The guy in the dog suit: Part II

The results for Teddy’s DNA are in and it certainly surprised me. Half of his genetic profile is sort of a giveaway, given his telltale tongue. The rest is just the luck of the gene-pool draw.

Digging into Teddy’s heredity is a trivial indulgence for Silva and me, and makes for a little fun on the blog, but it’s absolutely meaningless to Teddy. However, his results underscore the fact that the visual appraisal of a shelter dog’s lineage is a fool’s game. Yet, the lives of many shelter dogs hang on such shelter staff appraisals. In some communities, a visual ID can place a dog into a banned breed category — and cost the animal his life. Where no bans exist, an incorrect ID can prejudice a potential adopter: “My mom was bitten by a poodle and I don’t trust them.”

OK, back to Teddy. He’s all mutt!

The Wisdom Panel at Mars Veterinary identifies Teddy’s three primary genetic contributors as chow (no surprise here), Jindo (surprising, but consistent with general appearance) and Dalmatian. Wow! Never, ever would I have guessed that last one, but it’s really fun to imagine what a polka-dot Teddy would look like.

The rest of Teddy is a mix of random breeds and a catalog of experiences that includes six weeks on the streets of New Orleans as a very young pup, following Hurricane Katrina.

As his rescuer, Don Arnold, one of our most dedicated and skilled search and rescue Katrina volunteers, wrote in a recent email: “You don't need a DNA test for Teddy, my friend. Teddy is a 100 percent Don's Darlin’ Dog, and a very good-looking one at that.” Don saved many dogs and cats from dire circumstances and I’m forever grateful that Teddy was one of them.

So who won the “Guess Teddy’s DNA” contest? While lots of folks got the chow part correct, no one named either his Jindo or Dalmatian forebears, so we tossed into a hat all the names of everyone who got the chow part right. And the winner is:

Michelle Faraji

Thanks for playing along, Michelle. We’ll be emailing you about your prize.

Together, we can Save Them All.