What kind of dog is this?
March 29, 2014 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Are you a dog breed expert? Help me!

As far as I know, this is a 8ish-week-old male puppy. Here is another pic for scale. I don't believe it is pure bred, but I don't know much about dogs. Can anyone tell me what breed or breeds it is? Is there somewhere on the internet I can go and post a picture and have knowledgeable people take a stab at the breed/s?

This dog was abandoned on a friend's property. I'm thinking about taking it on, but would like as much information as I can get before I make a final decision.
posted by gregoryc to Pets & Animals (26 answers total)
Looks like a terrier mix of some sort. If you have the time and dedication to make sure that he gets the exercise and structure he needs he will probably be a great dog. Working with a trainer helps quite a bit too.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:35 PM on March 29, 2014

he's a mutt, but handsome and friendly enough to climb inside your jacket, and more likely to be healthy and live longer than a purebred, and he needs a home and you need a dog, so take him.
posted by bruce at 6:50 PM on March 29, 2014 [42 favorites]

I'm no expert, but I've had a lot of good looking mystery mutts. I'm going to guess this dog is a Papillon + Jack Russell Terrier mix. Looks similar.
posted by Poldo at 6:50 PM on March 29, 2014 [8 favorites]

His head and snout look to me like a border collie. We had an extremely sweet mutt that looked like a border collie when I was a kid.

I think your best gauge of this dog's future behavior will be his current behavior, and the amount of thought you can put into his care. He looks very calm in the photos, probably a good dog :)
posted by amtho at 6:53 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

My wife guesses sheltie + Jack Russell or another terrier, probably smart and sweet.
posted by songs about trains at 6:56 PM on March 29, 2014

I agree with Poldo, he is definitely a Papillon mix of some sort, at least for the coloring. If you are concerned with how big the dog might get you can look at his paws and if they are out of proportion to the rest of his body (bigger) than he will grow to be a large dog. If not, then he will probably be a small or medium size dog. I second everyone else who says yay you found a puppy and he looks friendly and awesome.
posted by ruhroh at 6:57 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've got a sheltie and had a Jack Russell terrier, and the nose looks like both of them and the ears look sheltie to me. If the pup's got either, be prepared for lots of smartness, love, and energy!
posted by umwhat at 7:00 PM on March 29, 2014

Did you get the age estimate from a vet? Because that puppy looks a lot older than 8 weeks to me. The most accurate way to tell is to check the teeth, but the leg and snout proportions, and the fact that he looks like he's shed out his puppy coat to his adult coat makes me think he's at least 4 months old and maybe older. At 8 weeks puppies are still typically fuzzy, round in the face, and rolly-polly overall. Super cute pup! I think papillon/terrier mix is a really good guess, especially if he's a little older than you think and thus closer to final size.
posted by drlith at 7:02 PM on March 29, 2014 [15 favorites]

My guess is Jack Russell terrier–border collie, but with mutts it's always going to be a bit of a guessing game. (For what it's worth, my husband and I have a border collie mix—we think border collie–beagle—and I see some similarities in the face and ears. But our pooch is a total couch potato despite her supposed parentage... and sweet as pie.)

Seconding the idea to check paw size—that will give a better idea of what to expect long-term, as will the usual puppy personality assessments.
posted by cellar door at 7:07 PM on March 29, 2014

I also think he's older than 8wks - 12wks at minimum, but more like 4mos.

I would also agree with the Papillon thing, but, from there, it could go a number of directions - the way that different breeds have even come into being means that even if two purebreeds were involved, the features of a seemingly different third could be produced. And if it's one or more mutts, all bets are off.

Like others said, if it's a size estimate you need, paws are the best clue. They aren't perfect, but pretty good gauges. I would guess that he doesn't get to be more than 35#, if that, but a vet could probably give a better idea (but, then, I've also known vets to be completely wrong about size guesstimates, partially because dogs of blended provenance can be unpredictable and partly because some vets have blind spots or biases that can lead to wrong answers).

