I am seriously impressed! You guys really know your breeds!
But… no one got all three of Lucas’ breeds! In fact, not one single person out of 60 got the third breed right, though several of you got two of the three correct. But we’ll get to that in a minute! (As an aside: 28 different breeds were guessed! 28!! for one dog!! This just illustrates the challenges of breed ID in the sheltering system, for pit bull type dogs, etc…. but that’s another convo for another day.)
So, I’ll get to the winners of the Guess Lucas’ Breeds contest in just a minute.
I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, from Mars Vet. It was the most interesting conversation I could have imagined. She walked me through his results chromosome-by-chromosome. Honestly, I was thrilled to learn so much about Lucas’ genetic ancestry. So, here goes!
Lucas is, predominately, German shepherd dog. I don’t think anyone is surprised by that one because over 80% of you guessed that correctly! He is mostly GSD, going all the way back to his grandparents. He strongly resembles a GSD, with some differences, which I’ll talk about in more detail.
Next up, Lucas comes from a parent who was a mix between two different breeds: boxer and Saint Bernard! A whopping 10% of you guessed boxer (if you guessed boxer, can you pretty please share in the comments why?! John and I were shocked by the boxer part!) And not one single person guessed Saint Bernard.
So, there you have it! Lucas is a German shepherd x boxer x Saint Bernard.
Who would’ve guessed?!
Some interesting things I learned about his genetic makeup:
- His ears have the “airplane effect” because he has a base of cartilage that comes from his boxer ancestry, but size from the other two.
- Yellow is a recessive gene in dog coats – it takes two copies of the gene to create a yellow dog – but all three of his breeds have a yellow gene, so it was sort of predestined!
- Black is a dominant trait, though, and in Lucas it’s expressed in his “mask.”
As far as behavior goes, Dr. Hughes made a really interesting point: Breeding focused on tweaking aspects of the prey drive. She said, “We have been very specific in our breeding process such that we’ve made a certain part of that process predominant by increasing the frequency or intensity of that behavior for a certain breed.” So, think of a terrier chasing down rats, a border collie herding sheep, and so on. When you mix those up, the result is a mix-and-match of behaviors that is much closer to the “natural” state of a dog. In other words, as she put it, they become a jack of all trades, master of none. Lucas has a good combo of his ancestors’ traits, but he doesn’t excel at any.
Okay, so why DNA test to begin with? Obviously, satisfying your curiosity is the biggest and, in my opinion, most compelling reason. Another reason, though, is to be aware of genetic health concerns. For instance, boxers are prone to a heart disease that’s even now named after them, Boxer cardiomyopethy. Vets may check out the heart of a boxer pretty closely, but I doubt any vet would’ve checked Lucas for that because how on earth would they have known he had boxer ancestry?
Definitely something to think about…
Now for the winners!
Since six out of the 10 people who guessed boxer also guessed German shepherd, we were left with a tie! As I said in the rules, in the case of a tie, the winners would be the first people who guessed correctly. That means our winners are:
- Couches for Breakfast
- Lynn Hubbard
Congratulations! You’ll be receiving an email from me with the details on claiming your prize today.