My second year of veterinary practice, I had a very nice client who came in with his recently adopted brown, medium-sized Heinz 57 dog.

There are many names for my favorite "breed," none of which I find offensive, though I am careful to call my patients by the breed or name their families prefer. This mutt (mongrel, canarlie, mix...) I call a Heinz 57 because he is one of those great dogs who probably has so many breeds in him that you can hardly (canarlie :)) guess what they are. He is the classic, return to natural breeding and several generations out you get this dog dog.

I asked his Dad if he knew what kind of dog he is. When you spend all your time with your pet, you can make some pretty good guesses. And when you know your pet's history, you sometimes know the exact heritage. This was years before the Wisdom Panel.

"Yup I know what he is," he said confidently. "He's a Pit Bull - Sharpei."

He pet his forehead way back so his facial skin was taut and his cute short ears were straight back as if they had been cropped. (They hadn't.) His dog sat patiently, enjoying the strange head rub. I do not think it was the first time he had been through this.

Dad said, "When I pet him like this, he looks like a Pit Bull."

He pulled his forehead skin just as far forward so it wrinkled around his eyes.

"When I pet him like this, he looks like a Sharpei."

I started to laugh, and looked up at Dad. He was looking back at me quizically. He was dead serious.

I returned to a serious expression and wrote "Pit Bull - Sharpei mix" in the record.

He continued. "You know, both of those types of dogs can be really smart and a bit strong willed. We've been through some training classes together, and we work together every day. He is shaping up to be a great dog."

Indeed he was. I smiled and pet my patient's head...first backwards then forwards. He smiled too and I am not making this up...I think if he could have, he would have winked at me.

They were a great pair, and he was a great dog.

When I do not know what breeds are in a dog (and sometimes if I do), I will pet their forehead backwards and then forwards and say "Looks like a Pit Bull - Sharpei to me."


Post from one year ago today...

December 27, 2015