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What Breed Am I? - Part 1

Posted 2/19/2021

Ozzie (Not Toby)Ozzie (Not Toby)I admit that I was skeptical about DNA breed testing for dogs the first time that I paid money to have it done. I adopted a dog in 2009 from Calgary, Alberta, but he was originally rescued in Georgia, USA. Toby was 30 lbs. full grown, brindle and white, wire-haired, brachycephalic (short-nosed) with an underbite, and barrel-chested. He was stubborn, dog reactive, and had a high prey drive. The rescue called him a Boxer/Border Terrier cross. I was not convinced.

He looked like he was part Boston Terrier to me. I assumed he was crossed with a Schnauzer or some breed of wire-haired terrier. When I sent his saliva sample to DNA My Dog, I did not send a picture nor answer when they asked what breed I thought he was. I was testing the system. They had no idea if the sample was from a Great Dane or a Chihuahua. I was pleasantly surprised when they identified that he was indeed part Boston Terrier, but I laughed when the results showed that he was also part Bichon Frise. How could a little fluffy white dog be part of my wire-haired firecracker?




I did some research and learned that curly-coated dogs, like Poodles or Bichons, can produce wire-haired puppies when bred to smooth haired dogs, like Whippets or Boston Terriers. Bichons are also known to have very proud and confident personalities. Online searching for Boston Terrier/Bichon Frise crosses showed pictures that looked a good deal like Toby.  I had to admit that the DNA was not lying, and Toby was actually a Boston Terrier and Bichon Frise mix. DNA My Dog does not give specific percentages of each breed. Toby was what they call Level 2 for each breed, meaning that he was 34%-74% of each. To make things simple, I have always said he was half of each.


Toby's Breed AnalysisToby's Breed Analysis


I had known that I would be having Ozzie’s DNA tested before I even adopted him. He is such a unique looking little guy, and I wanted to know if I would be seeing that terrier personality in him. I was curious to know his breed make-up. I also wanted to have genetic health testing done to see if there were any conditions that Ozzie could potentially be at risk for. I had lost Toby at the age of twelve years due to a serious, undiagnosed health condition and wanted some peace of mind with Ozzie.



I decided to order my DNA test kit from Embark for a couple of reasons. First, Ozzie was from the Caribbean and I expected that there could be breeds involved that I had never heard of. Embark tests for over 350 breeds and can identify breeds even if they only make of 5% of your dog. (DNA My Dog tests for less than 100 breeds.) And second, Embark tests for 190 genetic problems. (DNA My Dog does not do health testing.) The process was quick and simple. I ordered the test kit from Amazon since this ended up being the least expensive way to order from Canada. My order was placed on Jan 27, the kit arrived the next day, and I dropped off Ozzie’s saliva sample at the post office on Jan 29. Embark received the sample on Feb 8, and I was emailed the results on Feb 18, yesterday.

 Ozzie's Health AnalysisOzzie's Health Analysis


I am happy to report that Ozzie does not have any genetic conditions that I need to be concerned with. He did inherit two copies of a variant in the GPT gene which means he is likely to have a lower-than-average baseline ALT activity. It is not a health condition; it only means that his bloodwork might read normal ALT levels even if he has slight liver damage. This is just something I need to let his vet know if we ever do bloodwork. So, I am super relieved to get these results.



I am not going to reveal Ozzie’s breed results in this post. Instead, I would like to tell you more about him and let you guess. Next Friday, Feb 26, I will announce his breeding in What Breed Am I? – Part 2. I will also tell you what my guess was and how close I came. Keep in mind that Ozzie was found in a rural part of the Dominican Republic. He was mostly feral, scavenging for the first seven months of his life until he was caught and taken to DCDR (Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic animal rescue) . He was found with three dogs assumed to be his full brothers. One brother was kept by a local farmer, and I have contact with the other two adoptive families.


Ozzie Doug ShiloOzzie Doug Shilo


Ozzie has a wire-haired coat. He is black with tan points and his coat has a fading or graying look to it. One brother, Doug, is also black with tan points, while the other, Shilo, is tri colored. All three dogs are sickle-tailed and floppy-eared. Ozzie has a narrow chest, long legs and medium to long muzzle. He is extremely timid, as are his brothers. I am guessing that much of this is nurture rather than nature, but it is hard to be certain. He has limited to no prey drive, not much heart; is gentle, playful, and loves to be outside.


Ozzie Doug ShiloOzzie Doug Shilo


I am convinced that Embark is 100% correct in their DNA results. Next Friday, I will talk about how accurate Ozzie’s looks and personality were identified through his breed analysis and genetic traits in What Breed Am I - Part 2. Until then, I am curious to hear your guesses on what Ozzie’s breeding is.


Good luck!




Follow Ozzie on Instagram: ozziecoconut

Follow Doug on Instagram: toughasdoug



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