I’ve lived with this complicated, challenging, hyper-aware, hard-working dog for twelve years.
I found her when I was looking for a border collie mix – something smart and athletic that I could continue to compete in agility with. A BC rescue posted a photo of her on-line. Supposedly her mother was a border collie on a farm in the South. Although Lily didn’t move with the border collie crouch, she was obviously smart. And black and white. And needed a home.
The more that I got to know her, the clearer it became that she didn’t have any herding dog in her. What could be her heritage? Lily is reactive to movement and has a high prey drive. She’s wary of strangers. She’s smart. Very smart. She looks and acts like a giant rat terrier. But that was just a guess. I decided to do the DNA test. It’s not entirely accurate (here is a good article explaining how it works) but I thought it’d be fun to do. Scooter’s test came back spot on, so I had hopes that Lily’s mystery background would be solved. The first glitch was that she’s one of the few dogs that the cheek swab home test doesn’t work on. I took her to my vet for a blood draw.
The results are finally in, and was I surprised! One parent was a cross of a Collie and Chesapeake Bay Retriever. The other was Dalmatian crossed with a Husky. No unidentified mixed breeds, no terrier, no Border Collie. Her purebred dog ancestry goes back to her great-grandparents.
Lily does shed like a Dalmatian (notorious for leaving hair everywhere.) She’s strong-willed and watchful like these breeds. But, really? Who knows?
There was no clear winner of my guess the breeds contest. However, three people did guess Dalmatian. So, Connie M, Lesley S. and JJ, please email me with your snail mail address and I’ll get a book out to you!
Update on the cruciate ligament tear: My excellent and practical vet, Dr. Craig, agreed that surgery wasn’t the right thing for Lily. Instead, she’s allowed to live life on her terms, but now with a limp. Lily is ignoring the discomfort. She’s ably going up and down the stairs and just last week she figured out how to get on and off the bed with some modicum of decorum. She is, on her own, figuring out how to do her work without stressing the right leg. Smart dog. We keep her activity level reduced as best we can (no being sent outside to chase the heron!) as we are trying to keep the other hip from blowing out. So far, so good.