My two dogs almost always accompany me to the barn, but it’s my cute-in-a-weird-way Corgi/Dachshund mix Buttons that gets almost all of the attention. It’s easy to see why- Buttons is small but sturdy, friendly, and not slobbery. My other dog, Lurky, is also relatively small, not slobbery, and very friendly. But he has a long coat that often looks disheveled after spending time outside and has an unnerving habit of staring and panting at a person long after they’ve stopped petting him. He also looks vaguely worried all the time.
Johnny and I got Lurky in 2011 from my first boss at the therapeutic riding center. She was moving out of the state to care for her elderly mother and couldn’t take her dog with her. She hadn’t had the dog very long. He’d been dumped at the center a few months before she elected to move. She took him in, named him Lucky, and took him to the local vet for appropriate care; the vet estimated he was between 6 and 8 years old. We agreed to take him from her because we thought that Buttons, an exuberant puppy at the time, could use the steadying influence of a quiet older dog.
Lucky eventually evolved into Lurky (a much more suitable name, as he lurks around almost all the time) and he’s been an indispensable part of our family for the last eight years. He’s a great dog. Lurky is patient and kind to other animals, whether it’s puppies chewing on his ears, kittens swatting his tail, or horses sniffing his fur. He rarely barks, reliably comes when called, and never jumps on the furniture or touches human food that’s within his reach. We didn’t train him to behave this way; he came this way.
Lurky’s clearly a Heinz-57 kind of dog. The vet officially has him down as a red heeler mix, but we’ve always wondered what else is in there. He has some heeler-like characteristics, but many of his physical and personality traits aren’t associated with the breed.
Some of Lurky’s defining characteristics are:
- Long, soft fur
- Calm temperament
- Low energy level
- Average intelligence
- Enjoys company of other dogs
- Low shedding
- About 22″ tall
- Weighs about 35 pounds
- Not territorial
- Very rarely barks, but makes lots of weird noises (like clucking and whining)
Some of these could be age-related (he’s somewhere between 14 and 16 now if the vet’s original estimate was correct!), but even as a younger dog he wasn’t very energetic or excitable.
When Amazon had sale on dog DNA tests over the holidays, we bought one, collected saliva samples, and eagerly awaited Lurky’s results. What’s your guess about Lurky’s breed mix?
I wasn’t super surprised by the results:
- 25% Australian Cattle Dog (red heeler)
- 12.5% Chow Chow
- 12.5% Golden Retriever
- 50% from breed groups terrier, sporting, or herding
I can definitely see the Golden Retriever in his gentle temperament and long, luxurious coat, and I’m sure his size and color are influenced by his Australian Cattle Dog family members. Of course, his breeding isn’t really that important- what’s important is that he is A Very Good Boy.
Did you guess Lurky’s ancestry correctly? Have you ever done a DNA test on your dog? Yourself?