! But it is great to see everyone's guesses! I love those dogs:)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

No cheating!  And, yes, I too adore those four-legged cuties more than is probably healthy! 

Rebecca Enzor's picture

We got a DNA test for our pups too! Our 70lb brindled mutt ended up being a Daschund mix, which is why I'm not even going to try to guess any of the above :P

Although I will guess your dog has Husky in it, since it looks like one blue and one brown eye ;)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Yep, we ended up with some similarly bizarre breeds too.  The angle is doing Freya an injustice in that picture - I should have found a better one to post - both her eyes are a beautiful blue.  

Damyanti's picture

All the dogs are adorable, but I love Molly the most.

Am not good with breeds so I'm not guessing!

Look forward to your challenge run…
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Jocelyn Rish's picture

There's something about Molly that pulls people in.  Even though we each have our own dog, we all dote on Molly.  

Joanna Rish's picture

Molly IS the best:-) Her Grammy thinks so too, but don't tell the others!

Perle's picture

Cat person here, but loved the post. Sabrina is from 'save our strays' never thought of the DNA thing. She's jet black with luminous eyes - the perfect familiar for a witch.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

I have a cat too, but the dogs own my heart.  We had a black cat growing up because my mom loved the witchy-ness of it.  

Jeremy Bates's picture

That was a cool gift! The dogs look nice and healthy, that's for sure. As for guessing, I'm not even going there. My erroneous attempt might offend your family and I would hate nothing worse than a pack of dogs at my door barking for an apology.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

The breed testing kit really was a fun gift - I'm not sure I'll ever top it.  All dogs are awesome, so I don't think there are any offensive dog breeds; although there surely were some completely unexpected ones in the results!  

Sheenah Freitas's picture

What a fun game!

1. German Shepherd, Shiba Inu
2. Pitbull, Boxer
3. Husky, German Shepherd
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle and some sort of shepherd...

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thanks for playing!  It's so fun seeing how the guesses line up with what we thought and with the wacky scientific reality.  :-)

Marcie's picture

I love the dog pictures with their letters! Lily looks a lot like our family dog Benni, so I guess she is Irish Setter and Golden Retriever! I am visiting from the A-Z challenge.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

The DNA results say Lily is all Golden Retriever, but I always though it looked like she had Irish Setter in her, too.

michelle's picture

They sure are a FINE bunch of dogs - from the looks of it, definitely classy!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thank you!  I kinda like them. :-)

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