We have a dog. Her name is Maeby and we got her from a shelter. As a result, we have never known her exact breed, although we moved our guesses around from Sheltie (but she doesn't bark much) to Corgi (but she has no herding instinct) to Beagle (she always tries to track things, but she is terrible at it). We never got any closer to being sure.
For Natalie's birthday, I got her a Bio Pet Vet Lab DNA Test. It was $60 and it was fun.
Before I reveal the results, they were really interesting, and we were waaaay off. A lot of her characteristics come out in the breeds given, so I don't doubt the results at all.
Here are the results sorted by percentage of ancestry:
20%-36% Saluki. Look at that Maebyface! Salukis are sighthounds (hunt by sight) and Maeby goes INSANE if she sees a squirrel. She is also very reserved and slightly aloof:
20%-36% Scottish Terrier. Short and squatty, prone to weight gain.
10%-19% Chow Chow. No desire to please their master... need a reason to do what you're asking. Maeby's reason is green beans. She likes them.
10%-19% English Springer Spaniel. Natalie is obsessed with this breed. Maeby got the freckles, nose, eyes, and white tip of her tail. Mixed with the Saluki sighthound, the stalking instinct kicks in sometimes and she'll point and stick her white-tipped tail in the air (bred so that hunters can spot the dog in the brush).
>10% Pekingese (gremlin?). These next 3 are trace amounts, so we don't see too much of them in her. Fortunately for us, these last breeds help a lot in that she doesn't shed much.
>10% Poodle. Lack of shedding + smart. :)
>10% Shih Tzu. Not sure about this one.
So there you have it. Hope you have been enlightened to some of the intricacies of dog breeds.