What is my dog?
July 18, 2012 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Can you please suggest what my mixed breed dog might be a mix of? Bonus points if you don't say "German Shepherd".

When I adopted my pup 15 years ago, the shelter put him down as being a "shepherd mix". Mostly, he looks like village dogs in documentaries of 3rd world countries, where the dogs have probably never been any particular breed. But it didn't seem important, and, sure, I guess his face and body shape is shepherd-ish enough.

But now we are looking at moving to Boston, and some apartments that allow dogs do not allow German Shepherds. Since this is all just guesswork anyway, I'd appreciate some guessing that was more in my favor as a potential tenant!

I assume that landlords don't want dogs who are into guarding, or are aggressive, which Shadow totally isn't. We could be robbed blind and he'd just wag his tail, if he woke up at all. Also, he weighs 40 lbs., if that's any help with possible breed guessing.
posted by Kriesa to Pets & Animals (45 answers total)
 
I'd say Lab Mix. Not that I really know, but he looks like he's got some Lab in him and people (landlords) are rarely anti-Lab.
posted by Pineapplicious at 8:44 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is a Lab face if I ever saw one.
posted by xingcat at 8:45 AM on July 18, 2012


In my very non-dog expert-ish opinion, the picture of his face in the sun has very golden retreiver-ish features. You could attribute the longish-snout to some rhodesian ridgebacks that I've met too.
posted by effigy at 8:47 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Labrador/Alsatian mix is my guess (yeah, sorry Alsatian is really German Sheppard). I'd say something like, he is a mutt, we strongly think a Labrador mix, has not shown any aggressive tendencies
posted by edgeways at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2012


I agree with effigy that the long snout is very much like rhodesian ridgebacks I've seen
posted by supermedusa at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2012


I'm going with collie/dingo. But only because I can't say shepherd mix.
posted by Glinn at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2012


Good, old-fashioned American mongrel. Almost a pariah.

Regardless, your dog is manifestly not a German Shepherd. Just tell potential landlords it's a mutt and you don't know its origin. Doesn't look like it's got any Pitt Bull in it either.
posted by valkyryn at 8:50 AM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's a gorgeous "Heinz 57" (my money's on 85% lab, 10% ridgeback, 5% shepherd). But I don't think any landlord would peg him as a German Shepherd.
posted by humph at 8:50 AM on July 18, 2012


If you want something more definitive, get him a dog DNA test. That's what we did with our rescue "pit bull" (who turned out to be a English bulldog / Boxer mutt) when we decided it was time to have proof one way or another about his "pit bull" status.

Your doggie doesn't look like a German Shepherd to me. Maybe a collie or one of the other working breeds.
posted by erst at 8:51 AM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Potcake was my first thought.
I'd also be willing to go with lab or golden mix.
(you know it's a GSD mix right?)
posted by whowearsthepants at 8:52 AM on July 18, 2012


I don't think any landlord would say he looks like a GSD - the ears don't seem to come to attention in the same way, and at most his muzzle is a little muddy (like a lot of mixed-breed dogs).

I would go with Lab mix and dare anyone to question it.
posted by muddgirl at 8:57 AM on July 18, 2012


As an addendum to my earlier answer, if it were me I would say lab (or collie) mix. And if pressed, say the mom was a lab (or collie) and the dad was unknown.
posted by Glinn at 8:58 AM on July 18, 2012


about the Boston thing - Massachusetts insurance laws are idiosyncratic. One of the problems I had with homeowner's insurance in Massachusetts was that many issuers maintain Dangerous Dog Breed lists and can refuse you coverage for having a dog that shows up on the list (whether it's a mix or purebred).

I don't have the list from my previous home's policy any more, but it was completely random: German Shepherds and Rottweilers and Dobermans, yes, but also poodles and Kerry Blue terriers and malamutes and bichons. My ex and I thought it was probably compiled off reports of dog bite incidents. Here's a post from a pit bull forum that identifies some of the breeds that show up on these lists.
posted by catlet at 8:58 AM on July 18, 2012


I think saying "He's a mix; we know there's some retriever in there, but other than that we have no idea" is an honest answer. He looks adorable and not menacing at all. Also, giving his weight and dimensions shows good faith.

