9th May, 2019

Written by Natalie de Villiers

Professional photography by Caroline Hartley Photography

Aside from being mad about dogs, I’m a very active person – I love running, cycling and generally pushing myself physically. Therefore, my search for a running buddy – as well as “my dog” – started. The only place I ever looked was the Animal Welfare Society in Helderberg, a rescue being the only option for me.

When a post came up on my feed about a little pup that was “rescued from being sold at a traffic light”, I was hooked – there was something about his face that really captured my heart. When I went to collect him, I remember walking down the path at the kennels to the very back. He was in an open cage with another unfortunate pup (if only we could have taken them both) – I’ll never forget picking him up. I’m sure I heard him sigh as he settled into my arms, a solid weight. The deal was done.   

He’s been a pleasure to train, so quick and eager to engage his brain. He’s devoted and loyal to me – an exceptionally good watchdog and protector (mainly to me – not so much the wider family).

My best running companion. When we used to go trail running together, he’d wait for me when I needed to tackle a tough obstacle/climb – almost trying to “carry” me through or over it. He watches me in the morning to see if I put my running clothes/shoes on. He even knows where I keep my gym clothes, and I just have to open the drawer in the morning and he’s there, sniffing and watching and waiting. Recently, I’ve had to hang up my running shoes due to injuries – but now he waits for his daily fast walk with as much anticipation.

Max’s excessive barking, dislike and mistrust of everyone who’s not family has prevented me from doing agility training with him (something I know he’d excel in), or even taking him to social places (markets, etc.). He goes from zero to red in a matter of seconds and seems to see everyone and everything as a person of suspicion. As for chasing things… bakkies and bikes beware! He keeps me on my toes! What he endured in the first two to three months of his life before I found him – I have to wonder.

It was in an effort to understand and resolve his behaviour that prompted me to find out what breeds make up this special boy. That and his constant suffering with allergies and his constant scratching that I battle to manage. I’m hoping that now I have more specific details on his various breed traits, I’ll be able to work more proactively on both of these areas.

I was absolutely shocked to get Max’s results! None of the breeds that I suspected “lurked” under the surface featured at all! His crouching to herd oncoming dogs seemed like Border Collie, and his persistence and hunt drive indicated some kind of terrier?

Max’s MuttMix Results:

        Level 2 – Basenji

        Level 2 – Boxer

        Level 4 – German Shepherd Dog

However – the traits discussed in both Boxer and Basenji (a breed previously totally unknown to me) are true to him, no doubt (as are GSD). I'm hoping that now that I have more specific details on his breed traits, I'll be able to work more proactively from here.

Highly intelligent, still a puppy at heart, devoted, my protector and my constant companion. He’s my shadow – at my feet and by my side always. He’s that dog that waits at the gate for me to come home.

He’s way too smart, stubborn and sneaky – but THE best dog I’ve ever had the privilege to call mine!

Dominique of MuttMix adds…

Basenjis are known for being high-energy dogs who are extremely protective of their humans, as well as there being a chance of dermatitis, which is where the allergic scratching could come in. Adding that to the bouncy Boxer and the highly intelligent GSD makes Max a very special guy who needs a very special mom!