Mixed Results: Researching Your Dog’s DNA


It never fails: Every time I take my senior dog Otto into public, people ask what breed he is. And I have to smile and shrug. My standard answers:

“He’s a Disney dog!”

“He’s an Oroville Chickenhound!” (He was found as a stray pup, about four months old, in someone’s chicken coop, and brought to my local animal shelter. When I adopted him at the estimated age of 7 months, I couldn’t believe that such a cute pup had been languishing there for three months. It may have had something to do with the fact that his cage card indicated that he killed chickens.)

Mostly what I say is, “He’s very mixed.”

However, this tend to make people ask “Why don’t you get one of those DNA tests that tell you what he is?”

And I have to say, “I have! Five times! And the results are mixed!”

Otto’s DNA Journey

Mixed Results: Researching Your Dog’s DNA

In 2009, I sent Otto’s DNA to the two companies that seemed to be the most reputable at the time, Wisdom Panel and Petco’s Canine Heritage. The technology was new and the results were a sketchy on details, but both companies detected Chow Chow and Border Collie. Wisdom Panel thought there was also German Shepherd and Basenji; Canine Heritage thought there was also some Poodle. I thought any of that was possible, with the exception of Basenji.

In 2016, I planned to write an updated article about DNA tests, and I again sent Otto’s DNA off to two companies that offered mixed-breed identification, just to see what they had to say.

One of the companies was DNA My Dog. Its results agreed with my “very mixed” assessment, but the breeds they suggested that might be present bordered on ludicrous: Collie, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, English Setter, and Norwegian Elkhound. Given the rural and economically depressed area in which Otto was found, I think it’s unlikely that any of those four breeds have ever set foot in the area—or at least not in the same generation!

The other company I sent a sample to in 2016 was Wisdom Panel. Shortly after the company received the sample, I received a message indicating that they recognized that they had tested the same dog previously, and that they would test the new sample anyway. Cool! That lent the endeavor credibility.

Wisdom Panel’s 2016 results offered a lot more detail than in 2009. “Basenji” had disappeared (it had been pretty unlikely), and the previously detected Border Collie, Chow Chow, and German Shepherd were still present. However, topping the list were two breeds that had not been reported by any of the companies previously: American Staffordshire Terrier and Australian Cattle Dog. At that time, the company didn’t offer estimates of the contributions of potential ancestors by percentage; instead, it offered a theoretical family tree. Otto’s showed no possible purebred ancestors until at least the great-grandparent level.

I think I might have written a blog post about the results, but I know I didn’t get around to writing a feature article about DNA that year.

Some New Information

In 2018, I asked one of our contributors to write an updated article, instead. I revisited the Wisdom Panel website, knowing that they promised to occasionally “refresh” their results as their technology improved. I also sent a sample of Otto’s DNA to a new player on the mixed-breed identification block, Embark.

In 2018, Wisdom Panel was expressing the contributions of various breeds in the dogs’ DNA as percentages. All of the results in Otto’s 2016 report were the same, but percentages had been added. They indicated that there were about equal amounts of Am Staff, Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Chow, and German Shepherd in Otto.

This was very interesting in light of the results I received from Embark’s 2018 test of Otto’s DNA. Its results were very similar—with a notable exception. Embark identified Otto’s bully breed ancestor as American Pit Bull Terrier, and also indicated that he was more APBT than anything else, as much as 21.2%! This company also found Cattle Dog, German Shepherd, Chow, and Border Collie in Otto, but added some Labrador.

While I have to admit that I’m looking forward to any future testing or updates available, I’m going to stick with calling Otto “very mixed.”

Has anyone else had your dog tested by different companies? How did your results vary?


