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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! :) We just adopted a beautiful 3 year old dog from a family that relocated and no longer had the time or space. Seneca is beautiful, but I am confused with her breed! They told us she is Catahoula/Aussie. What do you guys think?

Firstly, her ears point up. I've read that Aussie's can have that however are considered defect when they do. Not like I care, but maybe that's why her ears point up? She has an under and top coat. They groomed her. I can't wait to see her full coat in action. It is Aussie length. Her markings are marbled/spotted and solid. Brown, black, and some subtle marks of white. Cream/white on chest. At first I guessed maybe Heeler, but my in laws have Heeler/Aussie mixes and I know Heelers are speckled, not marbled.

Any help much appreciated. :)
 

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An Aussie/Catahoula would very doubtfully have prick ears like that. Too tall an order genetically speaking for dogs from a mix of breeds that tend to have either partial-prick or full drop ears.

I could easily see Aussie/Heeler, or Aussie/something else (maybe something a bit spitz-y looking). Only one parent would need to be merle to produce a merle puppy, and the body type is a little similar to heelers.

I don't see too much Catahoula, but it still could have some... I would doubt her being as much as half however. A lot of rescues and shelters and non-dog people - I mean a lot - will label any merle dog of otherwise unidentifiable breed "Catahoula", and it wouldn't surprise me if she were an example of that.
 

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My Australian Shepherd is half Catahoula (she was a farm-bred puppy, and the breeds of the parents were known), but aside from being larger than a regular Aussie and some trace behavioral traits, you'd never know because she looks like any old Aussie.

Prick ears are really rare in Aussies, but I doubt this dog is Cattle dog/Catahoula, either, because you say she has a longer coat normally.

I could see Aussie and ACD in this dog; maybe Catahoula in there somewhere, who knows? She's absolutely gorgeous though!
 

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My Australian Shepherd is half Catahoula (she was a farm-bred puppy, and the breeds of the parents were known), but aside from being larger than a regular Aussie and some trace behavioral traits, you'd never know because she looks like any old Aussie.

Prick ears are really rare in Aussies, but I doubt this dog is Cattle dog/Catahoula, either, because you say she has a longer coat normally.

I could see Aussie and ACD in this dog; maybe Catahoula in there somewhere, who knows? She's absolutely gorgeous though!
Not that it's totally on topic, but if I'm remembering the photos right I felt like I could see some of the Catahoula influence in your girl's head and jaws (and "smile") too. Though you're definitely right that if it hadn't been mentioned I (and many people likely) would have just thought she was an off-type Aussie. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have any of you heard of the breed Mudi? Someone else on a forum said she looks like that. Maybe that's it?! She does look very similar.
 

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She does look a lot like a Mudi, but unless you live somewhere where Mudis are common (which I don't think is an awful lot of places) I think it's more likely she's a look-alike mix of more common breeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She's from Louisiana and came to CA when her family relocated. I know they are a Hungarian breed and extremely rare so maybe that's not it. She does look so similar, though. I saw a lot of the black Merle's have the same design on their face where it splits right down the middle to the nose. Interesting. I think I am going to have to take her somewhere to get a DNA test done. :)
 

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I would say he definitely looks like a Heeler mix. Aussie/Heeler sounds reasonable, maybe with some Catahoula too. She's gorgeous. I don't think just Heeler/Aussie wouldn't give ears and face shape like that.
 

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Not that it's totally on topic, but if I'm remembering the photos right I felt like I could see some of the Catahoula influence in your girl's head and jaws (and "smile") too. Though you're definitely right that if it hadn't been mentioned I (and many people likely) would have just thought she was an off-type Aussie. :p
Not to get too off topic myself, but that's pretty cool. Catahoulas are 'around' here, but most of my ranching neighbors have BCs, Aussies, or ACDs so I'm not overly familiar with Catahoulas. Neat dogs, though.

