I make no apologies in this post for going back to my roots where I first cut my blogging teeth in what is now affectionately known as ‘The Muttley Blog’. For those of you who are interested in knowing more, please look at www.anirishdog.blogspot.com .For those regular readers who still follow our madcap household, this is the latest installment.
I came in yesterday after some emergency shopping for G’s impending birthday and in an attempt to get away from some minor decorating work that we are having in the house. The sound of drilling came from upstairs, and downstairs the floor was covered in black hair. The carpenter appeared at my Hellooo and accepted a cup of tea. He nodded to the floor – ‘You can see where I had my lunch’ he chortled, ‘And where His Nibs was sitting…’ Just then a little happy black furry face appeared joyously barking at the kitchen door, drowning out any further conversation.
So, we have a dog called Muttley, and right now he is in the first of two seasons of moulting – one just before spring and one rather inconveniently at Christmas. He came to us as a 4 month old puppy from Ireland, brought over by a charity who deals in young strays from any part of Southern Ireland where there is a policy to eliminate unwanted dogs. We hadn’t set out to get an Irish dog in particular, it was more that we liked the look of the dog – and that, as dog and pet owners know, is that.
Over the past year, this black and white mixed breed midsize dog has taken to our family with the same speed that we took to him. He has entertained us with his attempts to speak (yes, he may sound like Chewbacca, but we kinda know where he is coming from, and wine helps), he has taken us on many walks – where we think he thinks he knows where he’s going, we realise that we don’t, and he then sits down with a look as if to say ‘Well, you’ve only gone and got us lost again…’ as he speeds off at pace, us panting behind him, only to see that he is chasing a squirrel…
Our house has never been so muddy or hairy. And our garden is a mass of mangled footballs and shredded dog toys. Our mornings would not be complete without the scit scit scittering of claws pacing up and down on the wooden floor downstairs in readiness for a big Hello when we stagger down for a morning cuppa. And we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we didn’t open the door after a few hours out and get knocked down by an enthusiastic talking bundle of fur.
And one of the things about being a dog owner is of course that it has to be walked. And the benefits far outweigh the negatives of tramping through mud, puddles, ice, snow and rain. Where else would you find an old lady towing a Great Dane on a retractable lead, or a man who had no idea why his dog was so curly until he described his ex wife’s hairdryer that he had been using- and I explained that he was using a diffuser… And where else would you get the barrage of questions and advice that comes with any new ‘baby’ – the main ones being ‘Are you getting him trained?’ ‘Has he been done yet?’ and ‘What breed is he?’ The first two are a relatively straightforward ‘Yes’, but the last is a bit more complicated. Being a rescue dog, we simply did not know what he was – we assumed Border Collie was in the mix as he has a half ruff and white socks and displays a lot of the collie characteristics – rounding up, circling, intelligence and of course the talking. We were told by the charity that he was also probably either a bit Labrador and possibly Lurcher. Other than that we had no idea.
Of course, this led to great speculation amongst my fellow dog walkers – one of whom informed me that he definitely had Japanese fighting dog (Akita) in him and to watch him with the kids. Another one said that if he was from Ireland he most definitely had Lurcher and Staffie in him. And then one woman said ‘Ireland, he’s from Ireland? Well, you know what happens over there? They can be crossed with all things – even wolves…’ I queried as to whether there were any wolves in County Cork, but she brushed it aside with a ‘Well, if it’s not wolves, it’s definitely foxes…’
I was bewailing the fact to a friend of mine, Stevette, and she turned to me in all seriousness and said ‘Well you can always get him tested.’ I looked at her in disbelief, as she reddened a bit, and then admitted that she had had hers done, for nearly the same reasons. He had been bought as a pedigree Labrador, but other dog walkers had kept querying his origins, and she got so fed up that she had had a DNA test done on him. I was intrigued. ‘What was he?’ I asked, leaning forward. She looked at me somewhat gloomily. ‘A Labrador’, she said.
Anyway, this did not stop me getting the address and it was not long before the pack arrived from www.whatbreedismydog.co.uk and with some trepidation I swooshed around the little toothbrush swabs in Muttleys mouth and popped them back in the post.
The results arrived yesterday. The chippie was on a tea break and so he sat as expectant as a contestant on the Jeremy Kyle show as I opened the envelope. On reading it, I started to laugh…
There was indeed Border Collie present. But there was not one iota of Labrador, or Lurcher, or Staffie, or Wolf, or even Fox. There were a number of percentages of other breeds, including Lhasa Apso (15%), Belgian Malinois (14%) Anatolian Shepherd Dog (6%) Finnish Spitz (5%) and English Setter (4%). But aside from Collie, the other main DNA strand that comprises my dog is – wait for it – a Miniature Poodle…
The chippie and I looked at the dog. He looked at us, yawned, and shook vigorously, fur flying everywhere.
One thing to be sure to be sure, our Irish dog is definitely not Irish…