Mixed Breeds, DNA Tests & Burnham Terriers

For years I have helped friends and clients make up names for their mixed breed dogs. I find it fun, and makes for great conversation. I think I was first introduced to this concept years ago when I volunteered for the service dog organization. One of the founders had the funniest looking dog named Dixie. Dixie probably went to 100 or more demos a year! Her owner eventually got sick of her “just” being a mutt, because Dixie was so much more. She became know as a Great Icelandic Shepherd. It made her much more dignified and seemingly more significant.

I think this is also seen with our Doodle culture. Here we have a purposely bred mixed breed. People spend thousands and thousands on mixed breed dogs. In many situations these dogs are being produced just to make money. There are Doodle breeders out there doing health checks, and raising great puppies but it is few and far between. The other thing we are starting to see is the English Cream. An English Cream is just a Golden Retriever who happens to be very light colored. No it is not a new breed! English Cream name has such a level of splash that Golden Retriever doesn’t.

Now we have theses great new DNA tests for all dogs. They are now different tests for designer mixed breeds and pure bred dogs then the guess the breed tests. This way you can test to see if your dog is truly the breed you were sold. If not then what? Who knows. These tests can helpful if you live in an area that bands certain breeds and you are trying to prove that your dog is not a pitbull. Otherwise these tests seem to just be fun entertainment.

I ran Bueller’s DNA. Sadly, it was a bit of a rip off. I learned that one parent was half Pomeranian, other then that it was ALL mixed breeds, every generation. At least that explains the curly tail and barkiness. So truly Bueller has no breed, as we already knew he is a breed within himself.

Recently in Costa Rica they were having a problem with too many mixed breeds languishing in their shelter system. People just were not interested in mixed breed dogs. So some one came up with the great idea of running the DNA on some of theses dogs. From that DNA they started to make up breed names for these dogs. Then the shelter group went on a local morning talk show showing off all of their Collidors, Dobesschnauzer, Fire-Tailed Border Shepherds and such. Facebook blew up with people wanting these unwanted dogs! People were now using these new names to refer to the dogs. Hundreds of dogs lives were saved by giving these nameless mutts a breed name.  Here is the video talking about the project: http://vimeo.com/68726839

So we now come to what is a Burnham Terrier? A Burnham terrier is a small terrier type dog, weighing between 10 and 20 pounds. A rough coat is preferred, but a wire and even smooth coat are allowed. They are primarily white with tan markings. Some black (or tri-coloring) is allowed but should not be prominent. They should have a naturally long tail that curls up and over their back and rests on the side. They should be tenacious with small rodents and game but kind and affectionate with their families. They are easily trained and do require a fair bit of training to focus their high energy. Aggression is not to be tolerated. Sounds pretty cute, huh?

Bueller is a Burnham Terrier, which is a totally made up breed. Why Burnham Terrier? Well I went through a number of names but settled on this one. At first I was going to use an Native American tribe name that lived in Wisconsin. Most of those names were too hard to pronounce or spell. I mean really, I already have a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, that is hard enough to explain. The Milwaukee Area Animal Control is on Burnham Ave in Milwaukee. His crate at he Milwaukee Animal control was the first address I knew for him. Then there is the fact Daniel Burnham is such an important part of Chicago history which I love. I am truly a Chicago girl at heart. Then a terrier because that is what he looks and acts like most of the time. So we had it, a prefect breed name for a perfect little scruffy mutt!

I love telling people he’s a Burnham Terrier. They seem so impressed. Sometimes I even have to tell a back story to convince people. Over the last 7 months I have perfected the story. Every now and then I feel guilty that I’m not being 100% honest with people. Then I remember that he is truly to even a mix of any certain breed. He’s a breed all in himself. He’s the cutest Burnham Terrier you will ever meet.

Just go check out Instagram and see what I mean by searching #burnhamterrier.

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