Wild, wild world of canine DNA – Part 1

According to the DNA test results, Koga is half Miniature Schnauzer and half “East Asian Village Dog.” I am trying to make sense of this world of canine DNA and “Village Dog”? Really?

Oh and hi. I didn’t mean for this website to be all about work. Since I’m spending far less time on Facebook these days, maybe I’ll try to start blogging again. Here we go.

I admit Koga is a bit wild looking. That was my very first impression of him, actually. I first met Koga by chance when I went to meet adorable little dachshund-mix puppies who had just turned old enough for adoption. They were no doubt going to find new loving homes in a snap. I met them, played with them, but didn’t feel the need to get on a wait list and compete. And besides, I thought maybe it wasn’t time for a new pup yet. (My sweet Puca had died less than a year ago at the young age of 14 years.)

Koga at his favorite hipster store on Ossington in Toronto.

Then there was Koga. On the way in to see the puppies, I had to walk up a winding staircase to the second floor of the veterinary co-op in Seoul, and I remember seeing this strange looking little dog who would later become Koga. He was barking his head off at me but no sound was coming out. Before we learned the whole story behind his rescue, Koga left an impression on me as a voiceless, wild looking little guy. (More about this another time.)

For months and months after he joined our family, Koga surprised us by continuing to change his appearance. His soft hair grew longer and turned black at the tip, contrasting against his face and bright white underside. He has a bright white apron and a butt-skirt that I like to keep short. His ears are always perky and his eyes inquisitive and attentive. WHAT IS HE? Everywhere we went, people asked, WHAT BREED IS HE? Miniature husky? Pomeranian husky or Pomsky? Some other exotic breed?

It happened everywhere. Once, in a tiny elevator to Level 7 underground parking in Seoul, a couple of middle-aged women—ok fine, they were probably my age—saw Koga and commented that he “looked expensive” like that was a compliment. WHAT IS HE?

Even the actress Fran Drescher recently asked me, WHAT IS HE? We ran into each other while walking our dogs on a beach in Malibu, and to be honest, I’m not 100% sure that she was Fran Drescher of The Nanny fame, but I do remember she was with a Pomeranian. To kids, I often answer that Koga must be part red snow fox. Or part red panda, which usually gets a giggle. I told Fran Drescher that Koga was a mysterious hybrid and she laughed. He looks wild, she said.

Lo and behold, a friend’s generous and thoughtful birthday gift recently got us some real answers — sort of. Embark. Canine DNA ancestry. I swabbed inside Koga’s cheek and mailed it in, and after weeks of sleek and detailed updates, the final result came in. Koga is not a fox. He is not part husky. Most shockingly, he is not even Pomeranian.

According to Embark DNA test results, Koga is half Miniature Schnauzer and half East Asian Village Dog. You can take a look at the public results. [What the hell does that mean? To be continued.]