Gadget Spot: DNA Dog Breed ID Kit

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's amazing how you can live in the same house with someone and never really know them. So it is with Chip the Gadget Dog.

We've been together since December 2008, when we found him as an eight-month-old puppy. At the time, my heart was in search of a pet to fill the hole left when my previous "found" dog (a Corgi named Dale) passed away from cancer.

To look at Chip, you'd think he was also a Corgi - the same breed of dog that follows the Queen of England all around the world. Then I learned the truth, and oh how wrong I had been.

This truth came from the BioPet Vet Lab, whose DNA Dog Breed ID Kit ($69 at promises owners of a mixed-breed dog the answer to the question: "Who, exactly, is this guy?"

Using cotton swabs from the gadget kit they sent me, I painlessly rubbed twice on the inside of Chip's cheek, then sent the DNA collected during the process for analysis. As any viewer of Law and Order or CSI: Whatever knows all too well, DNA provides scientific confirmation of identity.

BioPet Lab promised to identify every breed found in Chip's genetic composition. Though my pup has all of the physical characteristics of a Corgi, alas, his DNA test couldn't muster a single breed that was over 75 percent of his being.

As suspected, Pembroke Welsh Corgi dominates Chip's makeup, but it only earned a Level 2 ranking (37-74 percent of his DNA). Liberally sprinkled alongside is 20-36 percent Australian Shepherd, 10-19 percent West Highland White Terrier and less than 10 percent Bull Terrier.

Which is all quite helpful to know.

Corgis are herders, but Australian Shepherds are destructive if left alone. That must account for the five chairs, dining room sideboard, bookcase and door frame Chip has chewed on or through when left unattended.

Corgis are good "alarm" dogs, but terriers are generally prolific barkers. That accounts for Chip's barking every morning at 4:45 a.m. sharp, or whenever the neighbors across the street open their garage door (which they do a lot).

Corgis are devoted and protective, though West Highland White Terriers can show more irritation - as any visitor to my home knows from the growling and barking that accompanies their arrival and lasts throughout their visit.

None of this causes me to love Chip the Gadget Dog any less. It does help me understand why he fearlessly hangs by his teeth from a pull toy I often shake in the air. It's just his Bull Terrier coming out.

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