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Brythen's genetic test results have come back!

First, just in case anyone doesn't know what he looks like (I am aware that is unlikely for anyone who has visited here more than very briefly...)  here is Brythen just after I adopted him in March 2012.  Spot the gangly legs and huge puppy-feet.

And here he is in October 2014, several kilos heavier and noticeably more relaxed (and spotty.  All the white hair on his chest fell out) .
Guesses on the mix of dogs composing a Brythen have been many.  They have usually included greyhound, sometimes saluki but also, particularly as he got chunkier,  staffordshire bull terrier, pointer, or even mastiff.    He's definitely more robustly built than a greyhound, and he has a remarkable Teflon coat, rather stiffer to the touch than a greyhound's, that allows him to run through brush and bramble and come out unscratched.

Of course, all the guesses have been based on the outside of the dog, which is a tiny percentage of the overall animal when you think about it.  Nobody has remarked on his pancreas, or his liver, or how typical his salivary glands are of any breed.   I'm not forgetting that the closest living relative of the elephant looks like this:

Just after Christmas, I twiddled inside his mouth with the special plastic brush thing that the Wisdom Panel genetic testing people sent, and posted it off to the lab to be tested.  Today it came back:

Well, we'd guessed the greyhound!   He looks greyhound, and he has a greyhound's poor tolerance of heat and relatively poor stamina. That there was as much saluki as greyhound was a bit of a surprise, although it does make some sense given that salukis are famed for their independent natures and erratic recall.   Brythen's recall has often been noticeably erratic!

Despite the resemblance in shape, greyhounds are a British breed, related to the herding dogs and later adapted for short-burst hunting and racing -  whereas the saluki is a more specialist and primitive hunting dog from the Middle East and North Africa.   So I'm reasonably confident when they say 'saluki and greyhound' in this report that it probably is possible to identify saluki and greyhound from one another and from other dogs.

What about the other side though?  Dalmatian and whippet and a pair of mutts!  They are less confident about this side (see the asterisks)  and it looks like Brythen does indeed have some ancestors who are Just Dogs, as I had suspected.    Whippet is not unexpected - whippets were originally bred largely by mixing greyhounds with terriers, so I guess that could either be a real whippet great-grandfather, or maybe some lurchery thing that is kind of vaguely terrier and kind of vaguely greyhound.  But Dalmatian!  I had not guessed at that at all.

The Dalmatian seems to be the only dog named that fits the more-chunky profile that suggested he might be a bull breed cross, and his funny big ears could be a bit Dalmatiany.  And he does have that spotty tum.  It just goes to show that very superficial characteristics like colour really influence how you see an animal: if he were black and white, I'm sure lots of people would have guessed at Dalmatian but because he is brindle, I think we tended to go for the dogs that naturally come in brown or brindle in their guesses.   As Dalmatians are relatively unusual dogs and have had a closed stud book for quite a long time, genes indicating Dalmatian should be a bit more distinctive than those indicating, say, whippet or Jack Russell terrier.

But how odd to breed a lurcher from a Dalmatian!  Actually, I'm not sure if that even does make him a lurcher.   Technically, a lurcher is supposed to be a running dog created by crossing a sighthound with a 'working' dog.   I don't think Dalmatians are classed as working dogs, whippets are sighthounds, and great-grand-ma Mutt and great-grand-pa Mongrel aren't classed as anything.

I don't know much about Dalmatians, but I do associate them with being a bit dippy. So that fits!  I shall feel less guilty now about Brythen being unenthusiatic about training.  A dog that is part-Saluki, and part-Dalmatian seems like a good candidate to end up a bit of a wazzock, frankly.

There was another page that attempted to narrow down the mixed breed side of things :

Silky terrier!  Not as such, I suspect.  The silky terrier is an Australian breed, which seems to have been bred from whatever small terrier-type dogs the British took with with them to Australia, with a good helping of what is now the Yorkshire terrier.   So I'm guessing that at least one of the mystery great-grandparents was some sort of vaguely terrier-ish dog that nobody had ever stuck a breed label onto,  but which was descended from dogs related to the ancestors of the dogs that would eventually be bred into the Silky terrier.

I can believe there might be a little German Shepherd in there (not in the brain though.  Maybe in the stomach, he has a delicate tum!) , and perhaps some sort of British herding dog, maybe even a bearded one.  I believe the genes for longer coats tends to be recessive.  But more likely again, these are resemblences that come from being a British dog with a largely European ancestry, rather than actual relations that are pedigreed GSDs or Beardies.

i think the Lhasa and Shiba are probably false matches, given that these are exotic oriental breeds and the degree of confidence is very low too.

Well, that was all very entertaining, and I'm generally pleased with the results.

Oh!  I forgot to mention that Pp had a dream about the result of this test.  In his dream he learned that Brythen was 56% 'Fast' (about right, given that he is half saluki x greyhound!) and just 6% 'Good'.   I am blaming the Dalmatian for that.  :-D



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
29th Jan, 2015 21:04 (UTC)
This is so interesting.

I miss my saluki cross.

We had an adoptive lurcher Who had this done. I was convinced he had Australian cattle dog in him but not so I am told.
30th Jan, 2015 09:24 (UTC)
Saluki crosses... well, they definitely make life interesting!