It's funny, my parents were looking for another farm dog since our girl is indoors now and retired and they heard of a Catahoula nearby that might fit the bill but my dad wasn't really interested - he's had Aussies too long and thinks they walk on water; I don't think he'd have taken Lexy on if she wasn't part Aussie herself :)
http://www.dogforum.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

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She's from Louisiana and came to CA when her family relocated. I know they are a Hungarian breed and extremely rare so maybe that's not it. She does look so similar, though. I saw a lot of the black Merle's have the same design on their face where it splits right down the middle to the nose. Interesting. I think I am going to have to take her somewhere to get a DNA test done. :)
Mars, the candy company, owns the process for doggie DNA testing, so regardless of what 'brand' is on the box, it all goes to the same central data processing system.

You can buy test kits you can do on your own. The only reason a vet might get better results is that some consumers don't read or comprehend the instructions fully. It is important to follow the instructions related to preventing other pets from cross-contaminating the sample (you'd not want to swab you dog's cheek just seconds after he was play-biting another dog for instance, or sharing a food bowl)
 

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While the Catahoula of today has become much more houndy, in it's past it was actually a close relative of the generic collie type found on many farms in the USA, and it is regional differences in this generic farm collie type that gave rise to the Australian Shepherd and English Shepherd. So a dog with high percentage of Aussie that displays some catahoula traits may in fact be simply revealing genetic info it has been carrying around for dozens of generations. Sometimes important genetic differences in a dog breed are actually genes that shut off the expression of other genes, and when a mix happens, the shut-off function is neutralized (sometimes partially, sometimes fully) so 'old forgotten' genes carried around in a suppressed state come to the fore.

Structure-wise, I see Australian Cattle Dog or Kelpie, the non-black coloration may even be related to the red version of the ACD.

What does stand out to me is the black, and how distinct the line is right down the middle of his head. You may have dog that is a mosaic aka chimera.
 

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I hate hate hate the edit 10 minute restriction. By the time I typed and found good pictures it was too late to edit my first message

A chimera or mosaic happens when very very very early on two embryos that are each just a few cells contact each-other and fuse, the animal then develops normally but half its cells have one DNA profile and half the cells have another. With dogs and a few other animals it is possible to have two different male parents in a single litter, so it is possible for the two embryos to be 'half-siblings' rather than full siblings.

Chimera division normally shows up most distinct in the head and face, and then is blotchy all over the body. I'll see if I can find some pictures.

Genetic Chimeras: Are You Your Own Twin? - Lab Rat - Scientific American Blog Network

Dog Coat Colour Genetics

Mosaicism and Chimerism









here's a chimera dog, lab and husky parents. Look what happens when you do a mirror split of the right side of his face and a mirror split with the left side.







Bull the Black Lab/Yellow Lab chimera. Note that there isn't much black on his face, but where it's black above one eye there is a flat and sharp border between right side and left side.

 

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final note:

In some cases when the embryo is at the 2 or 4 or 8 cell point, something will go slightly wrong in mitosis. Some gene will break or mutate and then only some cells will have that mutation or abnormality. If the mutation is one that causes a physical difference...like melanin production (causing black fur) it is very visible. In this kind of Chimera or Mosaic it's not the case of two siblings merging, but a significant proportion of the cells have a different DNA program than the others.

This may actually be more commonly detected than chimeras caused by merging siblings, just because siblings will tend to look alike so an individual that is a mix of two different siblings won't have drastically different features and hence go undetected.

While sometimes the terms Mosaic and Chimera are used interchangeably (or Chimera for both effects) sometimes Chimera = single organism from two different embryos and Mosaic = single organism from one embryo, just with some mutation that happens in very early development and is passed down to a significant subsection of the individual's cells
 

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That is SO interesting! I'm reading up on the links you sent me also. Could it happen in more than one animal from a litter? Here is Seneca and her sister. (The original owners sent me all sorts of photos of her younger years). Her sister seems to have the same line on her face also!
 

