Written by Tiffany Gierke
Photography by Strike a Pose Photography
Kingston and Keith just love each other and play together so nicely. Both adopted from the SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and are the best of friends – they lick each other and are just super cute together.
Kingston is 12 years old and we adopted him from the Midrand SPCA. He was found as a stray wandering around Vorna Valley and was never claimed. We went looking for a long-haired dog as my husband is allergic to some dogs’ hair, particularly short-haired dogs. Kingston’s calm temperament and intelligent eyes drew us to him.
I was so nervous of him the first few days because I’d never had dogs before; however, I felt an immense love for him. Unfortunately, he became unwell and when we took him to the vet, we discovered that he had Canine Distemper Virus – and the prognosis was grim. I was devastated. I was not about to lose this beautiful boy! And so began all the treatments we could find, both medical and complementary.
The virus got into his nervous system and he was losing the use of his back legs. It was so bad at one point that I had to carry him on walks. But we wouldn’t give up.
We took Kingston to Tellington TTouch® therapy, had Reiki sessions and, finally, hydrotherapy.
I remember having to carry him to the tank at Bryanston Vet for his first hydrotherapy session. Six sessions later, he was walking unaided – and became a real water baby. From there he just got stronger and stronger. I think he felt the love and dedication towards him and fought to get better.
It’s now nine and half years later and Kingston is a love of our lives. I cannot imagine life without him. He loves walks, car rides and swimming; he charms everyone with his sweet nature and is a total rock star at the park (mostly because people are trying to figure out what he is). It was the constant questions about his “breed” that prompted me to have him DNA tested with MuttMix.
Kingston’s MuttMix Results:
Level 2 German Shepherd Dog
Level 3 Samoyed
Level 4 Yorkshire Terrier
I’ve always been aware of MuttMix as they feature on Dogtown/Barking Mad’s website, which I’ve supported in the past. My husband and I speculated that he was German Shepherd crossed with a Corgi as he has short legs and tan colouring. When we received the results, we were not surprised about the German Shepherd but shocked at the Yorkshire Terrier. It seems the short legs could be attributed to the Yorkie! As for the Samoyed, this was also a surprise at first but he does have the smile.
Keith is around two years old and we adopted him from the Randburg SPCA in November 2017, where he was recorded as being a Cairn Terrier mix. We wanted a companion for Kingston as my husband was no longer working from home.
I’ve always been a fan of scruffy terrier-type dogs and, when we saw Keith, I hoped he would get along with Kingston; we did a compatibility check and they got on just fine.
When we brought Keith home he was so nervous and took some time to settle in. Being, by now, more experienced with dogs, I let him be. Now he is my constant shadow.
Keith has a very athletic build and is really agile. This is something we are not used to, having Kingston who is a bit wobbly on his feet. He is also a very chatty and protective guy; when I get home from work, he tells me about his day, and when we’re getting ready for a walk or when it’s time for food, we get told to hurry up. He doesn’t bark when he chats but rather does a “rowr, rowr, rowr” sound. I still giggle at it.
Keith’s MuttMix Results:
Level 2 Australian Cattle Dog
Level 3 Brussels Griffon
Level 4 Siberian Husky
Level 4 Chow Chow
Based on his chattiness, I thought he had Schnauzer and, with his strangely shaped tail, I also thought perhaps he had Airedale Terrier genes. Well, we couldn’t have been more surprised with his results. The Australian Cattle Dog explains his athletic build and herding behaviour at the park. I’d never even heard of a Brussels Griffon, but he certainly gets his features from it! The Husky and Chow Chow genes are even more surprising although I understand they are very low percentages.
Has knowing this information changed anything? Not much with Kingston, but with Keith I know he needs to be exercised and stimulated a lot more than Kingston. I also understand why he does certain things, the herding and nipping rumps (!).
PS: Keith was supposed be called “Flint” after Prodigy singer Keith Flint, but my husband liked calling him Keith and so that’s what he responds to. I mean, who calls a dog Keith?!
Dominique of MuttMix says…
Kingston’s features are actually strongly impacted on by the Samoyed – note the “teddy bear” ears and fluffiness – and they do have shorter legs than most dogs. Keith’s curly tail can be accounted for in the Chow Chow, but his features are certainly dominated by the Brussels Griffon.
These two boys are wonderful examples of mixed breed heritage!