I think with all the Australian breeds, they tend to have been developed from whatever European, primarily British dogs were being used as working dogs in the nineteenth century and went there with the sheep and cattle - which would be before stud books closed, quarantine was introduced etc.

So, a dog that looked vaguely aussie cattle dog might test as that, but I think might also show up as any of the collie or sheltie breeds to which they are closely related - similar to the Silkie terrier in Brythen. I'd bet that Silkie is some shared ancestor, maybe a randy little nineteenth century terrier that sired a few litters before setting off to the New World!
30th Jan, 2015 13:07 (UTC)
Well yes that's true.

I love a saluki and mine was wonderful. She was a collie cross we think and she was just wonderful.

Edited at 2015-01-30 13:18 (UTC)
29th Jan, 2015 21:11 (UTC)
I had no idea they could tell so much.
30th Jan, 2015 09:30 (UTC)
I'm not sure how accurate it is. I think given the history and other documented research into dog genetics, stuff like 'is it a saluki or a greyhound' ought to be right, and clearly since they had no idea what size or shape Brythen is, the accuracy is a lot better than a guess.

But I suspect that when it comes to relatively recent composite breeds like the whippet or sheltie, it's indicating a family likeness rather than a direct connection.

29th Jan, 2015 22:59 (UTC)
Dalmatians were originally bred as carriage dogs. For their looks, not their brains. I'm not sure if a carriage dog counts as working dog. So maybe a lurcher on that side after all?
30th Jan, 2015 09:46 (UTC)
They were, but I think they kind of gave that up not much later than the bulldog gave up bull baiting... I am not sure I can really argue for them as a working dog nowadays!

I think the lurcher breeders tend to cross with herding dogs (hoping for improved trainability) or terriers (hoping for enhanced hunting instinct) but I think there is very little science in it, so they may well end up with a dog that is as fast as a terrier and as trainable as a saluki! :-D
29th Jan, 2015 23:45 (UTC)
Oh, interesting. Nice hyrax, too.
30th Jan, 2015 09:49 (UTC)
I fear he is Wikipedia's hyrax rather than mine, but they are a fascinating species. They look so much as if they really should be rodents!
30th Jan, 2015 03:25 (UTC)
This is really interesting! I didn't know they could actually determine all of that!
30th Jan, 2015 09:53 (UTC)
I'm not certain about the accuracy down to individual breed level, but I think the greyhound/Saluki side of the report suggests the science must be real to some extent. I'm glad I had it done!
30th Jan, 2015 05:15 (UTC)
30th Jan, 2015 09:53 (UTC)
I thought so. I would never have guessed the dalmatian, despite the spotty tum!
30th Jan, 2015 08:44 (UTC)
Interesting! Perhaps because I read this just before bed last night, I also had a dream about it. In my case, the genetic information appeared in the form of a RPG character sheet, describing the mysterious dog that rustic natives had been warning us about. I can't remember the creature's name, but it was some hybrid name such as "The Grey Dalmuki," or some such. You had to roll a d20 to decide if it was chaotic good, otherwise it attacked you. It was classed as "swift," meaning that it always won initiative rolls and got two attacks in on you before you could defend yourself. Our party decided it was a bit scary, and went the other way. :-)
30th Jan, 2015 09:56 (UTC)
I'm assuming this was a party that didn't include Bethran, since all members wisely agreed to do the sensible thing and avoid the monster...

Chaotic is DEFINITELY Brythen, but I would argue he is more than 6% good! Pp is clearly still nursing a grudge from the days when Big Puppy Brythen would get out all Pp's plastic monster figures from their box and play strange chaotic games all on his own in the games room with them.
30th Jan, 2015 11:32 (UTC)
I also assume it was a party without a GM who had spent hours lovingly painting a Brythen miniature, otherwise our attempts to avoid him would have been in vain, and we'd have stumbled over him 3 days later on a different continent.

I can't remember clearly, but I think the Brythen Monster was chaotic good when you rolled a 1, in which case he tried so very hard to help you, but it sometimes went very wrong. All other rolls made him chaotic neutral, but he would attack you due to being confused. I don't think he was ever evil, but his effect was not always good. :-D
30th Jan, 2015 12:28 (UTC)
That's really fascinating!

I wish this stuff had been around when my childhood dog Max was still with us - we mostly settled on him being part collie and part spaniel and part who knows what but he was a very handsome chap who people always assumed was a pedigree something.
31st Jan, 2015 10:27 (UTC)
It's amazing how fast things are moving in genetics.

Max sounds delightful, I do like a nice crossbreed.
31st Jan, 2015 13:52 (UTC)
It is! I went to an afternoon symposium at work the other week and sat through a bunch of talks on cutting edge life sciences, thinking none of this was discovered when I was an undergrad and last studied genetics.

One of these days I'll actually get around to scanning a photo of him and posting it - he was a very handsome dog indeed :)
30th Jan, 2015 14:27 (UTC)
Dalmation!!! Nope. I would never have guessed that...

Though that may be where he gets the strength to pull you over - I've been hit by a running Dalmation in the past and they appear to be made of solid india rubber.
31st Jan, 2015 10:39 (UTC)
I'd almost forgotten the pulling me over thing! I should remember these things to give myself a sense of achievement...

Dalmatians seem to be quite ridiculously boingy and solid dogs, or at least the ones I meet are.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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