Does it really matter what breed my dog is? Isn’t every dog, cat, pet just love? Isn’t that all that really matters? Isn’t that what you tell us? Not to label, that love is all that matters?
Does it really matter what I was? She always said it didn't. I was advertised as a Collie-Poo and that's what she came to accept. If it was any different than that, she said it didn't matter. She loved me no matter what I was. She loved me.
They said my mother was a Bearded Collie. They said my father was a Standard Poodle. Some people would argue with her. "No," they'd say, "I can tell he has Afghan Hound in him from the curl in his tail... the length of his hair."
"It doesn't matter," she would reply, "Whatever he is, I love him."
But it turns out that it did matter. Genetic inheritance cannot be denied in humans or in pets. One day she took me to the vet when I was about five years old. I had a small tumor growing on my eyelid that was bothering me. They scheduled surgery with general anesthesia to remove it.
"Come back for him at 1 p.m," they said.
At noon they called. "We've had a delay. Come back for him at 5 p.m."
Eagerly she went to pick me up at 5. They had to tell her what happened.
"He must have sighthound in him," they said. "He is definitely an Afghan Hound."
Sighthounds are a certain group of dogs who have keen eyesight because of the way their eyes and noses are formed. In a puppy, the sense of smell develops first, but in a sighthound pup, the sense of sight comes first. The nose is long and thin and allows for a greater peripheral vision for hunting and targeting. This is one of the things that makes sighthounds unique. They also have lean forms and can run faster and longer than most other breeds.
Sighthounds metabolize medication differently than other breeds. This is in part due to a lower percentage of body fat. Sighthounds also have a unique liver function and cannot process drug substances as quickly as other breeds. It takes them longer to recover and it is part of good veterinary care to manage this.
I had a very bad reaction to the level of drugs they gave me. What started out as a routine surgery turned into an emergency. They almost lost me! But they didn't. They saved me and they documented in my permanent record that I am Afghan Hound; sighthound.
For under $100 you can order a Pet DNA testing kit. It may not matter to you what your dog is or how it came to be bred genetically through the years. As more and more people are adopting pets with unknown histories, it is not a bad idea to check it out. The more you know about breed-specific issues, the more empowered you are, the more you will be ready to handle them if and when they arise.