My brother and sister in law have two dogs, a Shepherd/retriever mix and a pit bull/Weimaraner/who knows? mix and they are sweethearts. I hate breed prejudice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:59 AM on July 18, 2012


His snout looks like a Saluki's.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:04 AM on July 18, 2012


I see some Poodle in there, and a little bit of Lhasa Apso.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:04 AM on July 18, 2012


muddgirl: "I don't think any landlord would say he looks like a GSD - the ears don't seem to come to attention in the same way, and at most his muzzle is a little muddy (like a lot of mixed-breed dogs)."

Agreed. When most people think of GSDs, they think of the common brown with black coloring. Since your dog passes the color test, I would guess you won't have any problems, even if there really is GSD buried somewhere in there.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:06 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


He looks more like a retriever than a herder. He's cute.
posted by SillyShepherd at 9:09 AM on July 18, 2012


I wouldn't say ridgeback either, they're on some ban lists as well.
posted by winna at 9:20 AM on July 18, 2012


Since "Rusty-Coated Snugglebucket" isn't an official breed, I'd offer that you might go with the Lab mix suggestions, and if you need another breed, "Cattle Dog" since there are some rusty ones with poofy tails like his. It's only a bit of a stretch, but they're rare enough in some places that people won't have a picture in their heads of what one looks like, and if you look it up, you can see enough resemblances to take care of any shepherdy parts.
posted by peagood at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "Lab Mix" is the standard answer for a largish mixed breed dog, if you don't want to get caught up in "Dangerous Breed" garbage.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2012


I'd say golden retriever/lab mix as well. He's generic enough that you could call him just about anything - I could make a case for him being half Catahoula without too much trouble.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:27 AM on July 18, 2012


Dude, your Shadow it at least half shepherd. But so what? He's not all shepherd. He's a mutt, you got him at the pound, that's all you need to say on your application.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:43 AM on July 18, 2012


Yup, seconding valkyrn that what you got there is a classic "yeller' dawg" -- a mongrel.

As your 3rd world research suggests, leave any population of domestic dogs to their own devices for a few generations, and eventually their progeny will all look very similar to Shadow. It's the lowest common denominator look of a mutt.

Just tell potential landlords he's a mutt and offer to introduce them to his laid-back, senior citizen self. To them, it's an insurance issue -- their liability policies prohibit housing a specific list of so-called "dangerous breeds." Any answer you give that's not on the list is OK.

Also FYI, in my experience as an traveler who has visited hundreds of RV parks with similar banned breed policies, most people asking the question don't translate "shepherd mix" to mean GSD. There are too many shepherd breeds for that to be a logical leap.
posted by peakcomm at 9:56 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


He seems too small to be a straight cross between a Lab and a GSD. A Canaan is about the right size and has some similar features but I think Valkyrn and Peakcomm are probably closer to the truth.
posted by VTX at 10:06 AM on July 18, 2012


He's adorable. Mutt, suspected lab/collie sounds reasonable to me. To my "always had dogs (including a german shepherd) but not a breed expert" I wouldn't have said shepherd, so I doubt any other lay person is going to jump to say it without prompting.
posted by mrs. taters at 10:08 AM on July 18, 2012


Carolina dog, maybe. Cute, for sure.
posted by annsunny at 10:32 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding Valkryn. Looks like a pariah dog. Studies have shown that within four generations of going feral, all dogs in hot climates will revert to this form and coloring. Annsunny is also right, very close to a Carolina dog. But then he has that lab face and the floppy ears. If pressed, I think you could confidently say "Lab/Carolina mix".
posted by seasparrow at 10:52 AM on July 18, 2012


I have a pure-bred German Shepherd, and while renting with him has been a pain in the ass, most landlords are flexible. If he's a shepherd mix, that should really help. If a landlord is so uptight that they won't allow a dog that might be a shepherd mix and doesn't look like a German Shepherd . . . then they're a crazy landlord. Your dog doesn't look like a shepherd.