  1. I have a dog, Dolly, who is a “purposefully bred” mixed breed. I lost my two beloved English Mastiffs to cancer at 6 and 7 so I opted for a “designer Mastiff” a cross of 62.5% Boerbel (sp?) 12.5% Great Dane, 12.5% Dogo and 12.5% Anatolian Shepard.
    We have a small horse ranch in the country with little contact with neighbors so a livestock guardian/working dog seemed perfect. She is healthy at 4.5 years but is very strong willed and very independent…not very trainable. Last winter we had a cougar attack on a horse and multiple days with fresh cougar tracks near the horses and goats. The attack occurred at night when Dolly was sleeping by my bedside. I remember her barking in the middle of the night and telling her to be quiet…. I let her out eventually and she ran into the dark barking all of the way. The next morning one horse had large scratch marks across her face and on her rump but was otherwise okay.
    I haven’t decided if my nearly 200 pound designer mutt dog is from heaven or hell… but I do love her, and feel safe when she is with me out in the bush.

    • Kathleen – she sounds like a great dog to have on an isolated ranch! Glad your horse survived. As you know the percentages of breeds in her, it would be very useful to have her tested by multiple companies to see how accurate their testing is. Wonder if Whole Dog Journal or someone else could fund the testing as it is pricey and then do an article/review. Comparing a known mixed breed to their analysis would be very instructive.

  2. a huge ssue with DNA tests for dogs is that most breeds ARE composites of other breeds ( for example, a purebred Great Dane IS a dog who originated from Mastiffs and greyhounds…so a mixed breed dog who has , say, a Dane grandfather might test as having Mastiff and Greyhound instead of Great Dane.
    That said I have two very mixed Brazilian mutts — one is probably a 100th generation all-mutt and I’d be curious to see what they come up with, but just don’t have the disposable income.

  3. My boy, Tango, was tested by 2 companies, one which was totally in left field and later admitted they did not have enough samples to test what I needed for a hound dog. However, I used Wisdom Panel in 2012 and in 2017 and they changed their assessment to what I think is believable. They always found Border Collie and American Foxhound. The former year they also said two other breeds, Dachshund and Smooth Fox Terrier. I found the Weiner dog impossible to believe. However, in 2017 they came back with only 2 breeds, 50% each, American Fox Hound and Border Collie. I tend to believe this result. Of course I will never know the truth but this is what I go with. Tango is 10 now. I doubt I will ever do another test for him. But I hope the science gets more accurate in the future as I am sure it will. I find it extremely fascinating.

  4. Have never done it, probably never will. I have one who is a total mutt, every one who meets her is convinced she must be part… “insert breed of your choice” here. I always just say that I have the ultimate designer dog, one of a kind, okay more like one out of 5, she did have siblings that were all rescued together, Regardless, her mama was spayed and so the mold was broken and there won’t be any more like her. . My second dog is a terrier mutt, maybe I’ll have it done on him just for fun.

  5. I had my mixed breed dog done by two different companies. I can’t remember who they are now. I believe thaqt one was the Wisdom panel. That one was the most accurate, I believe. y dog came back as up to 75% Maltese, up to 25% Chihuahua and up to 25 % Border Collie. My Brendan almost looks like a Westie if you don’t really know what a Westie looks like. He has a white coat (Maltese), The ears and tail are Chihuahua. He weighs 17 pounds so how can he be those breeds? The 17 pounds come from the border Collie. He also herds me when he comes in from outside. I cal him my Malchibor!

  6. Effie is fifty pounds short legged big frame dog with a long haired blond coat. Appearance of a giant Cairn Terrier. Wisdom panel said 25% each German Shepherd Whippet Siberian Husky 12% chow. No terrier. She is beautiful and the subject of many comments and questions when we walk. She was a rescue from a shelter near Los Angeles so we think someone was breeding dogs fo tv commercials or the movies

  7. We recently rescued a senior “mutt” from a shelter who had been picked up as a stray. He was described as a “terrier cross” and looks exactly like a neighbor’s purebred rat terrier. We sent in his DNA to Wisdom Panel and it came back 3/4 chihuahua and 1/4 mixed groups of hound, terrier and Asian. It also claims there is 1 purebred dog in his heritage (terrier). I am definitely questioning the legitimacy of these results as to be 3/4 of anything, wouldn’t one dog have to be a purebred? And chihuahua is NOT a terrier Further, he is an underweight 15#; at healthy weight will likely be 18-20#. I want to order a test from a different company, and would like to know which is the most reliable (without breaking the bank).

