March 12, 2018

Potcake Mystery Mix: Genetic Testing with Royal Canin

Boca is, officially, a Royal Bahamian Potcake - a mixed-breed dog native to the islands of the Caribbean - but what breed mixture actually makes up a Potcake is anyone's guess. Potcakes can vary widely in appearance, from longer-haired shepherd-types to short-haired, houndish dogs. One fascinating aspect of street dogs is that certain characteristics are apparent all over the world. Boca looks very much like some pictures of street dogs in India that I've seen, and she is smaller than the typical Bahamian Potcake. A recent study attempted to make sense of the Potcake puzzle, and determined that the gene pool of island dogs included a multitude of breeds both ancient and modern. (Some of the dogs used in this study came from the same shelter as Boca!)

When we were approached by Royal Canin to see if we wanted to review their new Genetic Health Analysis DNA testing kit, we excitedly seized the opportunity. The GHA testing kit provides breed results from 250 possible breeds as well as a detailed health snapshot which identifies over 130 genetic mutations.  I have used DNA tests in the past for Ruby and a previous dog, Lasya, and find them to be not only fun, but advantageous in understanding behavior, energy and management needs.

I'm usually fairly adept at correctly guessing the components of mixed breed dogs and love to play along any time I see a "Guess the Breed" game, but Boca has always had me stumped. She looks adorable medium-sized dog! We've been asked by multiple people if she is a Basenji, and based on size, coloration, and the wrinkles she sometimes has on her forehead, as well as the graceful arch of her neck, if I had to pick one breed she most resembles, it would have to be a Basenji.

Boca came to Colorado as a 4-5 year old dog who had lived in a shelter in The Bahamas for approximately one year. I therefore have very limited information about her previous health history. Longtime readers may recall Boca's 'Ocular Ordeal,' which perplexed several top specialists in our area, so any insight into other potential risks that we can manage ahead of time will be incredibly valuable, not to mention the fun of learning Boca's breed make-up!

The process of having Boca tested was very easy - especially since she seems to enjoy trips to the vet! We had a pleasant drive to the our awesome vet's office, she waited patiently for her appointment, happily posed with our fabulous vet tech Heather, placed herself on the scale to be weighed (exactly 33 pounds if anyone is asking), and willingly followed the staff to an exam room where they swiftly drew a blood sample. This blood sample was packaged and shipped to the Royal Canin lab, and soon after we were notified that it is being processed!

I can hardly stand the suspense and bet there will be some surprises in Boca's unique island ancestry. We'd love to invite our readers to play along - what breeds do you think Boca could be comprised of? Comment with your guesses and we will be back to share the results in a few weeks!

If you are interested in testing your own dog, ask your veterinarian about the Royal Canin Genetic Health Analysis.

This post is sponsored by Royal Canin. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Royal Canin's Genetic Health Analysis test, but Rubicon Days only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Royal Canin is not responsible for the content of this article.


  1. First - great choice in Vet Clinics - Parkside is our clinic of choice as well! :D Secondly, our beloved Simba was a basenji/blue heeler mix. She looked very much like a basenji (and had all the basenji traits) but also had freckles. I would guess your Boca has some basenji in her as well. What fun to find out. :)

    1. I love Parkside! For many years I was unhappy with my vet and it has been such a blessing to find a clinic where everyone is kind and knowledgeable.

      Basenji shows up quite a bit in that Potcake study I linked to in the post, as well!

  2. I was amazed at the diversity in appearances of the dogs used in the study you cited. Somehow I had expected that all potcakes looked more or less like Boca. Hah!

    My sheer guesses for Boca (after reading the study): basenji, chow, spaniel, terrier, heeler. Looking forward to hearing the results!

    Chris from Boise

    1. Interestingly, Boca looks more like other street dogs around the world than the particular Potcake population she came from! (although there are plenty that look like her in The Bahamas as well, it is just a diverse group as you say).

      Waiting for the results is like waiting for a holiday present!

  3. My sis iter and I adopted 2 Potcake from a the same litter abandoned at a shelter in Sardinia, Italy! Could it be that the ISLAND feature is what creates these amazing, loving, smart dogs?

  4. My sister and I adopted 2 potcakes from the same litter abandoned at a shelter in Sardinia, Italy! Could the island feature be the common factor in this magical mix? Ciao


Thanks so much for visiting The Ginger Sisters at Rubicon Days! We enjoy each and every comment and love getting to know our readers.