2018-08-31 / Commentary

Pure Bloodlines and Such

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

A recent Buick commercial managed to gain attention by making fun of people who own mixed breed dogs and claim they are some exotic new pedigree. During the ad, after discussing the Buick being sold, the car owner refers to a dog as a poodle. The dog owner replies; He’s actually a Golden English Labra-Irish Bernedoodle Retriever, with the temperament of a pug. I had to double-check just to be sure.

The ad got rave revues from people who have issues with dog people who need to feel superior by claiming their mixed breed dog is something special, and was created as a special hybrid.

I get nasty letters from those folks every time I question the idea of giving cute names to mongrel dogs for vanity’s sake. I’m sure this time will be no different. I’m just glad others feel the same. No one likes being lonely.

I readdressed that issue after an incident in Beaufort one recent evening. Suzy and I were walking home from dinner one night during our visit and saw an approaching couple with a couple of dogs.

The man was walking what appeared to be a Belgian Tervuren, a dog one of Suzy’s friends has owned.

I tried to impress him with my knowledge, only to be admonished. I was informed the dog was obviously a Shiloh Shepherd, something I’d never heard of.

When doing research, if one can call web searching research, I found site after site offering dubious information about Shiloh Shepherds; nothing I want to get into a fight about. When Wikipedia warns viewers about the questionable content of an article, you have to be cautious. Suffice it to say Shilohs are not recognized AKC dogs, but also do not appear to be intentional breed mixes with a cute or noble name.

The original breeder claimed to only be trying to restore the German Shepherds from her childhood memory by mating shepherds with unknown other breeds. Fine, it’s still a dog. I’ll take the ones I already have. None have cute combo names.

All this comes at an interesting time for me. I recently finished reading an article in Discovery magazine about human ancestry. I’ve always wondered if the myriad gyrations associated with owning pure bred dogs, and not so reasonable facsimiles, are linked to humans and the need to prove one’s own bloodline superiority.

It now seems obvious, after studying DNA from ancient humans, and our ancestors who weren’t quite yet human, we are no more than mongrels ourselves. Many of today’s humans have Neanderthal DNA. There’s only one way to get that.

In addition, in a story about Yeti sightings, an explorer linked the ability of Sherpa guides to withstand high altitudes to a DNA strand that originated in Denisovans, one of the more recently discovered hominids. They’ve even found evidence of a Neanderthal and Denisovan mix. There could be more; we just don’t have any other species to extract DNA from yet. Stay tuned.

I’ve always felt having a loyal dog is sufficient for us all, as is being the best human we possibly can. Anything else is just posturing.

Now science seemingly agrees.

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