What Breed of Dog is Your Mutt?
Answer a few (well, more than a few!) questions and maybe you'll find out.
I am the kind of person who loves dogs, loves mutts, and goes to the shelter or to rescue groups to get a dog. The more Heinz 57, the better. And then the speculation begins. It seems like "shepherd mix" describes every dog I've ever been interested in. But what are/were they really?
One route for the mutt-curious is to get a DNA test done. I'm too cheap, so I've never done it. But I encourage you to do the research and pay for the test if you really want a scientific determination. What I'm providing below is based on first, my research in books, and second, your subjective observation of your dog. So the scientific validity of this process can only go so far. On the other hand, this is free and minimally invasive.
- My starting point was the top 50 on the list of the United States' most popular dog breeds on the American Kennel Club's website. I am morally opposed to dog breeding, but I didn't know where else to look. (And by the way, they have a list of purebred dog rescue groups and their contact information, on their website. Yay, AKC!) The AKC's list reflects the number of purebred dogs in the US with AKC registrations. I doubt that purebred registrations exactly correlates with the most common breeds that are reproducing out there on the streets, and then ending up in shelters or at rescue groups. So I included a few extras in my list, breeds that may not be registered with the AKC quite as often as others. All of this was a totally subjective call on my part.
- As you observe your dog, be aware that the descriptions below are intended to reflect how your dog should be, if not how your dog actually is. (Wow, that sounds philosophical.) In other words, if your dog has a docked tail or cropped ears, that's not what I want to know about. I want a description of the ears or tail as they should have been if left alone. If your dog is obese, you need to estimate his or her healthy adult weight. For behavior, answer for the dog's normal behavior as an adult. In summary, garbage in, garbage out.
- Dog breeds have hallmarks, traits or physical characteristics that exemplify the breed. The hallmarks are what I'm trying to list here. There's two problems with hallmarks, though. The first is that different breeds of dogs may have the same hallmarks. Secondly, even purebred dogs may not exhibit the hallmarks of their breed. I am not an expert on any dog breed, so I got my dog breed information from two books: the Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds, 2nd Edition, by D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D., and the Pocket Professional Guide Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by Dominique DeVito.
- And finally, I am not a Google algorithmitician. This questionnaire gives even-stephen point totals for characteristics. Probably, I should weight characteristics, to give give more common breeds' characteristics more points. And maybe I will someday.
- If you enjoy this, feel free to donate to support my questionnaire-writing habit.
Without further ado, answer the following questions about your mutt:
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