Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WTH is Brockle?

Yes. I'm at it again.

The DNA test is being processed, so I'll quit boring you with my obsession soon.
After I did all that DNA study I was OK with the potential results on Brockle. Unless he is a combination of 175 breeds in the first couple generations, the results should give me an idea or three of who he is.

This craziness is my trainers fault. Yes, HMT, you. The first time we met, he immediately started evaluating (playing) with my new dog.

"He's cool," HMT said. "What is he?"

"The pound said he was a collie/GSD cross," I replied.

"Hmmm," he said.

A few minutes later, the eternally patient, awesome trainer in her own right, and retired due to injury wife of HMT, Saint B, drove by on her way to town. She stopped to say "Hi."

"Hey, Saint B, check out our new client, Brockle," HMT said.

"Oooh, he's kinda cool," Saint B said."What is he?"

"The pound told her he was collie and GSD."

"No he's not. Maybe collie...healer? I don't know, but he's not a shepherd."

"Why?" I asked.

"His color," Saint B said. "It's recessive. GSD coloring is extremely dominant. If there's any shepherd in there it's a few generations back."

And so began the mystery of my dog.

 I did quite a bit of research into dominant and recessive traits (genes).

As usual, keep in mind this is my very unscientific mind at work.

Basics are, if it's a recessive trait it's as weak as an inbred Italian Greyhound. In order for a recessive trait to appear it has to be crossed with another animal that carries the same trait.

Brockle's mostly white, piebald, orangish coat is recessive. So both parents would need to carry a gene for this color.

A dominant trait is all JRT. It only needs to be in one parent to appear. And then it kicks some ass.
Recessive traits can be pure evil, hanging around for generations and hiding in the shadows, until another like recessive enters the gene pool then BAMMO! you've got cleft palates, bulgy eyes, Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome...

This is where my research took me.

Here's some dog data.

Brockle's "smooshy" face

He definitely doesn't have GSD legs.
Brockle measures 27 inches at the shoulder.
He weighs 72 pounds.
The vet would like him to be closer to 80 pounds, but he's a light eater.
He has a long, fluffy double coat which he blows twice a year. In between he's a light shedder.
His ears are so big I have trouble getting them to fit in a head shot.
His color is described as tipped sable piebald with ticking and a black mask.
His head is narrow, he has a clearly defined stop and he's pretty jowly for a long nosed dog.

He's really tall.

GSD - 23-26 inches
Rough Collie-22-26
Doberman - 24 - 28
Borzoi - 26-28
Anatolian Shepherd - 29-32
Malinois - 24-26
Border Collie -19-22
Australian Cattle Dog - 18-20
Australian Shepherd - 20-23

He has fine bones.
Long oval feet, the middle toes extend way past the outside ones.

He is very fast. We clocked him at 37 mph on a recall. I'm pretty sure he would be faster if he was in prey mode. He runs like this:

Lurchers left, Brockles left

His ears have a distinctive shape.

Panda Shepherd

Belgian Shepherd (Trevuren)

His tail is interesting...

Anatolian Shepherd


rough collie

as is his body type.

His color keeps causing problems.
Australian Cattle Dogs immediately come to mind. Their size, build, and attitude just don't add up. Still, I see a lot of dogs called heelers that could. Maybe.

Purebred Australian Cattle Dog

Shepherd/Heeler mix

So...remembering that I need a recessive gene from both parents to get a recessive trait, but only one gene from one parent to get a dominant trait...

Recessive traits:
Prick ears
Long hair
piebald coloring
White collies are the result of either to white parents or two white factored parents.The color is inherited independently of the dominant sable.

Dominant traits:
drop ears
short hair
Black Mask - this is interesting, short noses (brachycephalic dogs) are recessive and begin to disappear within one generation when out-crossed with dogs with regular noses, many of these breeds have masks. Technically, Brockle could have some Boxer back there somewhere).
Sable color
double coats
black and tan

Plush coat GSD and Brockle

That's the end of my physical meanderings. Next, I'm going to talk about his behaviors...it gets really interesting. 


kbryan said...

This is interesting. You've made some good comparisons, andI can't wait to hear more about his behavior!

Anonymous said...

