Some of us know our dog’s specific breed and heritage, but for many of us with rescue dogs, it’s not so easy. Shelter staff often have to make educated guesses as to a dog’s breed, and we may find ourselves Googling photos of various breeds to see if any seem to fit our own beloved mutt.
These days, though, you can get an answer to your dog’s mystery mix. That’s thanks to the rise of dog DNA tests, which compare your dog’s DNA against a database of breed-related genetic markers. Many different companies offer the service, and of these, Embark is one of the most well-regarded; their Chief Scientist (and co-founder) is canine researcher and Cornell professor Adam Boyko.
Embark generously offered Rover some free tests to try on three of our most mysterious mixed office dogs. Read on to learn about Buzz, Scout, and Mogley—and get their DNA results!
Meet the Mutts
Buzz is a sweet, energetic little guy who’s made friends throughout the Rover office.
He was two months old when his mom, Lia, got him from a shelter in Pennsylvania, and he recently made the big move from NYC to Seattle. He’s now one, and cheerful every day.
Lia says, “he’s always happy, he’s mischievous, and he loves to play, but he turns into a pumpkin around 2pm every day (his nap time).”
Buzz has a merle coat, short legs, and a soft bushy tail that whips around eagerly when he meets a new friend. The short legs make everyone think he’s got Corgi or dachshund somewhere in there.
Lia’s guess for Buzz’ breed: Australian shepherd/dachshund mix.
Scout is a rescue who traveled all the way from Korea to Seattle as a puppy, thanks to Saving Great Animals. She was found tied up with fishing line, which had grown into her neck. She successfully survived two surgeries, and now, at 1.5 years old, there’s no sign of her injury.
Scout is smart, athletic, territorial, and super-loyal to her family, which includes her moms, her human brothers, two old cats, and her new puppy sister.
Because of her constant herding behavior in the backyard, her family was pretty sure that collie or cattle dog factored into her DNA. The Jindo is the national dog of Korea, and Scout’s curly tail and country of birth also point to Jindo heritage.
Irene’s guess for Scout’s breed: Korean Jindo/border collie mix.
Mogley is well-known around the Rover office for giving big fluffy hugs to all of his friends. He’s got an incredibly soft coat and doe eyes that practically scream “love me!”
Katie rescued Mogley as an adult, and has helped him transition through anxiety and noise reactivity to living a very happy life in Seattle. She’s always wondered about his DNA.
Because of his coat, coloring, spotted tongue, and curly tail, she was pretty sure that Aussie and Chow Chow were involved somewhere in his heritage.
Katie’s guess for Mogley’s breed: Australian shepherd/chow mix.
Find Out Their Results
Lia thought for sure the her dog was an Australian shepherd / dachshund mix, but it turns out that Buzz doesn’t have either in his DNA!
Instead, Buzz is a mighty mix of a wide array of dog breeds. He’s got Staffordshire terrier, golden retriever, and German shepherd, among others. And his largest percentage? Supermutt. That means that many of his ancestors were themselves mixed breed.
Here’s what Embark has to say about this category: “Some dogs descend from other dogs that were themselves mixed breed. These other dogs can give small contributions to the ancestry of your dog, so small that they are no longer recognizable as any one particular breed. We call this portion ‘Supermutt’ since it confers super powers! Just kidding. But we do think supermutts really are super!”
You can see the details of Buzz’ results here.
Jindo didn’t show up in Scout’s DNA results—but she did get 100% East Asian Village Dog, and since Jindo isn’t a registered breed (rather, a “landrace” breed), this doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t have the breed in her genes.
What didn’t show up? Collie, blue heeler, or any of the herding breeds her family thought might be involved.
Over 75% of the world’s dogs are actually considered “village dogs” rather than specific breeds. Read all about them here.
Like his buddy Buzz, Mogley’s biggest percentage is also “Supermutt.” But his mom was right about some of his heritage—Australian shepherd and Chow Chow are both in his background.
Besides the “supermutt” designation, Mogley has a fair amount of German shepherd, border collie, and Labrador retriever in his lineage.
You can see the details of Mogley’s results here.
Are you curious about your own magnificent mutt’s genetics? You could win an Embark DNA kit!
Entry is easy. Simply upload a photo of your dog in the comments section of this thread on Rover’s Facebook page.
We can’t wait to meet your mystery mix.