We met our dog Arthur in a shelter run by the county sheriff’s office. The place is managed by a wonderful group of people, mostly women, who care for their charges with diligence, intelligence and compassion. Arthur was young and he had issues, as most abandoned dogs do. He’s adorable and they thought we’d be a good fit. We are.
Our dog Arthur does not look like the Airedale Terrier above, except perhaps in his own mind. He’s little, about nineteen pounds, mostly a lustrous black with ginger legs, ginger springing eyebrows and a ginger beard. His fur is a little long and curly. The back legs are a tad bandy. His nose is black, his ears floppy, his countenance noble. Arthur’s eyes are the most beautiful dog eyes ever, and we get lost in them. He was reported to be and he looks like a terrier mix. When asked, the vet and the shelter folks offered Schnauzer mixed with Yorkshire Terrier, and indeed, that is what he looks like.
Still, there is something in the set of his neck and head that looks like an Airedale, writ small. Curious to know what his ancestors were, I sent off some of his swabbed cheek cells to a canine DNA testing company. I chose Embark over the several others because of good reviews. The amount of information that came back was astounding, and far more than I got with my own test (see the post “Origins: Hello Sailor!”). We learned that Arthur is in quarters: Chihuahua, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature Pinscher. Arthur is taller and weighs more than any of those dogs, and while the looks of the Chihuahua and Pekingese are lost, the Yorkie and the Min Pin come through. We’ve owned a Pekingese, and I don’t see her personality in him. The other breeds are a mystery to us, but I’ve read that the Min Pin are fairly feisty, and so is Arthur.
His mixed relations have given him no propensity for any of the genetic problems purebred dogs tend to have, and his alleles for coat color are evident. I chose not to send a photo of him with the test; some of the physical descriptions resulting were accurate, some not (he is larger than he ought to be). According to his test results, the levels reported for a certain liver test will be low, and should not cause concern.
No, Arthur is not an Airedale, one of the dream dogs of my life, but he is our “terrier mix,” our beloved fellow. We work on his faults and ours with a dog trainer, and one day he may yawn and ignore dogs we meet on the road. He is a ready made watchdog, a charmer for us, for his circle of our human friends, and for his one dog friend, Marcus, an amiable Dachshund. It is enough that Arthur adores us. The feeling is mutual.