At some point in my early childhood, I was told that I was Scottish. Or maybe I was told I had some Scottish in me. Whatever the case, I ran with it, and by the time the movie Braveheart hit theaters in 1995, I was telling everyone I was a full-on Scotsman. This was before we found out that Mel Gibson was a total racist piece of trash who should be forever shunned and never make movies again. But at the time, I was obsessed with being William Wallace – the long hair, the accent, the blue stuff on his face. He was a true son of Scotland, just like me.
Sure, my mom kept telling me I was mostly English and German, but that’s beside the fact. I mean, come on, my last name was Henderson, I had bushy eyebrows, and I liked plaid. How much more Scottish could one guy be? I clung to my kilt and have kept up the rouse to this very day. I still tell people I’m Scottish, which I know is probably not totally accurate. But I’ve never seen a DNA test that proves otherwise, and I’m not going to take one, because a DNA test could crumble my very identity.
That’s why I had mixed feelings when we decided to give our dogs a DNA test. See, when we rescued Oscar and Buttercup, the shelter told us that they were Huskypoos — a mix of Husky and Poodle. The Poodle part makes sense, they’re curly blonde fluff monsters that don’t shed all that much. They’ve got little black button noses, puffy facial hair, and when we groom them they look ever so fancy. But Husky? Have you seen them? Other than their tails that gently curve upward, and the fact that they love to run in the snow, there’s absolutely no indication that they have any Husky in them. Of course, a doggy DNA test would tell us once and for all, if they did.
But wait, I thought. What if being Husky to them was like being Scottish to me? What if they had already told all their doggy pals that they were big strong Huskies? What if they built their identities around the belief that they’re brave Arctic canines? Were we going to take that away from them and break their little doggy hearts?
That’s when Emily told me how stupid I was being, and we gave them the tests.
Administering the tests was much easier than I expected, just a little swab on the cheek and done. If you’ve ever done an at-home COVID test, this is easier. You just swab, pack, and ship.
We did have to register both test kits on their respective websites, but even those were easy to set up and pretty user-friendly. The dogs got yummy treats afterward and we got sloppy dog kisses.
The hardest part of the whole process was waiting for the results. The Wisdom Panel came back first, within a couple of weeks. The Embark results were posted to the website and either we missed an email about it or they didn’t send one, but we didn’t see those results for about a month. User error? We don’t know.
But we finally got all the cross-referenced results, and it turns out that our dogs are…
Keep reading like one of those recipe blogs that makes you scroll for two hours before revealing the recipe…
Oscar and Buttercup are…
The shelter was right! According to Wisdom Panel, these little shooshies are 34% Husky and 25% Poodle, with some other breeds in there as well: 10% Shih Tzu, 9% Aussie Cattle Dog, and 8% Chihuahua. Wait, Chihuahua??
Embark has the Husky/Poodle percentage flipped: 37% Poodle and 29% Husky. It also picked up Australian Cattle Dog (12%), Lhasa Apso (6%), and what they call Supermutt (15%)
And there’s more! They have siblings! There’s a sister out there named Brie and another named Lana, who lives in Long Beach!
Should we invite them all up to the farmhouse and have a Huskypoo reunion? I think so! Would it be like a normal family reunion with watered-down lemonade and awkward small talk between relatives who aren’t close? Or would it be a fluffy dogpile of siblings? Who knows!
One thing’s for certain, we can finally sit our dogs down, that is, if they’ll sit on command, and inform them that they are, without a doubt, Huskypoos. And if they want to keep telling other dogs that they’re full Husky, we’re fine with that too. It’ll be our little secret.
Photos by Kaitlin Green