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Adventures in dog-related science

December 26, 2008 |  2:19 pm

What is Django?

Ever since we adopted little Django, the adorable pound refugee above, a million thoughts have gnawed at us: How could his previous owners have given him up?  Did he live in a home with other animals?  What did he look like as a puppy?  And, for God's sake, where does he get his near-pathological hatred of squirrels?

Of course, we'll never have answers to most of these questions, but there is one aspect of his background that modern science might be able to solve for us.  We told you recently that we were considering having a mixed-breed DNA analysis done on Django, although we weren't certain we'd go through with it.  Is it worth the effort?  Will the answers about his heritage, whatever they may be, really end up mattering?

We doubt it -- but we can't help being curious.  So we finally took the plunge into the unknown, science-nerdy world of doggie DNA testing and sent a blood sample (tiny and drawn by his vet) off to Mars Veterinary (home of the Wisdom Breed Panel).

The Wisdom panel tests for unique genetic "markers" from 157 breeds and returns an analysis report with the breeds detected.  Mars' gallery of already-tested mutts includes some real head-scratchers (you're telling me this dog contains miniature poodle and this one is part Border Collie?), so we're expecting the unexpected (although we know there's a terrier of some kind in the mix, we suspect some Yorkie, and maybe -- just maybe -- Dachshund?).

Stay tuned.  Regardless of what we find out, Django will always be, in our heart of hearts, an all-American mongrel, full of hybrid vigor (and who knows, maybe some Great Dane).

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Mr. Black

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