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A new twist in Ace’s tale

The saga of my dog Ace, though already told, may be in for some revision.

My Baltimore Sun series on Ace’s roots — which traced everything from how he ended up in the city animal shelter to the breeds that, according to a DNA test, were in him — originally appeared last year. (You can find the video version of “Hey, Mister, What Kind of Dog is That?” on our dog-umentaries page.)

Now, with advances in technology, were going to reexamine Ace’s earliest chapters. The simple cheek swab DNA test we gave him in connection with the earlier project, which checked for 38 breeds, showed only two — Chow and Rottweiler.

Now, we’re going to try the new and more sophisticated blood test, from Mars Veterinary — the Mars Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed Analysis — which can determine the presence of 157 breeds.

As a result, we may find out that there is more to Ace — breed-wise — than we originally thought, perhaps we’ll even find out what accounts for his size, which, height-wise, exceeds that of both of the breeds found in him.

Mastiff, horse and minivan were among the guesses last time around, in addition to the more common ones — Akita (which would explain his curly tail), shepherd and Great Dane (which would explain his size). As it turned out most people were wrong, at least according to the Canine Heritage Test.

This time around, we’re going to ask for guesses as well. Those who can name each and every breed — in the form of a comment on this entry — will win a free ohmidog! hooded sweatshirt.

In addition, we’re checking the DNA of our contest winner, Elliott. To guess his breeds, go here.

The process starts this weekend when the blood of Ace and Elliott will be drawn by Dr. Johnny Slaughter, mobile veterinarian, and we’ll give you updates along the way. When the results are in, we’ll all get together — likely at a bar — to hear the results.

Meantime, guess away. Here’s some info on Ace: He’s 121 pounds (having recently dropped a few), is about as tall as me (5′ 9″) when he stands on his hind legs. HIs tail makes a complete loop — at least when he’s happy. He works, off an on, as a therapy dog, loves all humans, and almost all dogs. He’s an Aries (we think) and likes long walks on the beach, watching birds and curling up with a good book, as long as somebody else is reading it.


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 17, 2008 at 11:35 pm

I have a question or two about Ace; hope this is not cheating. If it is, well, shucks.

What does the inside of his mouth look like? Is it garden-variety pinkish, or does he have dark splotches–purplish or black? How is he as far as shedding: Not much, about like other dogs, or clogs up the vacuum a couple of times a year? I’ve met Ace a few times and have been kissed on the nose by him at least once, and I think his coat is very soft and lovely. Are those black hairs a little coarser or of a different texture than the rest of his coat?

I’m gonna make a guess regardless, but it might as well be a semi-educated guess. 🙂

Comment from Mary Schmidt
Time December 18, 2008 at 10:35 pm

One of my bosses told a story at work today about her daughter’s Shiba Inu. She said the dog’s tail only uncurls while the dog is sleeping. Aha, I thought, perhaps Shiba Inu is an older breed and some Shiba Inu DNA entered Ace’s family a while back. So I’ll guess Ace’s heritage to be Rottweiler, Chow Chow and Shiba Inu.

My dog book says that male Rottweilers can weigh up to 130 pounds, so Ace may get his heft from that breed.

It’s going to be interesting to learn if the second DNA test supports or contradicts the first test. And is it easier to trace DNA from blood cells than from skin cells? I’m staying tuned….

Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time December 21, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I think the Rottweiler part is a pretty good guess. I’m dubious of the Chow part and have been from the beginning. That classic Chow blueberry-pie mouth and tongue are really characteristic–a dominant trait–and even Chow mixes have some kind of mottling. I’m not sure about the Akita either because Akitas are basically Northern dogs, and they have the fur coats to prove it. But I think Akita is more likely than Chow, so I’m voting Rottweiler and Akita.