There is virtually no way to correctly place a specific content on an animal using the pedigree or percentage method of calculating wolfdog percentages. The content in a genotype is only as accurate as the lineage that is provided. DNA testing has not advanced to the point that it is 100% accurate and infallible when trying to place a wolf content on a wolfdog and is still lacking in scientific credibility when it comes to the database of markers. So we do not feel that it has taken the place of an accurate phenotype.
This leaves us with the complicated method of phenotyping which really is the combination of art and science. Phenotyping takes in all of the visible characteristics of a wolfdog including their physical characteristics such as body size, head shape, coloration, eye shape and color, and pelage. It also includes their locomotion, temperament, their general attitude and instincts. To do a comprehensive phenotype you need to have a thorough understanding of the parts of a canine's body; the standards for each of the dog breeds involved; canine anatomy; gaits and locomotion; canine behavior and motor patterns.
Indigo Mountain provides phenotyping services to animal shelters utilizing a 126 point physical evaluation from nose to tail in addition to background and behavior evaluation of the wolfdog. We prefer to do the assessment in person whenever possible.
Phenotyping from photos and videos can be very difficult since much of the technique is comparison and using points of reference for size. The camera angle can make legs, noses and heads look longer or shorter than they are. We receive many requests for a phenotype from a single photograph that doesn’t even show the entire animal. Many times the lighting is so bad that the characteristics are hard to identify.
We are happy to help shelter staff with photo phenotypes , but we do ask that you submit photos that will give us a clear view of the body from head to toe so we can include every characteristic we can.
Here are some examples of shots that help us do a thorough job:
Clearly see the chest structure, forelegs, head, ears and eyes
A tight head shot is good for looking at the stop, teeth, flews, eyes, ears and whiskers
For Shelter personnel needing a phenotype please call our office at 719-748-5550.