    • That sounds like a likely mix.

      Those pure breds would be up in the Great Grandfather range. Many dogs identified as rat terriers are really chiuahuas. And chihuahua crosses are almost as prolific as pit bull mixes.

      You can get a 50,25,25 mix with two parents that are half of the same thing. So a Lab/golden and a Lab/Shepherd can result in a dog that is half lab, but didn’t have a pure bred parent. If three of the grandparents were each half chihuahua, you might get 75% chihuahua with no pure bred until up in the great grandparents. And one of those great grandparents could be a terrier. Maybe even a rat terrier.

      All of the family trees are best guesses. The percentages can be off a bit, but for the most part are close. The technology is getting better every year.

  8. One caution: dogs that share water bowls may cross-contaminate swabbed samples, leading to some confusing conclusions on heritage.

  9. About 10 years ago, I had my 100 pound dark gray dog tested. It came back German Shepard Long haired Dachshund. Um, no.

  10. We adopted our newest dog from a breed-specific rescue because we wanted another Rhodesian ridgeback (we’ve had a few). We knew the dog we adopted was a mix, but we love her and so at Christmas I gave myself the gift of a DNA test for her from Embark. It came back zero ridgeback, haha! We love her and don’t care that she’s half Doberman, quarter GSD and quarter mastiff. She definitely has many traits similar to a Doberman, and at 16 months and 93#, I can say I believe there might be a bit of mastiff in there, too. 🙂

  11. Have had all 3 of our most recent southern rescues tested. Mostly what was expected, and some unexpected results. We did it out of curiosity, but also to be aware of any possible genetic problems regarding diseases and medications to avoid. We used Wisdom Panel.

  12. We went through Wisdom when we tested our boy Loki. He’s a rescue from a local GSD shelter but he’s huge and we wondered what else was in there. It came back that he’s 66% GSD and the remaining 1/3 is evenly split between Great Dane and Great Pyrenees. All of them make perfect sense given his size and behavior.

  13. I tested my dog, Wilbur, through Wisdom Panel about 10 years ago. The results came back as 12.5% each of Bernese Mountain dog and Dachshund with smaller percentages of Doberman, Bull Terrier, Mini Bull Terrier, Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Alaskan Malamute. A recent test from Embark pegged Wilbur as 30% lLabrador Retriever, 14% English Springer Spaniel, and smaller percentages of Chow, Akita, GSD, Golden Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and “suoermutt”. Wilbur came from the county shelter in Redding, CA, where he had been picked up as a stray, so the Embark results make more sense to me.

  14. At 3 months, I was told that Scout was an Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd mix.
    I would’ve bet the barn that yes, she was ACD, maybe Border Collie or McNabb. I decided to have her DNA tested and the results came back that she was ACD and Lhasa apso! And the test said the Lhasa apso was a large part of her heritage, which is not evident at all.

  15. i’ve purchased quite a few of these for-profit tests but feel most comfortable with Darwin’s Dogs (DNA testing for UMass study about how DNA influences appearance, behavior and health). Their results for all 3 of our dogs seemed to be the most through (and believable!)

  16. Help me out here: I thought there was no such breed as “Pit bull” yet Embark uses the term. (I remember the WDJ article of a few years back that discussed the problems and dangers with shelter dogs being labeled “pits” when in fact they might have no Am Staff type genes.) But they are the only ones who do. This is disturbing because I have an acquaintance who got a new puppy, told her rental management company and they immediately asked for a DNA test. No doubt they are looking for a “pit bull’ result so they can label the dog or fine her or make her get rid of it.
    Shouldn’t I let her know not to use Embark lest she might lose her precious puppy?

