What Mix Is Your Mutt?
From Embark to Wisdom Panel , there are a variety of options on the market when looking for a DNA test for discover your mutt’s mix. What can a DNA test tell us and how are they helpful? I’m here today to share my experience and review of Wisdom Panel. My only comparison is no longer on the market, but I do recommend Wisdom Panel for ease of use and detailed results.
We rescued our mutt, Kota, in April of 2011. She came up to New Hampshire on a transport. I found her on petfinder and for some reason, I was drawn to her. Maybe it was that adorable face?
Lakota, now Kota, was found as a stray with her momma and 2 siblings. She would be making the trip up north with her sibling, Kira. My husband and I picked her up in a Walmart parking lot in Hudson, NH. We handed over an envelope of money and a man handed us the envelope below…. then he handed up this scrawny puppy while his arms were covered in scratches and blood. The man’s exact words were, “Good luck with this one!” (oh my!)
How Rescues “Label” Mutts
When we came across Kota on Petfinder, she was listed as a Siberian Husky Mix, medium sized dog that would be between 35-55 lbs. She was noted to be very calm and submissive – completely not the puppy that was handed over to us! At Kota’s highest weight she was 74 lbs. Her siblings looked more like Siberian Huskies as they were the dark and white with the masking and clear blue eyes. I loved her “unique” look and her markings. When shelters are naming dog breeds, they are not doing any kind of DNA testing. They are simply going by “educated guesses” of looks and possibly a bit of behavior.
Dog DNA Testing
Should you DNA test? Are they accurate? That’s all up to you! Yes, genetics always play a role, but there is also environmental and when you do rescue a dog, a lot of times their experiences early on have a direct impact on behaviors.
My advice: Take it for what it’s worth. DNA tests can offer some valuable benefits, from conditions that your dog may be prone to, or even genetic disorders that may come up in the future. Most of the tests these days are at least 90% accurate (so they say!). The tests are rather easy – a swab of saliva, seal it off and send it out…. and patiently wait for the results.
Which DNA Test Do You Choose?
I’m not here to tell you which test to choose, but I am here to share with you my experience. I first did a test with Kota after we rescued her in 2011. The name of the company was BioPet. I do have the results, but since they are no longer in business, I will share with you the other test five years ago. In 2017 I used Wisdom Panel for a DNA test. As I was considering the writing of this post, I went to the Wisdom Panel website and could no longer sign in. After 5 years, I thought they might have purged results from the past.
I reached out to Wisdom Panel this past Sunday to see if there was any way Kota’s results could be retrieved. Wisdom Panel gets extra points for customer service. They responded on a Sunday and mentioned that their site had been update since 2017. They would find Kota’s results (yay, they were still available!), send me a new login and I would have all of the information available. Woohoo!!! Tuesday morning I logged in and voila!
Wisdom Panel Breed Results
Wisdom Panel tests screen for over 350 breeds. The test was developed by leading geneticists and veterinarians. The test uncovers ancestry, traits, and key health insights to deliver unmatched value for pet parents. Can you guess Kota’s mix? The rescue was correct with the highest percentage being Siberian Husky at is 37.5%. (If you have interest in adopting a husky or husky mix, please be sure to check out my recent blog post: Are You Really Ready to Own a Husky?)
Alaskan Malamute came in at second at 12.5%. The Chow at 12.5%? That makes my head spin a little lol! Having been a dog trainer and worked with a few Chows…. they are more challenging, selective, and independent than huskies lol! And after reading the Chow characteristics, Kota fits those to a “T”, especially the, “independent spirit” and “reserved and wary with strangers.” Kota has a very small circle of trust, but once she lets you in, you’re her friend for life.
Some of the Siberian Husky Traits that Wisdom Panel mentions are:
- Active, social, friendly (Kota is actually aloof and very selective)
- Energetic and can participate in dog sports such as sledding, skijoring (pulling a skier) and carting. (When Kota was younger she pulled my husband and I on skis and also roller blades. She trained with my for running events.)
- Stubborn tendencies may be lessened by using reward-based training involving small treats and favorite toys. (yes, huskies ARE stubborn! Over the years I did reward based clicker training with Kota and she responded very well! No need for punishing methods. It’s all about connecting and bonding.)
- May engage in digging. (Give them a place to dig! Kota didn’t start digging until this last year after she turned 11- I can’t believe it’s her new “senior” behavior!)
Wisdom Panel gives a wonderful breakdown of each breed and some of the traits.
Further digging into this report is the 25% Breed Groups of grandparents. It looks like some wolf DNA is in the mix. That does not surprise me!
Wisdom Panel Health Results
After the breed information, Wisdom Panel lists Health Information, which is helpful! Kota was tested for the genetic Mulitdrug resistance 1, and has no copies of the MDR1 mutation and should not be affected by the disorder due to this genetic cause. The MDR1 gene mutation causes a defect to a drug pumping protein that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain). Dogs with the MDR1 mutation may have severe adverse reactions to some commonly used medications.
Also based on all of Kota’s findings, her ideal weight is between 47 lbs and 73 lbs. When she was younger she sat right around 68–70 lbs consistently. As we have battled some health issues with her, we are happy when she’s at 60 lbs. She has always been a “grazer” and eats when she feels like it. Sometimes, that isn’t until 6pm.
Where to get the Test
Are you ready to DNA test your mutt? I hope you found this review helpful! Be sure to check out Wisdom Panel for more info and how to obtain your test! Be sure to share the results. It’s fun to see, but please remember, it’s just a test! I refer to Kota’s mix as 100% unique!
Join the Circle
This post is part of a pet photograph blog circle and this week we are all sharing a little something about “mutts”. Please follow along and click on the link at the end of each post. Next up Dallas dog photographer Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography introduces you to a special pack of six rescue mutts known as The Black Dog Squad. I can’t wait for this!!! Enjoy!
Don’t forget this week I will be at Wine for Wags at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, NH! Stop by Saturday, July 30th from 11:00-3:00pm to visit! Hope to see you there!
Wow! Very interesting! I am glad you provided a lot of details about Wisdom Panel DNA because I didn’t (ha ha). I would say that Kota definitely looks a lot like the breeds that came up for her …and Chow Chow, well, Abby came up with a little bit of that too…so does that mean the Chow Chow dogs get around? Thanks for sharing!!!
Oh my gosh, Kota as a puppy! Too adorable. Yes, for once, a DNA panel actually matches what you see in front of you. So many times they can be head scratchers LOL. We did one on our Dingo years ago when they first came out (and the baseline data bases were ver limited). His results came back in the 3rd tier only for beagle and Dachshund for our 55lb cattle dog / pointer-looking dog. Hmmm, right. 🙂
Oh my gosh, that face!
I’m not sure ‘Good luck with this one’ is the best thing to say to a new puppy owner. hahaha
The DNA panels are fun and I think have good info. I think they are pretty accurate, but IDK about the Chows because they seem to show up in every DNA panel. lol
Great that Wisdom Panel DNA matched Kota’s traits closely! Love the photos of Kota as a pup.
oh my gosh Kota’s puppy photos – swoon! What a beautiful dog!
Interesting info on DNA testing. I have debated for a few years whether or not to get a panel on Billie and Luke. I may pusue after reading this. Love Kota!
DNA testing has come such a long way! I’m usually a pretty accurate guesser when it comes to “what breed is this dog?” based on looks, behavior and all of the good stuff, but every once in a while I get stumped. I love how your DNA profile is broken down and very precise. Also, Kota’s tail is definitely Malamute. =) She is a beautiful dog!