My sweet Oliver


Written by Megan Griffiths

I’d never had a dog before – and no plans to get one, either – when I met scruffy little Oliver in November 2016 after having coffee at the SPCA café. 

He stuck out his paw for me to hold

The young wire-haired dog was utterly terrified and hid in the back of his kennel. I sat in the gutter in front of his kennel for about ten minutes, patiently waiting for him. He eventually dashed to the bars of the kennel and stuck his paw out for me to hold. 

He was shaking and completely distraught about the dogs next to him, but I just knew that this was the dog for me. 

He was about seven months old and was listed as a Wire-haired Terrier mix; we were sure he must have Shepherd in him too. Little did we know that, a year later, we would do a DNA test – and the result would come back: Cairn Terrier, Chow Chow and Wolf Hybrid!

A different dog

Today, Oliver is a different dog to the scared one that I first met. Although fearful when I first brought him home, Oliver was funny, sweet, loving and eager to please, and improved every day. It quickly became apparent that he’d been abused before, judging by his fearful responses to new people and sudden movements. 

While he became a very happy, relaxed and confident boy, he had some remaining issues like anxiety over new people. An animal behaviourist came to my home to help us and Oliver improved even more as I learnt techniques to help him cope with new situations. 

Everyone who meets Oliver absolutely loves him and says that he is the most intelligent dog they’ve ever met. The wonderful staff at the SPCA still refer to me as “the lady who adopted the clever dog”!

Oliver’s favourite things

To this day, he loves reaching out and holding hands. He also enjoys being brushed, playing with his ropes and squeaky toys, and doing training tricks. But his absolute favourite activities are going for walks, being chased around the garden, chasing monkeys and hadedahs, and digging holes.

His nicknames are FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and Bomb Squad – he refuses to miss out on anything and he inspects every letter, parcel or shopping bag that arrives as though he’s a sniffer dog. If he finds nothing for him, he will sigh or snort in disgust and trot off to sulk. Oliver is very entertaining, and I am fortunate that I work from home and get to have my best friend with me all day. He is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Oliver’s MuttMix results:

Level 2                      Cairn Terrier

Level 2                      Chow Chow

Level 5                      Wolf Hybrid

We always joked that he’s a wild dog, and when I found out about Mutt Mix, I thought his results might come back as part Basenji. While I knew Oliver would be part Terrier, hearing about his Chow Chow lineage was a surprise. I was really thrilled that his results actually reflected that he is part Wolf Hybrid, as this explains many of his amazing, unusual traits.

You see, you only get unique from a shelter! Rescue the homeless babies; Oliver is the best dog ever!

Dominique of MuttMIx says…

We’ve tested a number of dogs in SA for Wolf Hybrid DNA and NONE have tested positive, until now... and Oliver struts the first Wolf Hybrid result like he owns it! 

Not only do mixed breeds have unique DNA, they also have unique personalities! This is because of all the different pieces added by each breed – they won’t necessarily pick up ALL of the personality traits from each breed, but they do seem to cherry-pick the best ones, much like their physical appearance!