If you do decide to take the pup in, there are genetic tests for dogs that can get you somewhat closer in narrowing down the possibilities. They aren't error-proof or perfect, but the results can certainly be fun to think and talk about.
posted by batmonkey at 8:02 PM on March 29, 2014

Papillon mix. Maybe some Rat Terrier in there as they too have big ears and similar markings and come in larger sizes. Both are nice dogs, smart but not super demanding so don't let the terrier in the name put you off. He looks like a nice mix whatever he is, and don't let the idea of a mutt put you off all breeds were once just crossbreeds that someone liked and put a name on.

Remember breeds only give you a rough idea of temperament so much depends on upbringing. Though you can usually get an idea of the dogs energy levels & stimulation requirements from breed, if that's what you are after. He's going to be on the smallish side of medium sized dog, and looks like he'll have a slim build.

He looks older than 8 weeks to me too, did a vet check his teeth and age him? Does he still have his puppy canines, or still got the small teeth across the front. I would not be surprised if he's around the 3-4 month point like others have said, there are a lot of good guides online to telling a puppies age by it's teeth if you do a quick google.

If you take him to a vets they'll usually scan them for a chip on the off chance someone might be looking for him.
posted by wwax at 8:27 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

By the way, you can get DNA test kits for around $60-80 on amazon and test him to find out the mix for sure. We did it with our dogs and it was pretty interesting. We had one JRT we knew was pure bred and a second that was unknown. They got the purebred right, so I trust the results on the other dog. He came back 50% jack, 25% smooth fox terrier and 25% boxer. You can't see the boxer AT ALL by looking at him, so don't expect super accurate categorization from just looks. Go science!
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:30 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Look at those earrrrsssss!

I would put my vote in for either collie or sheltie, given the ear fuzz. Nose will probably get longer, he's probably very intelligent, and he doesn't look like he's going to get too much bigger, though I agree with folks saying he looks older than 8 weeks. I've known cattle dog mixes to have that mix of colors. He could also be Pomeranian somewhere. Basically, a right old mutt. My favorite dog breed!
posted by theweasel at 8:31 PM on March 29, 2014

He looks quite a bit like my dog (pic from about 4 months old). That doesn't exactly help though, as my dog was a rescue too and we have no idea what he is (besides awesome!). The most common guesses are spaniel, border collie and jack russell terrier, but those are all guesses. Realistically, both dogs are proabably mixes of lots of different breeds.

However, the reason I was motivated to post a pic of my dog is that both dogs seem to have some characteristics of a rare (in the US) breed of Dutch hunting dogs, kooikerhondjes. Again, neither dog seems to be a purebred AT ALL, but one tell-tale kooikerhondje trait is fluffy ears with black tips of fur (known as "earings"). What's his tail like? That's another tell-tale trait.

FWIW, my dog was about the same size at 4 months (I agree that's probably about how old your guy is) and he's now 40 lbs. He's also extremely sweet, playful, smart, and energetic (he's now a little over a year). If you're thinking about adopting him, your best bet is to try it out for a few days and see how you get along. This is a trap, of course. That dog is so cute - if he comes home with you, he's not leaving.
posted by lunasol at 9:21 PM on March 29, 2014

Oh, and FWIW, it can be hard to tell how big a puppy is going to get - mine never had big ears or paws, but still grew a lot after I adopted him. He was 10 lbs when I brought him home (10 weeks old), and topped out at 40 lbs around 9 months. I'd guess that if this guy is under 6 months, he's still got some growing to do.
posted by lunasol at 9:28 PM on March 29, 2014

That profile, those markings, that bottom, those legs very much bring to mind my old Jack Russell (and make me want to smooch your puppy).

If he is part Jack Russell, they're intelligent, hyper-energetic dogs that need things to do, and lots and lots and lots of walks (and space). They are not usually in the least chilled out, is what I'm saying. If you've got a busy lifestyle and you'd be the only owner, that's something to consider.

What's his energy like, and what's yours like?

He's got that smart-ass look to me, I think he is part jrt.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:37 PM on March 29, 2014

Oh, and this is what my dog looks like now (about 1 year and three months old) if you're curious.
posted by lunasol at 9:43 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

This dog looks like a bitser to me. Too mature looking for eight weeks I would have said.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:48 PM on March 29, 2014

I'd say Jack Russell terrier and shepherd of some kind...sheltie, Queensland heeler, maybe. The dog looks very alert, intelligent, and energetic. We have a JRT/Queensland and he's the Einstein of the canine world---we love him without measure. I'd say, take him home---he may be a little sassy but he's worth putting up with---and love him and keep him! He looks like a truly wonderful companion!
Also, I second the thought of the poster who said, take him to a vet to see if he has a microchip as someone may be looking for him. Or call your local Humane Society or SPCA center---they may scan for a chip for free.
posted by lloubee at 10:06 PM on March 29, 2014

Totally looks older than they're claiming - I'm siding with folks who say 8 months or older.