Alright. Here I thought just your stories were cliffhangers that left me waiting (very impatiently) for more! Now you've got me hooked on the Brockle saga as well. My money is still on collie for part (again, in large part fueled by his physical and behavioral similarities to my young collie boy) but I no longer think German shepherd. I really like the borzoi and tervuren ideas, though it seems unlikely that those relatively exotic breeds would manage to be in there. Amazing too, how known crosses of certain breeds can look so drastically different from their parents and amcestors.
Lastly, I was a biology major and practice medicine and am sorry to say that genetics STILL makes my head hurt a little.


jenj said...

Does he by chance have dewclaws on the hind legs, or double dewclaws?

AareneX said...

I'm thinking "poorly-bred collie": that predominant white thing shows up there...doesn't mean the dog is bad, just the coloring is undesirable for show. I have a sheltie from a poorly-bred color background and she's a lovely dog, but her excessive white and blue eyes on a "sable" is unacceptable for show.

So my guess is excessive-white collie and tervern (which I cannot spell and you cannot make me)

AareneX said...

I'm thinking "poorly-bred collie": that predominant white thing shows up there...doesn't mean the dog is bad, just the coloring is undesirable for show. I have a sheltie from a poorly-bred color background and she's a lovely dog, but her excessive white and blue eyes on a "sable" is unacceptable for show.

So my guess is excessive-white collie and tervern (which I cannot spell and you cannot make me)

Anonymous said...

I keep seeing some spaniel in there. Undocked Springers have that tail and coat, and can be insanely drivey.

Melissa said...

I'm going to go totally off the rails and say he has GSD (black or sable instead of b&t, can carry mask) or Tervuren or Malinois, border collie or australian shepherd, and Heeler.

I have a pound puppy that I'm trying to figure out right now too. I find puzzles like this interesting.

Antonia Wood said...

My guess would be, GSD X Collie on one side, Borzoi on the other.

Any prizes for correct guesses when the DNA results come back?

mugwump said...

Oh yes, there's a prize.... Go back and read Guess What I Got?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing half mutt and half mongrel. :)

PonyFan said...

Hmmmm. . . This is tough. My sister has a puppy from a reservation rescue program. The mom looks like a black lab but the owners claimed she was a border collie cross and the pup's dad was a GSD cross.

One of the adopted pups is obviously a GSD cross, from her ears, to her markings, to her size. Not quite "pure" but hard for the layperson to describe why.

My sister's pup looks exactly like a golden retriever, except he is black. He has thick wavy hair, feathers, a beautiful thick tail, and the same deep sweet face. His temperment is like a young doltish golden retriever, all legs and eagerness to please, if a little "slow".

So I am going to guess that Brockle has
- a German Shepard grandparent,
- Some collie blood, most likely an Australian Shepard parent as they are popular right now, but maybe English Shepard,
- In addition to above, some Border Collie blood back there,
- A little bit of lurcher - most likely greyhound.
- Blue heeler or Australian cattle dog in the mix wouldn't surprise me at all given his difficult/demanding temperment.

If I really wanted to cover my bases, I'd say there's pitbull in there as well, because let's face it, a ridiculous number of the "indiscriminate" dogs in the states are either chihauhaus or pitbulls.

Anonymous said...

And people have dogs they call "heelers' that are actually crosses of Australian Cattle Dog and beagle, JRT, Australian Shepherd, etc. Because the mask, bentley spot, and ticking tend to come through on a cross...and people have invented breeds such as Bealer (Beagle/Heeler) and Texas Heeler (ACD/Australian Shepherd)...SO and I just had the discussion the other day, if someone tells you they have a Heeler with a naturally bobbed tail...there is Aussie in there somewhere. ACD's can have "stumpy" tails, but not natural bobs. Anyhow. I see Aussie in there somewhere, but could be other "shepherd" I suppose :)

Stacey said...

I'd like to chime in and say that while prick ears might be a genetic recessive, whether or not ears stand reliably run along a continuum, so you may have breeds, lines and/or ear shapes that are very close to being pricked, and making a cross to a dog with overall heavier cartilage production can push these borderline ears upright. It's especially telling when there are specific charts related to ear faults in a breed.

You hear about many GSDs having issues with getting one or both ears to stand properly and not break over, and owners agonise for months about whether or not they will stand. If a break happens for too long, the cartilage will adapt and the break will be permanent, even if it eventually gets thick enough to support an upright ear. Swelling due to teething, hormonal changes, and diet seem to all play a part in this.

Conversely, it does not take much oomph for rose ears in sighthounds to become pricked or upright, and border collies' ears do all sorts of crazy things and may change for the first two years before they settle into any sort of reliability.


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