This little mutt has a huge personality to match his oversized ears.

By Claudia Guthrie
July 14, 2021
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oscar and owner lying on couch
Credit: Courtesy of Harry McAlister and Sara Parelhoff

I grew up with a mutt, and I say that with affection for mixed-to-the-max breeds everywhere.

Freckles was named after the small black spots that dotted her gray snoot, and with her brown fur that repelled water, fluffy tail that curled up over her back, and triangle-shaped ears that sat tall on her head … to this day, we have no idea what she was. My family came to describe Freckles as a husky/collie mix, but veterinarians speculated other breeds (possibly chow chow? Maybe Saint Bernard?) were hidden somewhere in her genes.

Such is the story for rescue dog parents everywhere, including Sara Parelhoff and Harry McAlister, who adopted Oscar the "corgi mix." But there's one advantage Parelhoff and McAlister have that I didn't in the early 2000s: doggie DNA testing.

Digging Into the DNA

At-home dog DNA testing is easy: You order online, swab your pup's cheek (though they might think it's a treat and try to chomp on it), and send the saliva sample to a lab to be tested. It's a lot like 23andMe for humans.

"I think that's the tough thing about having a rescue dog; you just don't know where they came from or what they experienced before they were with you," Parelhoff says. "So I think as much information as you can gather is going to help you be the best dog parent and help give them the best life."

With Oscar's big ears, red fur, and long body, Parelhoff and McAlister had some speculations: Was their good boy a corgi-Aussie-cocker spaniel? To be better pet parents, they decided to get answers to their guessing game.

Meet the "Chipoolacockie"

So, this is awkward … Oscar the sorta-kinda corgi isn't a corgi at all. Instead, he's a Chipoolacockie: The American Kennel Club's newest registered breed (OK, not really, but with those good looks it should be).

That stout bod comes from his Chihuahua, miniature poodle, and Lhasa Apso ancestry. That red fur? All cocker spaniel and Irish setter. And there's some toy fox terrier, shih tzu, Mi-ki, and Polish lowland sheepdog mixed in for good measure. Altogether, an adorable doggie DNA cocktail.

"If anything, this will make us better parents to Oscar because we'll put him on even higher of a pedestal for being so unique and wonderful," Parelhoff says.