My wife and I often laugh about the deep, "big dog" growl that our sweet bichon frise summons up at playtime.
Maybe he gets it from his ancestry. Thanks to a DNA test, we now know that Mojo, 12 pounds of furry playfulness, has Doberman pinscher somewhere in his background. Also: Staffordshire bull terrier.
Talk about interesting liaisons among Mojo's ancestors.
Also in his heritage: clumber spaniel and Yorkshire terrier.
When an editor asked me if I wanted to have Mojo's DNA tested so I could write about the experience, I was intrigued. My wife and I bought Mo in 2004 from a bichon breeder, though we didn't bother with American Kennel Club registration papers. Now we were curious: What else might a DNA test show?
I took the test kit home that night, and my wife swabbed the inside of Mo's cheek and mailed the swab to the testing lab. Simple. A month later, the results came back.
As it turns out, bichon frise is not a breed the Canine Heritage Breed Test identifies yet, though the company is working on adding it.
In Mojo's test results, the "primary" breed is a blank. Staffordshire bull terrier shows up as a "secondary" breed, and the three other breeds show up under the "in the mix" category.
"If your pet's composition contains non-validated breed(s), the test may identify a breed earlier in your dog's ancestry," explains the canineheritage.com site. "This may cause identification of apparent unlikely breeds for your animal's composition."
Mojo, my boy, you certainly look like a bichon, but we always knew you must have a little Doberman in you.
John Schlander is executive news editor for the Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.