I remember the first time I saw our dog, Miles. My husband and I stumbled upon a rescue event in a local strip mall. I walked up to a pen where puppies were jumping all over each other and squealing with delight.
A light-colored dog with brown spots and a stubby tail caught my eye immediately. He was tugging on his sibling's ear.
"Pick up that one!"
I pointed to Miles, and my husband reached into the pen of puppies to grab him. The puppy squirmed and wiggled like a wild man. As his snout neared my husband's face, the pup gave a sniff and then a giant lick. My husband beamed with delight.
"He's a cute one, isn't he?" A woman from the animal-rescue organization approached us with a binder in her hand.
She told us that Miles was found in a shoebox on the pitcher's mound of a baseball field in Texas. He was 8-weeks-old. They weren't entirely sure about his breed, but they thought he was an Australian shepherd/golden retriever mix.
We signed some papers, and Miles was ours.
Throughout Miles' puppy period, we researched many articles and read a few books about the character traits of both golden retrievers and Australian shepherds. As Miles grew up and turned 1-year-old, we started to notice that not only did he not look like a golden/Aussie mix, but he didn't act like one either. Miles was insanely energetic. He was aloof. He was smart as a whip. We started to realize that the rescue organization took a wild guess about Miles' breed, and we really didn't know what he was.
To this day, when we take Miles on walks, strangers often ask what kind of dog he is. We smile and say, "a cute one!" before we go into detail about how we truly don't know.
We're always met with confusion. People tell us to buy one of those DNA kits online and test him. Everyone has a guess about Miles' breed. We've heard Brittany spaniel. We've heard beagle. We've heard hound. We've heard catahoola. We've heard it all, and we don't care.
Miles' breed doesn't matter to us. Yes, I'm sure it could help us dig deeper into his behavior. It might help us understand Miles in some other way, but we don't need to know his breed — because we love him the way he is. He's part of our family, and we're mildly (totally) obsessed with him ! He even has his own Instagram!
Knowing his breed now may lead us to read and study up on those breeds and view Miles' actions and behaviors in a different light. It might complicate things. And we're a happy family of three!
At this point, we're happy with telling people he's a rescue pup who we love very much. We're not sure of his breed, and we're not in a big hurry to find out.