Relax.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:54 AM on July 18, 2012


Your doggie looks a lot like a my doggie. She was a belgian shepherd/blue heeler mix. She was tan and 40 pounds.
posted by fyrebelley at 10:58 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're still worried, get some pet reference letters from your current landlord, and neighbors or vet.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:07 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


(meaning, some written assurances about his behavior.)
posted by oneirodynia at 11:08 AM on July 18, 2012


His muzzle, in the third picture on the top row, looks really collie-like to me. But he seems small to be a lab/collie mix, so maybe lab/sheltie? The tippy ears also seem sheltie-like. Does he have any distinct behaviors (or medical issues) that could point to a particular breed?

What a cutie by the way!
posted by auntie maim at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2012


Also be sure to mention that he is under 40 lbs. and a senior.
posted by Vaike at 11:36 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's a bog-standard, picture perfect, textbook-case example of a "four-legged dog."

In all seriousness, if it's under 40 pounds, there might be shepherd in there or not (probably some kind of herding breed, based on the snout) but by no means is it necessarily a German shepherd. Maybe one of the cur breeds would come closest. There's definitely more than a little Labrador and/or golden retriever in there, too.

To a landlord, I'd call him a "small retriever mix."
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:59 AM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm a vet, and when I have clients who need to get around German Shepherd, I put down Belgian Tervuren.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 12:06 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think his ancestry includes some Corgi, which would alibi his shepherd-esque head shape. I'm thinking Corgi/Golden Retriever or Corgi/yellow Lab.
posted by carmicha at 12:18 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with the statement above - do a DNA test.
$60 is a bit of money, I know - but then you will really know.

I did one on my dog. It was super easy to do, and the results came quick.
posted by Flood at 2:11 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Folks, the problem with the DNA test is that it might come back 80% German Shepherd or whatever. For the purposes of this question, we are trying to find answers that do not contain the names of breeds that landlords would be iffy about.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:29 PM on July 18, 2012


He really looks lab-like. Something about his face and expression.
Put lab- corgi because NO ONE knows, including the shelter most likely.
posted by beccaj at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Akita/Retriever.
posted by brownrd at 6:37 PM on July 18, 2012


I think Akita is generally also a dog to avoid (although I can definitely see something like Akita in the mix).
posted by muddgirl at 6:45 PM on July 18, 2012


Not that Akitas aren't wonderful dogs - I mean that they are sometimes on dangerous breed lists as well.
posted by muddgirl at 6:51 PM on July 18, 2012


My granddog is smart,sweet, loyal, street savvy, and looks a lot like yours. I call them generic mutts, but just last month a friend said she's a Tennessee Brown Dog. Everyone laughs when I repeat it, so I think your breed is a New York Brown Dog.
posted by raisingsand at 7:46 PM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, everyone! I really like the names for the feral dog "breeds", because I'm pretty sure that you'd have to go back way more than four generations to find a pure bred dog in Shadow's lineage. I'd love to start calling him a Potcake, but I think that he looks the most like a Carolina dog. And it sounds kind of official!

I may do a dna test for next year, but we don't have the time before we'll need to find this year's apartment. I'm not too worried about him actually turning out to have much German Shepherd in him. I'll be surprised if he is a Lab, either, really, because he doesn't have much in common personality-wise with Labs I've met. Swimming and eating are not high on his list of priorities.

My granddog is smart,sweet, loyal, street savvy, and looks a lot like yours. I call them generic mutts, but just last month a friend said she's a Tennessee Brown Dog. Everyone laughs when I repeat it, so I think your breed is a New York Brown Dog.

That's funny, because when people ask casually what he is, I usually do just say "He's a brown dog."
posted by Kriesa at 7:55 PM on July 18, 2012


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