    • There is a breed called American Pit Bull Terrier but it is not recognized by the AKC. There is also the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully. American bully breeds are different than the English bully breeds.

    • I don’t believe the management company can require a DNA test unless they are willing to pay for it.

      When the puppy gets its shots and is licensed, have her declare it a “labrador mix”. Once that is on the license they can’t do anything about it. I doubt animal control will require a DNA test. They usually accept whatever the owner identifies as the breed.

      I believe Embark is the most accurate. There is no way to be sure that Wisdom won’t also list American Pitt Bull Terrier. Insurance companies do not like German Shepherds, Rottweilers or Chows as will as all of the bully breeds. Chances are one of those is going to come up in a mutt mix, even if it is a small percent. So if she has any DNA done she should keep it private and just put “Lab mix” on the license. Labradors are acceptable dogs to insurance companies and rental companies.

  17. My dog was tested as a puppy in 2009 and it came back 25% rottweiller, APBT, and staffy and 75% mixed breed dog.

    I always identify him as 100% pure-bred American Shelter Dog, including on his dog license!

  18. My mixed girl’s results came back with a huge percentage undetermined, which was hugely discouraging. But the Pekenese threw me since she’s a long legged girl my other dog can walk under. So we tell people she’s an “All American Mule Eared Wonder Dog”.

  19. I don’t care if my dog is 99.99 % shit breed I love my pound pup dog!!!! So those of u that must know pay for your DNA tests it doesn’t really matter you will love your pup just the
    SAME!!!😊. It is good to know i guess for future medical purposes if any arise. I can understand that! Just keeping loving that mixed breed pound pup like it was a $2000 papered one !

  20. I had my dog’s DNA done when the tests first came out for home use. I paid about $50. Cheek swab. I don’t remember the company but I did get percentages but no family tree. As soon as I saw it I could see the breeds. While I’m not sure about some of the minor percentages his two biggest contributors were apparent; Boston Terrier and Afghan hound. He had the body of an Afghan Hound except for the ears and the coloring and gait of a Boston Terrier. He loved to run and was definitely a sight hound. He would bark at the birds perching above on the electrical wires. When he ran toward me I saw Boston Terrier. I even saw a few Dalmatian polka dots in his white parts. He lived to be 14 years and 9 months.

    Now I have Diana pawPrints. I did Embark on her along with the medical. She is completely clear which is reasuring. I expected her to have pit bull and she does. The rescue said lab mix and she has no lab at all. But she does have large parts of German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. Embarks matches them to dogs who share DNA and she is constantly having German Shepherds come up as cousins and half siblings so I guess her Dad or Grandfather is still actively breeding.

    When my parent got their puppy I had her done with Embark as well. Explained a lot. Still some pit bull but also boxer. I suspected it. Also cocker spaniel, German shepherd and down in the supermutts a Blue Lacey coonhound. That explains her extensive vocabulary. He large variety of vocalizations delights my Mother who calls her her little coonpuppy.

    I had their previous dog down with Wisdom panel and it was straight out easy. 75% Labrador Retriever, 12.5% Golden Retriever and 12.5% white German Shepherd. Well, that explained her coloring. Think a labrador with German Shepherd coloring.

    They have and are all outstanding dogs. All very healthy, long lived and with great temperaments.

    Dog DNA has come a long way and getting better every year. Now that they can test for genetic abnormalities and medical issues I would recommend going the whole hog and getting the complete medical panel. Dolly came up as having an issue with tests so something for the Vet to watch for. No genetic problems, just that the tests might not be accurate. That is good to know. I had both Dolly and Diana’s tests sent directly to our vet and they are in their files for reference. The best thing about knowing the breeds is that some breeds tend toward certain medical problems so knowing the breeds can help to identify a likely problem if something comes up.

