The results are back on Hazel’s lineage. Some of what we suspected is true, and some of what we learned is a surprise.
A word of warning: I’m about to make sweeping judgements about dog breeds based on my previous experiences. I realize full well that asshole dogs are the result of asshole humans. But I have a distrust of several breeds based on interactions I’ve had where the humans have been attentive parents and the dogs have been shitheads. You can argue with me all you like, but you won’t change my mind.
So: on to the results. It came as a surprise that she is, in fact, 37% Shorthair Pointer; we figured she had some kind of sporting background based on her shape and face, but we couldn’t narrow down what it might be, and I just figured the rescue was making an uneducated guess. The other, bigger surprise is that she’s 25% American Staffordshire Terrier. In reality, this should be expected because pit bulls have been popular for years and there are plenty of idiots who let theirs run off the leash without being fixed, so I’d wager every rescue mutt has some pit in the woodpile. Then there’s a 37% mixture of “other”, which includes Terrier, Asian, and Sporting breeds. What this means is that more than a third of Hazel wants to dig up the lawn to bite you before fetching the paper.
So, back to the main breeds. The Shorthair Pointer is the part I’m happiest about; I love that breed and sporting dogs of this type are the size and temperament Jen and I are used to. If we were dealing with more Pointer and less Terrier I think we might be further along normalizing the dog/cat balance in our house, she’d be the medium-sized dog we wanted, and I’d feel better about leaving the girls alone at the house.
Then there’s the Pit Bull. I really don’t care what anyone says; I don’t trust pit bulls. I’ve met many friendly, gentle pit bulls. I’ve rolled around on the floor with them. I’ve had one sleep on my lap. I also lived in Baltimore City as the Rottweiler Era gave way to the Pit Bull Era, when every white trash methhead from Highlandtown was walked three pits on a chain through my neighborhood on their way to the methadone clinic. Every other week somebody’s pit jumped a fence and mauled a kid or the mailman or somebody minding their own business in their own fucking yard. While I understand that a raging smack addiction probably doesn’t make for conscientious dog parenting, I think there’s something going on there. And I have a hard time trusting that inbred instinct with my daughter and niece and nephew.
And, to be perfectly honest, it’s a class thing. I hear pit bull, I see a toothless tattooed basehead sagging his basketball shorts wandering up Eastern Avenue yelling for his baby mama. I left the city to escape that shit; and as much as I make judgements about people and their dogs, I know that other people do the same.
The random mixture of breed groups is most likely what accounts for her size, as she’s not as tall as a pointer or a pit, and there are a lot of unknowns in this group. The Asian group includes awesome dogs like Huskies but assholes like Chow-Chows. I’ve had several experiences with bity Chows and I don’t trust them at all. The mixture of terriers accounts for the digging and the prey drive; terriers were bred to chase varmints so it’s perfectly within Hazel’s nature to see a running cat and want to eat it. And the Sporting group could be anything—we just don’t know enough about what the mixture is to have any idea of its influence on her.
So, we’re still in a holding pattern. She has good days and bad days, just like me. I was completely out of patience with her last night for some reason, while this morning we were good together during our morning walk. We’ve got some recommendations for personal trainers (someone to come in and train the family, not the dog) so we’re going to research this approach and see if there’s hope for a resolution.