Question of the Week, June 12

Huck, the 6 1/2-year-old mystery mutt in question, knows nothing about his ancestry. We asked him.

Meet Huck. He’s a pound puppy I adopted nearly six years ago in Boise, Idaho.

I can tell you lots of things about Huck. He’s built like a horse and uses his long legs as bludgeons when wrestling with other dogs. He’ll eat almost anything, kibbles to compost. Mountain biking and backcountry skiing are his favorite activities, but he won’t turn down a good nap session and he doesn’t like to get out of bed early in the morning.

One thing I can’t tell you about Huck is his breed.

The Idaho Humane Society told me he was a German wire-haired pointer and border collie mix. Given that the average border collie could walk underneath him, it’s unlikely he has much of that lineage. Based on the input of his veterinarians I’ve started telling people he’s an Irish wolfhound-Lab mix.

But who knows? It’s been a mystery, but recently I gave him a DNA test, provided to the News&Guide by Embark, one of the producers of the tests. Unfortunately, the results didn’t come in before press time, but see the sidebar for information on how you can guess what he is and win a prize, as well as find out the results once they’re in.

Knowing Huck’s genetic makeup is a curiosity for me, not a necessity. But for some dog owners, the breed assigned to their new family member at the shelter can have serious consequences.

“There are unfortunately cities with sweeping legislation against all bully breeds,” said Amanda Penn, general manager at the Animal Adoption Center. “In addition to pit bulls that includes boxers and bulldogs. It can be hard to adopt anything with a short muzzle.”

Jackson lacks such legislation, and Penn said people here are open to owning all sorts of dogs, including those seen as undesirable in some places. That being said, some breeds seem to be more popular.

“Around here we see a lot of working dogs like heelers or shepherds, and that’s what people want,” Penn said.

Read more about Huck (and DNA tests) in Peak Pets.

If you think you have an idea what he is, head on over to our Instagram. We've got a contest going on: If you have the closest guess, you'll win a $25 gift card to the local pet store of your choice.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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