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Discussion Starter #1
I recently adopted a Lab mix. I know the mother is 100% pure breed, but the breed of the father is a mystery. How important is it to know the father's make-up? OK, I'm dying to know out of curiosity (where did that white patch come from?). But will it be important for health history, etc.?

Also, I see Amazon sells DNA kits. If I opt to do it, is that DIY path too iffy, and should I just go with a Vet?

 

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DNA breed tests seem to be improving but they aren't exact or anything so they are mostly for fixing curiosity. Breed wouldn't likely tell you much about health anyways. Wisdom Panel is the main breed dna test, seems as reliable as anything else. Most vet genetic tests are for things like the MDR1 gene that can cause dangerous responses to some medicines.

My guess, that short coat and those eyes have some bully background but those large joints seem to indicate something big like great dane.

By the way, links in signatures aren't allowed so you might want to edit that out :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
My guess, that short coat and those eyes have some bully background but those large joints seem to indicate something big like great dane.
Hmm. Her weight right now is at ~34 lbs, which (if you believe http://www.puppychart.com/) puts her on the low end of the Labrador range, at a little more than 50 lbs. There might be some malnutrition in the works there, too (they were feeding her cheap adult food, and not enough of it), but I wonder what that might say.

Here's another full body pic:

 

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Lots of us here have done Wisdom Panels on our dogs. It's not exact, but it is fun, and I've found them to be pretty accurate. There are always stories about someone who got results that were clearly wrong, but they do offer a retest or refund if you get something like that. I did two of my unknown unidentifiable mixes and once I read the results things about them started to make sense. I think they do a black friday sale for Wisdom Panel for like 50% off, too.

My guess on her breed would probably be the father is a pit x shepherd mix. I rescued a pit x shepherd pup years ago and she looked almost exactly like that, just without the lab features I can see in your girl.
 

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Hmm. Her weight right now is at ~34 lbs, which (if you believe http://www.puppychart.com/) puts her on the low end of the Labrador range, at a little more than 50 lbs. There might be some malnutrition in the works there, too (they were feeding her cheap adult food, and not enough of it), but I wonder what that might say.

Here's another full body pic:

In that photo, I see bully x lab a LOT.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
In that photo, I see bully x lab a LOT.
You know... playing with her earlier, I was seeing a lot of that in her face. Not a bad combo in my book. She's expressing a lot of the Lab temperament, though. You should have seen her doing the zoomies tonight! I love how she runs on those lean long legs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
My guess on her breed would probably be the father is a pit x shepherd mix. I rescued a pit x shepherd pup years ago and she looked almost exactly like that, just without the lab features I can see in your girl.
Thanks! Oh, man. If she has shepherd in her in addition to pit, I would love that even more.

Incidentally, I've heard that mixes like these experience fewer health problems, bypassing some of the in-breeding issues that tend to plague pure breeds. Is there any truth to that for most cases? From the point of view of mixing it up, genetically speaking, it makes sense, but I've always wondered if it really works that way: will they get less ear problems, fewer hip problems, and so on?
 

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Incidentally, I've heard that mixes like these experience fewer health problems, bypassing some of the in-breeding issues that tend to plague pure breeds. Is there any truth to that for most cases? From the point of view of mixing it up, genetically speaking, it makes sense, but I've always wondered if it really works that way: will they get less ear problems, fewer hip problems, and so on?
This really depends on whether the breeds mixed in are healthier breeds. If you mix a couple of notoriously unhealthy breeds, you just get a dog that potentially has the problems of both component breeds. And you're not, say, reducing the overall risk of hip dysplasia if the component breeds are all dysplasia-prone. The best way to get lower rates of hip dysplasia is get a dog with a known family history of good hips, and/or a dog from (a) breed(s) where hip dysplasia is uncommon. Similar story on most congenital health issues.

That said, truly muttly, mix-of-a-mix dogs (as opposed to designer dog or deliberate backyard breeder types) are generally comparatively healthy, for a few main reasons - one, there's often a survival-of-the-fittest element there, and two, they tend to be moderately sized with moderate features, which reduces the problems common to tiny or giant animals, and those associated with exaggerated features (e.g. extreme brachycephaly).
 

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Thanks! Oh, man. If she has shepherd in her in addition to pit, I would love that even more.

Incidentally, I've heard that mixes like these experience fewer health problems, bypassing some of the in-breeding issues that tend to plague pure breeds. Is there any truth to that for most cases? From the point of view of mixing it up, genetically speaking, it makes sense, but I've always wondered if it really works that way: will they get less ear problems, fewer hip problems, and so on?
A very large study was done about the health of mixed breeds versus purebreds not long ago. Link: http://www.instituteofcaninebiology.org/blog/health-of-purebred-vs-mixed-breed-dogs-the-data

Genetic disorders differed in expression. No differences in expression of 13 genetic disorders were detected between purebred dogs and mixed-breed dogs (ie, hip dysplasia, hypo- and hyperadrenocorticism, cancers, lens luxation, and patellar luxation). Purebred dogs were more likely to have 10 genetic disorders, including dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. Mixed-breed dogs had a greater probability of ruptured cranial cruciate ligament.
So yes and no. You're likely to avoid inherited genetic issues like DCM, cataracts and thyroid troubles. You're just as likely to run into hip dysplasia or cancer (and potentially more likely because I'm assuming your puppy is already neutered). You're more likely to have a cruciate tear.

