|Darcy at 4 months|
But things don't always turn out as you expect. Over the past months, he has grown to be a nice, medium-sized dog--much smaller than full-blood Newfies. And he's no couch potato. Yes--he's still young, but he loves to play, and he especially loves to play with other dogs.
|Darcy at one year|
So we were satisfied with that. Well, almost. Occasionally people would ask if he was a Labrador Retriever, or a Border Collie, or any of a number of other breeds. Answering with "we think he's partly . . ." seemed unsatisfactory--to them, and to us. Then we heard about DNA testing for mixed-breed dogs.
We joked about it at first. What kind of dog owners would spend good money to check their dog's DNA? Ridiculous!
It turns out, we're that kind of dog owners. In fact, my husband and I each purchased the DNA kit separately to surprise the other. (We returned one. We're not quite that crazy.)
We swabbed Darcy's cheeks and sent the test kit in, betting that our suspicions would be confirmed: he's a Flat-Coated Retriever, and not a Newfoundland.
The company that does doggie DNA (not to be confused with those that clone dogs--they're really crazy!) has the genetic profile of 185 breeds to which to compare each sample. They tell us it can take up to six weeks, but we started haunting the website after only two weeks to track their progress in identifying what went into making our wonderful Darcy.
"Sample being processed," they told us on the website. The closer we got to an answer, the more impatient we became. Finally we got the results. It turns out there's no Flat-Coated Retriever in his genes, but he's partly . . .
Each of his parents was one-half Golden Retriever. That makes Darcy one-half Golden, too. Okay, the contours of his coat resemble a Golden, but really--who'd have guessed our little black dog was half Golden Retriever?
His other half? Well, let's just say those ancestors got around. The lab identified several other breeds, but none of them made up a very large percentage of his DNA.
They were mostly dogs that are smaller than Goldens, including miniature poodle (he's a Golden Doodle?), Shetland Sheepdog, and Small Munsterlander. That last one was new to me. Turns out they're a pointing and retrieving dog. Darcy has been known to point from time to time, so perhaps that's where he gets it. And he has a smattering of Japanese Spitz. That explains the white in his tail.
So, our Darcy--small, dark and handsome as he is--is also our Golden boy. Does it change anything? Not a bit. But it's kind of nice to know.
Oh, did I mention? He's 3.3% Newfoundland!