Guess the Breed: Moose

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Seven years ago we adopted a three month old puppy, Moose, from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. No matter his breeding, we couldn’t wait to bring home this energetic, tri-color pooch with over-sized paws. And last week we finally learned his true DNA make-up… Think you can take a guess?

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We utilized the Canine Heritage Breed Test to determine our results. To utilize this test, the dog must have been adopted from “within the Continental US, Alaska, Hawaii or Canada,” according to Robin Ray, a company representative. Additionally, we had to check the identifiable breed list on our website, as the test can only target the DNA of specific canine breeds.

Over the years we’ve heard lots of guesses as to Moose’s possible breeds. From dog park friends to family members to our various veterinarians, people have said everything from English pointer to Doberman Pinscher.

When entering the doggie DNA identification process, Canine Heritage Breed Test advises that you “throw out any preconceived ideas that you have about what the dog’s breed make-up is… the reality of the dog is that of any species in the world, the dog has the greatest variety – and also has the greatest ability to mutate because of their short life span. We have been basing what we think our mixed breeds are by what they “look like” because up to this point we have had no other means to guess.  What we find in testing the DNA is that what you see is not necessarily what you have.”

The results are returned in a format as follows:

Primary: The dog’s DNA contains a majority (50% or greater) of a specific breed. Most mixed breed canines do not receive a breed in this category unless they have a purebred parent.

Secondary: Breed(s) that have a strong influence on your dog, although each listed breed makes up less than the majority of the animal’s DNA.

In the Mix: These identified breeds appear in a low – but measureable – amount in your dog’s DNA. The breeds listed in this category have the least amount of influence on your pet.

So while we administered Moose’s test by a simple, painless cheek swab, my husband and I made our own predictions about the results, based on both his personality and appearance…

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Moose’s speed, athletic structure, thin build and signature black and tan coloring always led us to believe he was mostly Doberman Pincher – but his first haircut revealed a thick coating of grey underneath all that dark, coarse coat, giving us the impression of a German Shepherd. Moose is also extremely intelligent and desires to please. We frequently take him hiking and while off-leash Moose trots by our side and responds to our commands. Moose has always been a high energy dog, and we’ve never seen a dog outrun him – he is playful and loves to carry around sticks, play catch-and-retrieve, and run around with other dogs, which makes us wonder if some Labrador retriever in his blood. And while Moose’s watchdog capabilities are stellar and he sports an intimidating set of teeth, we’ve never once witnessed him initiate aggression or dominance towards other canines or human beings. Moose is a lovable, friendly, intelligent, athletic dog.

Here are some photographs of Moose – with his hair long and shaved – to help you make your DNA guesses, and scroll down for the results!

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Primary: German Shepherd. One of Moose’s parents was a full-bred German Shepherd, and it’s possible he has over 50% of this specific breed in his DNA. According to Canine Heritage, it’s out of the ordinary for adopted dogs to have a purebred parent and most results are void of a ‘primary’ breed.

Secondary: Rottweiler. This breed has a significant presence in his DNA, but is less than 50% of his make-up and contributes to his personality and appearance in a minor way. We were shocked to find out that he is part Rottweiler and has no Doberman Pincher in his DNA make-up!

In the Mix: Labrador retriever. This breed was identified in Moose’s DNA, but in a very small amount.

How’d you do? Try your canine identification skills with another pooch, Maggie, and stay tuned for another fun “Guess the Breed” blog post!

Want to get your adopted pooch DNA-tested? Despite the fun in knowing the true breed make-up of your pup, it can help identify potential health problems before they arise. You can order your own Canine Heritage Breed Test or try another DNA test for the results!