Written by Tracey Laubscher
Photography by Mike Reid-Robertson and Jacques Joubert Portraits
Our story starts in August 2013 when my husband, Chris, and I began discussing the idea of adopting a dog. I wasn’t so sure as I’ve always been a cat person (famous last words), but hubby was desperate to have a dog in our lives.
After one particularly bad day at the office involving a cup of coffee spilled on a laptop, I closed up shop for the day, made some tea and settled back into bed for a bit of Facebook scrolling...
Meant to be
Who knows how these things happen, but something just made me click on Project Dog Durban’s page. The first picture I saw was a box of adorable puppies all up for adoption.
One in particular caught my eye – a real cutie right in the front of the box with a black patch over his left eye. I was in love! I sent the photo to Chris; by the next week our home check was done and we’d adopted our first dog!
As they say, the bug bit, and, not long after Django’s arrival, we decided to open our home to another fur baby. And so I contacted Project Dog Durban once again. I’d seen a pic of this messy-looking, wild-eared crazy pup and couldn’t get her out of my head; I knew from her picture that she’d be my baby girl. We set off to view her at her foster home and came home that same day with our little Julie.
Fast-forward five years and we’re now a happy family of seven (two humans, two dogs and three kitties). And, yes, everyone gets along perfectly!
Django is a sensitive and intelligent dog – this boy loves his ball or rope, learns so quickly and talks to his humans. He’s a loud yawner and real bed hog! He’s a character of note with the most expressive face; you can see him processing every single word we say to him. For some reason he’s nervous of cardboard boxes, and I can only assume this is from when he was a pup in that cardboard box in the picture I first saw.
His favourite things to do are chase his ball, play hide ‘n’ seek, chase monkeys and snuggle on the couch with his dad. He’s been known to shred furniture when left outside if we ever go out (he is, after all, an indoor doggy and likes to remind us of this fact). He’s such an easy-going dog who knows he’s handsome… He started out with a single patch on his left eye, but, over the years, more and more spots have appeared, which led us to think that he must have some Dalmatian in his genes.
We were super excited to find out his breeds through MuttMix – especially because of his spotty coat!
MuttMix results for Django:
Level 3 Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Level 3 Boston Terrier
Level 4 Samoyed
Level 4 Australian Cattle Dog
From a looks perspective, we were shocked to learn that Django didn’t have any Dalmatian, but perhaps the Australian Cattle Dog explains his spotty coat. Whilst we always thought he had some Pit Bull Terrier in him, this was obviously the Staffordshire Bull Terrier coming through. Samoyed threw everyone in terms of looks, but when you read about the breed’s behaviour traits, it makes sense. Regal, intelligent, affectionate, talkative dogs with intense herding instincts… that’s our boy, Django!
A complex little girl, our Julie is very selective about whom she wants to be around. We call her our coffee-stain dog as her markings are a pale brown and it looks like someone has spilled coffee on her. She’s a real girly-girl and is most comfortable hanging out with the girls. Every now and then she meets a man she likes, but it takes her a while to open up. She loves her dad, of course, but that took lots of hard work from his side. She’s fiercely protective of her mom, alert and brave, protecting her home and her family with such dedication.
Julie is a smiley girl and knows when we’re talking about her, wagging her tail even while she appears to be sleeping. She loves all our cats and will roll around playing with them (eyes closed to protect them from the claws!), snooze with them in her bed and lick their faces to say hello whenever they enter the house.
Julie is also a tough girl who survived Canine Parvovirus as a baby, and she shows her hardy nature when confronted with other dogs (she’s definitely the boss). Yet under all that tough talk she’s a real little snuggler who’ll happily find a spot on the couch next to her human.
MuttMix results for Julie:
Level 3 Belgian Malinois
Level 3 American Staffordshire Terrier
Level 4 Bullmastiff
Level 4 German Shorthaired Pointer
Level 4 Boxer
Julie’s results had us puzzling until we read up on the breeds’ personalities. We guessed she had some terrier in her but thought perhaps Jack Russell Terrier due to her size – but it turns out it was actually American Staffordshire Terrier! Her strongest breed connection is the Belgian Malinois, which lists herding-type behaviour traits such as heel nipping, circling and chasing, which she does with all of our cats and sometimes even people. They also list protective instincts and inherent loyalty to their family, which is 100% Julie.
Mixies are special
Using MuttMix has been a really interesting exercise, and it highlighted how special mixies are; they’re made up of all these different dog types with unique personality traits, markings, behaviour quirks, etc. Knowing the breeds in our dogs doesn’t make us love them any more or less; it just helps us understand certain things a bit better.
I think it’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter the breed – dogs have so much love and happiness to give, and they all deserve love and happiness in return.
We found MuttMix through a local trainer in KZN called The Dog Guru Behaviourist and Trainer (Mandy Barrett), and we’re so glad we did the tests! Apart from being fun to find out what made up our little mixies, learning about their personalities based on specific breeds within them really has helped us to understand their behaviour quirks. It was such an easy process and was so exciting to wait for the results. #crazydoglady
Dominique of MuttMix adds…
The Australian Cattle Dog is definitely responsible for the ever-increasing spots on Django, and both Julie and Django are great examples of breed mixtures creating a completely unique dog that doesn't necessarily look like any of the breeds in their DNA, but the combination creates a stunning dog with uber-personality!