Best Friends Blog

The guy in the dog suit: Part II

Teddy the dogThe 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.

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Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society

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  • Randi Civitillo Robinson

    This is Sage my Plott Hound-Basset Hound-WEIMARANER mix! The fourth grandparent was a mix of Belgian Shepherd, Miniature Dachshund, Whippet, Harrier, etc. As my husband said, she is a WV brown dog.

  • Virginia Abreu de Paula

    I didn’t know we could make DNA test for dogs. Good to know. But I agree with Don about it. Teddy is a 100 percent Don’s Darlin’ Dog,

  • I am a Vet Tech, and I’ve never heard of a Jindo. What is their lineage?

    • Melissa_BestFriends

      Hi Birdmama16 – it looks like Jindos originated in Korea:

      Thanks for following along with the Teddy fun!

      Melissa Miller
      Social Media Community Manager

  • Chris Boortz

    This is my dog Wylie, proudly showing off his artistic contributions to a poster I had just received in the mail. I did the Wisdom panel test on him, and he came back mostly mixed. But the two breeds that they were able to identify were Shiba Inu (I can see that) and…wait for it…Yorkie!

    • t

      Chris, Yorkie just means your dog has some kind of terrier in him. Companies that do the DNA testing do not carry a 100% complete database of all breeds. example; Jack Russell and Parson Russell are similar dogs. If the database contains the Jack Russell dna but not the Parson, the results will show Jack Russell due to the similarity. Now I don’t know what terrier breed Mr. Wylie might have…… would be interesting to run the test with a different company to see what results they come up with. Thanks,

  • vicktory devotee

    It reminds me of the chart I saw last time I was volunteering at the sanctuary with all the pictures of dogs that you would swear were at least some part lab and the incredible ancestries they had — often with nothing resembling lab in their background. At any rate, Teddy’s adorable.

  • we ran a wisdom panel on my parents dog. 12 inches tall, 18 inches long, 22 pounds of reddish brown dog with pointy ears. It came back MOSTLY mixed breed but the 3 predominant breeds were St Bernard, Lab and Chow. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I can see why people would do it, but for us it was all for fun. Teddy is a handsome guy no matter what his background.

  • Sharon Padgett

    Although I never would have guessed I can see the Dalmatian lending itself to Teddy’s white coat seeing as the Chow and Jindo are not white.
    I have a brother/sister pair at home that don’t look at all alike. Out of curiosity I would love to get them DNA tested.