Written by Ryno Mulder and photography by Strike a Pose Photography
I was volunteering at Maltese, French Poodle and Yorkie Rescue South Africa in Midrand at the end of 2016 when I spotted Gigi, a little white Poodle with big dark-chocolate eyes and an adorable button nose. We formed an instant bond.
Every time I visited, Gigi would be my partner accompanying me from kennel to kennel as I checked on the other doggies that had been abandoned. Shortly before Christmas I was so excited to be granted permission by kennel moms Alda During and Kerstin Fuchsloch to take Gigi home as a foster. Gigi has since only been back to MFPYR as a visitor. She is still the sweet princess my partner Max and I first met, but now has a lot more confidence and is quite the feisty madam.
Gigi’s past life is a mystery. She is young, based on her good teeth – Fourways Veterinary Hospital estimates her to be two to four years old. But there was no microchip and all we knew is that Gigi did not want to eat normal dog food, even the high-quality kind. No, she insists on joining regular family meals. Right from the get-go clever Gigi knew that our putting on shoes means we’re leaving the house. She is comfortable in cars and falls asleep right away. Our gorgeous girl goes everywhere with us and we usually carry her in chic handbags (which suit her very well). She absolutely loves her bag, as she knows we’re going to the shops or to a restaurant – and she’s coming too. Gigi was practically house-trained when she came to us and, within a few days, happily pottied outside. Although most people assume she is a French Poodle, some guess her to be a Maltese, or even have some Yorkshire Terrier ancestry. Her intelligence, elegance and sensitivity made me suspect otherwise. I had long been curious about the accuracy of genetic testing and researched it online.
Dominique from Muttmix was helpful and responded efficiently. Doing the test was as simple as swabbing a cotton bud on the inside of Gigi’s cheek. Muttmix didn’t see any images of Gigi before providing results. Although the results weren’t going to change how I feel about Gigi, I was excited about seeing them and finding out more about our little princess.
And they were spot on. We expected the majority French and Maltese genetics based on Gigi’s looks and behaviour. But the Pinscher and Sheepdog results explain Gigi’s curly tail and insistence on herding other animals (much to the annoyance of our two cats, Maya and Zoe).
Gigi changed our world and we can’t imagine life without her.
Gigi’s MuttMix results:
Level 3 Poodle
Level 3 Maltese
Level 4 Shetland Sheepdog
Level 4 Miniature Pinscher
Dominique from MuttMix says…
Gigi is a fascinating example of how even a small percentage of the DNA can impact on both physical and personality traits. Level 4 is between 10% and 19%, and when you consider that such a minimal contribution to the DNA has produced a curly tail and a herding instinct which, in turn, has created a beautiful dog that provides even more entertainment than was bargained for, it really does make you appreciate the uniqueness of mixed breeds!