March 18, 2014

Doggie DNA Test: What Breeds Make Up Your Mix?

We rescued our sweet Maggie late last fall from our local humane society. When we found her, they had her listed as a "Lab/Retriever Mix" and because my husband had wanted a lab for oh, about 20 years, we jumped at the chance to give her a new home!

We have, of course, fallen head over heels in love with her, but over time it has become abundantly clear that she is NOT a lab/retriever mix.




ADORABLE! Love that puppy face!
Those floppy ears started standing up most of the time. She started showing a stubborn streak that wasn't typical for a lab. So we started to guess that she was a pit bull / lab mix and we started calling her our little "PITADOR."


It seems silly, but we (and when I say WE, I really mean I) started to really wonder what kind of dog she was. I found lots of information on-line, but it was all just a guess. She has a block head, but not quite as blocky as a pit, we thought maybe some hound because when we go for walks her nose is to the ground the entire time.


Why does it matter? To me, there were a handful of questions that I really thought were important.
  1. How big will she get? She's not a huge girl, and labs typically are big dogs. At around 8 months old she weighs 48 pounds. When you think about it, dog food labels base how much food you should give a dog on their adult weight. If you have a dog that will weigh 80 pounds when they are fully grown, you feed them differently than a dog that will weigh 50 pounds.
  2. In training her, what behaviors should we be aware of? What types of challenges can we expect from her? Some dogs respond well to strict training and others are more stubborn and require a more reward based training. 
  3. Most importantly, how can we best work with her to keep the peace between her, Copper, (our Sheltie) and our 2 cats. 
When I found out about Wisdom Panel, a company that does breed identification DNA testing on dogs, I had to know more! According to their website, www.wisdompanel.com,
"A dog’s ancestry can influence him in surprising ways. Obvious and not-so-obvious physical traits plus behaviors like digging, herding and barking all come from the various breeds in a dog’s family tree. Once an owner understands a dog’s natural tendencies, it makes it possible to create a tailored training, exercise and nutrition program to fit his one-of-a-kind needs."
EXACTLY what I was thinking! After some emailing back and forth with their PR folks, they agreed to send me a free kit in exchange for sharing the information on my blog and I couldn't wait! The kit came in the mail in just a few days and I got started immediately!


It was a simple process, really. The directions were easy to follow and surprisingly enough, Maggie didn't give me too bad of a time when I used the little mascara like brushes to swab between her cheek and gums. After letting the swabs air dry for 5 minutes, I put them in the envelope that was provided, resealed the box and sent it back.

Just a short time later, our results arrived! It can take up to 4 weeks, but ours only took 10 days. The first image that I saw when I clicked to view the report made me laugh out loud!


American Staffordshire Terrier - definitely! But Siberian Husky? Shiba Inu? And what the heck is a Vizsla? 


American Staffordshire Terrier is generally the same thing as a pitbull and makes up the majority of Maggie's DNA profile. The size is about right, and look at that pic of the dog in the middle above. Is she smiling? We have had some trouble with her and Copper getting along and we've chalked it up to them establishing dominance, but now I'll definitely be researching how to better work with her.


The Siberian Husky is crossed with a mixed breed , as is the Shiba Inu and the Vizsla, but she definitely has behaviors that come from each! Remember the hound that keeps its nose to the ground? That's the Vizsla! She's also shy around strangers, loves water and is a darn good retriever.


We also received predictions about Maggie's adult weight, and it's a huge relief to me knowing that she is nearly full grown. I've never had a large breed dog before and it's been a challenge to train her to walk with me without pulling me. I can't imagine what I'd do if she was to get much bigger!


Overall, we received 12 pages of information and every page was so interesting! Of course we know that she is a true MUTT and who knows what really makes up our little Maggie Mae, but we learned so much about what we can expect and what we can do to better train her. In addition, we have more information to provide to Maggie's vet so that he can better care for her in the future.

Typically, the Wisdom Panel Breed Identification DNA Test costs $79.99, but I found it available on amazon.com for $64.99. The experience (in case you can't tell) was a lot of fun for me and I think it would make a great gift idea, too, for any pet lover who wonders about what makes up their mutt!

I was provided a free kit by Wisdom Panel in exchange for promoting them on the blog, but all opinions are mine. 

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16 comments:

  1. I got the same test for my pup when I got her last year. Man, she is a lot of dog breeds! I think it is fun knowing. Though they said she didn't have any shepherd in her history, and she looks a lot like a German Shepherd. Not sure if it is 100% accurate (or even 80%), but it is totally fun, none the less!

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    1. So you got a surprise too! There are so many dog breeds that have the same characteristics that I can imagine there are a lot of folks that are surprised by their results. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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  2. I think "Just plain adorable" should be considered a breed!

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    1. Awww... So true! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Maggie is super cute! I rescued a pup last year and am getting his DNA analyzed through Wisdom Panel now. I'm so excited to find out what he's made of. I expect him to have American Staffordshire, too. Whatever the results are, I love him more than anything! I really enjoyed reading about Maggie. -Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris, I'm sure that you're like I was and just can't WAIT for your results to come in. Maggie is the best, so if yours has Am Staff in him you are lucky! Will you come back & let me know when you find out? If you go to my Facebook page you could post a pic too - that would be great. I'd love to see him!

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  4. I too always wanted a lab and I finally got her when I adopted our Kylee who was noted to be a lab/chow mix. As she grew up, we noticed she doesn't like water very much, she certainly doesn't like to retrieve as she prefers to be chased, and she pulls like heck when we go for a walk. I decided she must have no lab in her whatsoever, and is probably a border collie/husky mix (since she likes to pull us down the street). The curiosity got to me, and I ordered the Wisdom Panel Breed Identification. Guess what? She's a lab/chow/mutt mix!

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    1. Funny! Labs & Chows are usually so laid back! As for the pulling, Maggie does that too. I found that if I have the leash go down between her front legs and out the side (instead of just coming up from the back of her neck) she doesn't pull much at all! I went from holding her leash with 2 hands to holding it with one finger! Plus she doesn't choke like she did when she was pulling. Let me know if that helps!

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  5. I have also used this test for my dogs, both og which are rescues from shelters. I was told both were Australian Shepherds when I adopted then. The first, a blue merle, was tested and came back 1/2 aussie, 1/8 collie, 1/8 West Highland, 1/8 Cavalier and 1/8 mutt. At first I did not think this was totally accurate until I adopted my second and he came back as pure bred Aussie (and I used the mixed breed test as I only knew what the shelter said). There are enough differences between them that I can know see it likely is accurate. I also like that they do not ask for pictures with the tests.

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    1. I'll bet your Aussie mix is beautiful! And of course your purebred Aussie, too. They are wonderful dogs! It IS great that they don't ask for pictures or anything. DNA tells the whole story! Thanks for stopping by Mary Anne!

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  6. Got my WP results back today on my rescue and they were fairly straightforward, ending in a perfect half Russell Terrier and the other half a Pomeranian/mix. So cool!

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