As you’d expect, Sirius settled into life on our little urban oasis and he grew. And he grew. And he grew. In fact, at his third vaccination visit a rather perplexed veterinarian, our great friend Dr. Haddock at Brainerd Hills Vet clinic looked at his chart and shook his head. “I really question the Australian shepherd part of Sirius’ linage. I mean, look at those paws! And I haven’t seen many dewclaws that big in all the years I have practiced medicine. Look, he has doubled in size every 3 weeks since we have been seeing him. Look at that head. I think he may be part Great Dane.” Gulp…
I had intentionally chosen this pup because of the Australian shepherd part. I knew how smart they tend to be and they are not huge dogs. We lived for years with a pack of large goldens and had a Labrador before that. All big enough to decimate heart pine flooring in our log cabin home. They were all wonderful dogs but very large. I wanted something a little smaller and maybe easier to hold into the car. And easier on the oak floors of our 1920 home we had restored a year earlier. The vet urged me to put Sirius on large breed puppy food to help ward off any joint problems normally associated with large breeds and their tendency to grow too fast on regular puppy food. Hmmmm, just what kind of linage were we dealing with?
That night we looked long and hard at the rolly poly puppy quickly out growning his harness and bed. The head looked mostly like a lab head but maybe a little longer and perhaps blockier and jowlier. His tail curled up over his back like a relaxed chowchow trait. When he ran Sirius ran with a crab-like slow side step, definitely not the gate of a sprinter. And his front and back legs looked they had been ordered from different bins during production. The front legs were decidedly shorter than the back legs giving him the appearance of a bear cub lumbering toward you, head down and shoulders thrown forward. My husband jot this day calls him Bear sometimes. Hmmm, just what kind of a beast had we adopted?
While scrolling through some articles on the internet I stumbled upon Wisdom Panel’s canine DNA testing information. Many mixed breed dog owners order kits to check for breed specific medical tendencies their dogs might have inherited. I wondered if we might need to check if Sirius possibly inherented degenerative problems that might be caused by size or breed.
A kit was ordered. A quick, painless series of cheek swabs yielded enough genetic material which was signed, sealed and delivered back to Wisdom Panel. Within 2 weeks we received an email with a very informative multi-page packet about our boy.
To make a long complicated ancestry profile short and sweet… it turns out our boy is 38% Great Pyrenees, 25% Labrador retriever and the rest is a conglomeration from the sight hound and guard groups (other large canines such as bloodhounds, Staffordshire, great Danes, retrievers, weimaraner, poodle). If you are interested in having your dog tested, here is a link. http://www.wisdompanel.com/wisdom-panel-4-0/
So, it turns out that the cuddly, squirmy 8-pound bundle of love we brought home at 8 weeks has grown into a beast of some magnitude. At this writing The Beast, as he has affectionately come to be known at our house, tips the scales at almost 100 pounds. And he isn’t finished growing yet according to the vet. Big, lovable galoot.