Sounds strange, but can you take a picture of his teeth?

To me, the coloring says Jack Russell, but the pattern of color on his face and the hair on those ears said "Springer Spaniel" to me. Springers often have longer hair on the backs of their legs - basically fringes.

Looks SO cute and sweet!
posted by metarkest at 6:40 AM on March 30, 2014

I see JRT, too. I have a presumed Jack Russell Terrier shelter dog. He is a terrific dog, affectionate, always happy, smart enough to learn pretty fast, loves to play. He's quite active, but when it's just the 2 of us, and I pick up a book or the laptop, he settles in on the couch quite happily. His one difficult trait is that he wants to be an alpha dog, so he acts alpha/ aggressive with other dogs, though it's all an act, he doesn't bite or anything. It's just obnoxious. When he's around bigger dogs, he often makes friends eventually, not always. Your pup is adorable, and I would not hesitate to adopt him, not for 1 second. I would call him Prince Charlie, because he is bonnie, and the ears.
posted by theora55 at 8:14 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Definitely looks like some sort of Jack Russell Terrier mix. Sure is cute!
posted by SisterHavana at 9:06 AM on March 30, 2014

Ha, when I first saw him I thought Jack Russell terrier cross of some sort, and clearly I'm not the only one.

If he is part JRT and it comes out in him, be prepared for a smart, loyal, affectionate, but boundary pushing dog who is busy busy busy. You may need to be on him all the time and he will need training (a good idea for any dog). When owners put in consistent effort with training a JRT, it pays off--they're quick and smart and usually do want to please their owners, though not in the way a lab would.

JRTs usually have a strong prey drive so it's something to be aware of if he's around cats, small animals or or small children. It does vary by individual dog and with training though.

He looks older than 8 weeks, maybe a few months as others have said. He also looks like an absolute lovey! Enjoy your new pup if you take him on!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:33 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are three types of dog. Pibbles, which are dogs you cannot take to Denver; RBDs, or Regular [Brown|Black|Blond] Dogs, which are medium sized, medium coated dogs with one prominent coat color; and Other.

Your dog is "Other," and your dog looks like a pretty good dog!

For real, that is a mutt, and contrary to the way we tend to talk about them, most mutts aren't the product of two purebred parents. I could guess a bunch of different breeds. Foxhound, Fox Terrier, Border Collie, Cocker Spaniel, the fluffy ears do read a little Papillon maybe, Jack Russells are always a possibility, and I don't know.

But you'll probably make a better judgment of temperament based on the dog in front of you rather than on the breeds you think he or she might be. A vet could probably give you an age estimate (I think they can tell more from the irises and teeth), and maybe give a general idea of how big the dog will get, but eh. I had a little fluffy dog as a kid who ended up being about twice as big as the vet estimated, and I currently have an adult dog whose feet are about twice as big as our other, larger adult dog's.

Ultimately, it's mostly guesswork, and I cannot imagine what sort of information would negate what I'm seeing in that picture of that happy little dog hanging out in your coat there. If you're ready for a dog, I think that one looks practically bespoke for you.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:18 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, I just want to add that while my old girl was a classic terror (a loveable, affectionate terror who licked away my tears more than once, and shared a dizzying joy in play that just made everyone's life *better*, never mind her creepy taste in gifts), if this little guy is part jrt, he's still a mix and his own self, so it's not a foregone conclusion that he''ll be cray - your pretty puppy will definitely vary. Training will make life easier for both of you, in any case.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:27 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

(I am just saying, if you've never had a dog before, it's a commitment. You have to come home every night for dinner, you have to be willing and able to spend time at the park, especially with a high energy dog. Sometimes people underestimate the time commitment in the face of outrageous cuteness like that. It is *totally* rewarding if you're up for it.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:45 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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