Rocky, Chip, and Brownie were brought to the Helping Hands Humane Society (HHHS) in Topeka following the death of their mother. Rescuers didn’t have much background information on the three puppies. They just know they need help and that’s enough.
The puppies are only about a week old and need to be bottle-fed, so they are taken in with foster families so they can get the attention and care they need. When they first arrived at the rescue center, all three puppies looked alike. However, as the three siblings began to grow and each developed their own unique personalities, they also began to develop their own looks.
“Looking back at the pictures now, we started seeing differences when the boys were about 3 weeks old,” Emi Griess, communications coordinator for HHHS Topeka, told The Dodo. “Brownie’s coat is longer and silkier, Rocky’s coat is rougher, and Chip still looks like a little chihuahua. At about 6 to 7 weeks old, we can easily see how the three of them look to each other Very, very different.”
Soon, the puppies are all grown into themselves—and it’s hard to tell they’re actually related.
“I was absolutely shocked,” Grace Clinton, director of business development and special events for HHHS Topeka, told The Dodo. “I couldn’t believe they were from the same litter. I’d never seen anything like this before.”
Of course, the rescuers couldn’t help but share the shocking compatriots online, and the internet soon went crazy over the trio. Some couldn’t believe they all came from the same litter, and some went on to try to explain the phenomenon. Regardless, the brothers got everyone’s attention — and they soon got the attention of their forever family, too.
“The boys’ foster mother works at Hill’s Pet Nutrition and always brings one or more of the puppies with them during virtual meetings,” Gries said. “They quickly became very popular conference guests, and both Chippie and Brownie were adopted by Hill’s co-workers! Rocky was adopted by a former Hill employee, so the boys are occasionally reunited.”
Once the boys settled into their new home, the family decided to run pet DNA tests on each of the wildly different dogs to find out exactly what breed they were. Rocky (who looks like a Yorkshire Terrier) hasn’t gotten results yet, but Chip (who looks like a Chihuahua) and Brownie is back and it’s absolutely fascinating.
Chip’s results were 22% Silky Terrier, 19.8% Poodle (miniature), 16.1% Yorkshire Terrier, 13.2% Chihuahua, 8.6% Pomeranian, 6.9% Russell-type Terrier and 13.4% Supercross dog. Brownie results were 19.9% Yorkshire Terrier, 17.8% Silky Terrier, 17.4% Poodle (small), 16.6% Chihuahua, 12.3% Dachshund, 7.7% Pomeranian and 8.3% Super Mongrel.
Based on how the dogs looked, the results seemed to make sense – to all involved, it was crazy how three dogs from the same litter could grow up to look very different.
“There are three different genes that determine a dog’s coat style,” Chip’s father, Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn, a small animal veterinarian and chief professional veterinary officer at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, told The Dodo. “One is the length and one is curl. , and one is the ‘garnish’ (whiskers, bushy eyebrows, and wire-haired type), which is present in 95% of dog breeds. The combination (mixing) of parental and parental gene expression makes this possible.”
Now that the boys are adopted, their forever families can confirm that while they may look very different, they have very similar personalities. All three dogs love to befriend everyone and animals they meet, and they are also very fond of travel and adventure. They might not look like brothers, but they sure are, making the whole situation even cuter.