Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is Lady a chow? A collie? Or something else?

Now we know. My wife Holly and I have wondered for nearly 13 years: What kind of dog is Lady? Most people say chow. Others have said collie mix.

We recently sent her DNA off for testing, and she's one-eighth (12.5 percent) chow, one-eighth boxer and 75 percent mutt (the company we used calls her a mega-mutt, since most mutts aren't 75 percent mutt).

So I was wrong; Lady DOES have some chow in her. But I was right; she is a mutt.

A little bit of me hoped that she'd be something special, like 75 percent Akita. But she's not, and that's okay.

She's special to me.


People often look at Lady and ask what kind of dog she is.

If 100 people weigh in on her lineage, probably 90 percent say definitely that she's a chow or part chow.

Maybe, but look at a real chow and look at Lady. They don't look alike. Chows have more fur around their faces, and they have dark tongues; Lady does not. Besides, their muzzles are different.

Others say that Lady's a collie mix, likely because of her brown-and-white coloring. Her nose is too short for a collie; she's too short (length-wise and height-wise) for a collie; her ears are wrong, and so is her tail (which looks like it belongs on a sled dog, not a collie). "Experts" point out that part-collies don't necessarily look like collies, but I'd expect something more than her coloring.

The other thing that most people miss is that Lady has spaniel spots on her forelegs.

Nearly everyone admits that Lady looks like a sled dog (triangular ears, curly and fuzzy tail, big ruff). She even runs like a sled dog. Some folks say she looks like an Akita, and I agree, although her tail looks more Spitz.

It's obvious, though, that Lady is a mixture of many things, and her coloring could come from Akita and/or Spitz (or something else) as well as collie. We had a collie named Scottie, who looked nothing like Lady other than his coloring.

The interesting thing is that Lady's undercoat is nearly pure white if you clip her close.

Me? I don't care what she is. I joke that she's a North Carolina Chowhound — she can be a big eater if you don't watch her — and some folks think I'm serious.

I love Lady's personality, her wisdom (sometimes), her devotion to me, her patience with children and young dogs, and I'm glad she's relatively healthy for a dog who was unofficially 14 in October of 2014 (we don't know her birthday). She's been a good girl and a great companion.

At least she is most of the time. Let me tell you about the time she crushed...

NOTE: Lady passed on Sept. 17, 2016, two weeks short of the anniversary of the day we got her (Oct. 1, 2002).

Contact: I can be reached at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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