If you're concerned about health issues and potential medical bills, there are plenty of threads on the forum that have information about dog health insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
<<Posted some great info>>
<<Posted some great info>>
Thanks, you guys! I didn't know that neutering increases rates of cancer. My puppy (a she) isn't fixed yet. I probably will, unless I find a really great dad candidate to pair her with.
 

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Thanks, you guys! I didn't know that neutering increases rates of cancer. My puppy (a she) isn't fixed yet. I probably will, unless I find a really great dad candidate to pair her with.
Whether you decide to spay her or not, please don't breed her. You don't know anything about the health of her parents or what health problems may appear in her over time nor do you know the temperament/personality/mental stability of her parents and grandparents

Plus pregnancy has its risks for the female dog and unlike many humans, dogs don't feel any "need" to have puppies from an emotional point of view
 

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+1 no breeding on this (lovely) pup. I'd go ahead and spay her when she's old enough, personally. (when her growth plates close - after one or two heat cycles)

I also see bully x lab - but I agree with the suggestion there might be something larger in there too. Hard to tell scale - and it looks like she might have a little brindle? Or is that the light? Whatever the case, she's adorable.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Whether you decide to spay her or not, please don't breed her. You don't know anything about the health of her parents or what health problems may appear in her over time nor do you know the temperament/personality/mental stability of her parents and grandparents

Plus pregnancy has its risks for the female dog and unlike many humans, dogs don't feel any "need" to have puppies from an emotional point of view
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. I was leaning heavily in that direction, if nothing else, because she'll be mellower when spayed.

+1 no breeding on this (lovely) pup. I'd go ahead and spay her when she's old enough, personally. (when her growth plates close - after one or two heat cycles)

I also see bully x lab - but I agree with the suggestion there might be something larger in there too. Hard to tell scale - and it looks like she might have a little brindle? Or is that the light? Whatever the case, she's adorable.
Thanks! The more we interact, the more she burrows into my heart. My wife, who was hesitant at first (she doesn't like larger dogs), is pretty smitten, too!

And yes, I see some of that off-black, very dark brown (brindle) you mention, but I can't tell if it's dirt or real color. I'll tell for sure once I bathe her (or attempt to) this weekend. Wish me luck!
 

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Females are not mellower when spayed, except for not having the hormone fluctuations they get when in heat. A spayed female is just like a female who isn't currently in heat.

But yeah, you probably want to spay when she's old enough to prevent lady issues that tend to pop up when they're over a certain age.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Females are not mellower when spayed, except for not having the hormone fluctuations they get when in heat. A spayed female is just like a female who isn't currently in heat.
Well, the one female (a Cocker) I've had before must have exploded this truism like a nuclear bomb. I know it's hard to isolate entirely due to age also mellowing a dog, but we waited far too long to spaye her, not until she was 3 1/2, and we saw a marked difference almost at once. She had the same personality, but without the bouts of unruly and aggressive behavior. And yes, those tended to come around the time when we started to see spotting all over our back patio concrete, but not always.

But yeah, you probably want to spay when she's old enough to prevent lady issues that tend to pop up when they're over a certain age.
Except for cancer, apparently... So many things to worry about, and so little we can do or know to do about them. ;)
 

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Except for cancer, apparently... So many things to worry about, and so little we can do or know to do about them. ;)
Well, with female dogs it's something of a trade-off. Mammary cancer is extremely common and spaying drastically reduces the risk of that one, for example. (Male dogs don't really have a known significant health upside to being neutered like females do.) Personally I think the net benefit of spaying a female dog outweighs the negatives, especially if it's not a pediatric spay, but that's an arithmetic for the individual pet owner.
 

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Well, with female dogs it's something of a trade-off. Mammary cancer is extremely common and spaying drastically reduces the risk of that one, for example. (Male dogs don't really have a known significant health upside to being neutered like females do.) Personally I think the net benefit of spaying a female dog outweighs the negatives, especially if it's not a pediatric spay, but that's an arithmetic for the individual pet owner.
It's really breed dependent. Spaying early also increases risks of hip dysplasia, cruciate tears and obesity.

In a breed like Rottweilers, for instance, who are prone to all of the above plus osteosarcoma, I'd risk a late spay and monitor closely for mammory tumors. Mammory tumors are semi-treatable. Osteosarcoma is not. Same with Goldens, Great Danes, and other osteo-prone breeds.

For other breeds less prone to osteo, it's more of a question mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well... today I took two more pictures, and man, she's got all kinds of looks depending on how you look at her and which way she points. From the first photo, you can see all the Lab she's got, and from the second, I'm wondering if she's more Doberman Pincher (I see it in those eyes) or similar breed. She's got the long lanky frame for it.


 

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Discussion Starter #20
Honestly, I still see labXbully.
Not that I would mind it, as I indicated before. But she's so narrow, both in the head and in her body, more so that a Lab, even... I'd expect a stockier frame if she had bully in her. Maybe it is there, but there's something else, too. Man, she's really got me fascinated and puzzled.
 
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