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While the Catahoula of today has become much more houndy, in it's past it was actually a close relative of the generic collie type found on many farms in the USA, and it is regional differences in this generic farm collie type that gave rise to the Australian Shepherd and English Shepherd. So a dog with high percentage of Aussie that displays some catahoula traits may in fact be simply revealing genetic info it has been carrying around for dozens of generations. Sometimes important genetic differences in a dog breed are actually genes that shut off the expression of other genes, and when a mix happens, the shut-off function is neutralized (sometimes partially, sometimes fully) so 'old forgotten' genes carried around in a suppressed state come to the fore.
I'm still interested in where you're getting the information that the Catahoula known as such was originally closer to being a collie-type dog. In terms of historical labelling "Catahoulas" really have not gotten that much more houndy today in comparison to the oldest examples we have of dogs being so called, although with the implementation of registries purebred Catahoulas have more solidly coalesced into a single physical type. The oldest contemporarily labelled photographic examples or descriptions that I know of are around a century old (or slightly over or under), and overwhelmingly depict/describe distinctly cur-type dogs. Their modern vs. then-described working styles on game and stock also haven't changed all that much from what I've seen and according to what's recorded by working dog associations.

Unless you mean from even earlier, in which case it's accurate to say that Catahoulas have generic collie-type ancestors. But they are/were no more "originally" that type than they were "originally" hounds or "originally" molossers. That they have collie-type ancestors does make it less surprising when they, mixed with a dog with collie-like features, seem to absorb those features, producing for instance - and as in the case of Poppy's Aussie/Catahoula mix - a dog with a coat that is essentially full-length for an Aussie and otherwise resembles an Aussie overwhelmingly.

Leaving aside obvious observations about changes in prevalence of certain traits over time, Catahoulas as they are today have existed without a whole lot of significant phenotypic change (in comparison to many other breeds) for virtually as long as that label has been in use, as far as I know. They are much more likely to be bred exclusively for hog hunting now, but that has been precipitated mostly by a change in structure skewing them toward bully-type heads, not hound-like bodies or behaviors. And their talent as hog baying dogs is still quite dependent on desire to control the animal's movement without unnecessarily harming it - or what is colloquially known as "herding instinct."

American Leopard Hounds are a strong example of dogs from the same stock as Catahoulas being gradually bred into something more houndy. But neither Catahoula people, nor Am. Lep. people, nor the registries that keep track of the lines of one, the other, or both, consider them to be the same dog anymore.
 

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To add: I understand that Richard McDuffie, an Old-Time Farm Shepherd enthusiast, was of the opinion that "leopard curs" were mainly descended from collie-types. I also get the impression that you are an ES/OTFS fan and have probably read a good deal about and penned by McDuffie. What I am not sure of is why McDuffie's claims/opinions should be privileged when they are not strongly supported by the majority of Catahoula breed historians, many OTFS people, or existing documentation of the breed type prior to its registration in the mid 20th century. If you know of documentation he collected and where it might be made available, that would help.

In any case, as McDuffie did breed a farm shepherd to a rough-coated "leopard cur" he liked the look of, I should think it was very much in his interest to try and justify his decision - which was not necessarily look favorably upon by everyone into OTFS, then or now. On the other hand, given some lines' propensity for treeing, it has been suggested that many farm shepherd-type dogs were themselves more than a little hound by the time this intentional OTFS/cur breeding occurred in the early '90s.
 

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That is SO interesting! I'm reading up on the links you sent me also. Could it happen in more than one animal from a litter? Here is Seneca and her sister. (The original owners sent me all sorts of photos of her younger years). Her sister seems to have the same line on her face also!


sibling cats.

If, and this is a big if, certain individuals are more prone to forming a chimera...say they have a less than perfect uterus lining and tend to 'drop' fetuses, or if stress, or hormone imbalance, or environmental features cause either Chimera or Mosaic, then it wouldn't be surprising to find the same mother produce more chimeras or mosaics either in the same litter or other litters.

Also, the more I look at it, the more likely I think it is that most of the animals pictured are probably mosaics not chimeras. But it would be really hard to tell without testing, and not the kind of testing that the average doggie DNA tests would lead us to.
 

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Chimera markings sound so fascinating. I have a question... What if a merle or brindle dog has a nearly perfectly symmetrical face, but they have a line on their belly with different markings on each side of the line? Might that dog be a chimera?
 
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