  21. I haven’t had my dog tested with multiple companies, but I did use Wisdom Panel earlier this year and was quite impressed with the results. I adopted him from a local shelter in January – he is clearly a purebred Rough Collie, so I wanted to have him tested for the MDR1 mutation that is very common in Collies. My vet suggested the Wisdom Panel health assessment, which also scans for over 150 other genetic issues. The breed assessment was included, and came back 100% Collie, which didn’t surprise me. The analysis of genetic markers for various physical traits, including coat color was the part that got me. He has an unusual coat pattern – and the analysis described him pretty accurately. (He is primarily white with a tri color face)

    I lost a dog about a year ago that I really intended to have tested – he was a shelter pup, and I was constantly asked what kind of dog he was – my favorite response was “he’s a GOOD DOG!” He was a sweetie, unfortunately our battle with cancer was brief and the cancer won before I even thought about a cheek swab…but that’s okay – he will forever remain my Good Boy!

  22. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. It’s just amazing to see the different results you got back from all five DNA tests. We still need to do a DNA test on our one dog still. We hope to do that soon. We hope your having a wonderful day so far.

  23. We adopted Izzy from a shelter almost 3 years ago, and were told that she’s Shar-Pei and Newfoundland. Her appearance backs that up perfectly, with her big round snout, heavy body and short legs, and her lustrous, wavy black fur. This past Christmas, we decided to have her DNA tested, and it resulted, like Otto, in a large percentage of American Staffordshire Terrier, with a few collie-relatives and a vague mention of an Asian relative such as Chow-chow or Shar-pei. We can’t see anything at all of Staffy in her. People always ask if she’s Shar-Pei, and we pretty much always just respond that she’s Shar-Pei and Newfy!

  24. When people ask me about breed, I often answer that he/she is a dog.

    I did do Embark which was fun. As my older girl ages at 14 year old, I wanted to do it. She came out pretty much exactly what I thought. Mostly GSD and Akita but they found some Lab too. Her personality and build was so clearly GSD and she wooo wooed and has coloring like an Akita. I would also clearly see flashes of Akita in her face.

    So I had so much fun with that so I am going through the house. The second one had 6 breeds and while some were a surprise (I had always called him a Heinz 57) they all made sense, all herding dogs which I had guessed there was some herding in there, many very vocal, barky dogs, and anxiety.

    It made sense.
    I may want to check out Darwin’s Dogs.

    I’d like to compare.

  25. I bought the DNA kit from chewy.com- I believe it was Wisdom Panel. ot a single person who meets my dog believes he is 50% Chihuahua. More likely he is at least half Cairn terrier so when people ask I just say he is a Terrierist. 🙂

  26. My old dog, Cholmondley, looked like a Jack Russell- beagle cross. He appeared on the street of my Colorado mountain town as an 11 month old, already neutered, short-haired pup, white with tan spots and a docked tail, without ID. No one responded to my ads or found-dog shelter reports. I always suspected he’d been dumped out of a car, because of his weird phobias about cars (which he eventually outgrew). Customers asked for my opinion on the DNA testing in the early days, so for their and my own curiosity, I sent his swab in to Wisdom panel. It came back a cross of purebred chihuahua and purebred Finnish lapphund. That was in 2010, when you could count the Finnish lapphunds in the US just about on one hand. Unlikely, I thought – and after looking up the breed (no one in our AKC all-breed club had even seen one) I thought it even less likely. I mean, Chihuahuas are everywhere, but few folks who buy or import rare breeds allow them to run around and form ad hoc alliances with “commoners.” Chum weighed in at 23 lbs as an adult, which he remained at all his life. In 2013, I submitted another cheek swab to Wisdom panel, under a different name and owner name, and they did know they had tested him before. This time, he was half Chihuahua and half German Shepherd mix. In that GSD mix were: Finnish lapphund – 11.33%, English cocker – 9.33%, Belgian sheepdog – 8.53%, Pharaoh hound – 3.69% and dachshund – 3.27%. I have to say that if these breeds were represented in his ancestry, the canine genotype is infinitely plastic! Some Chi I could see (if I really tried) but none of the others. He looked and behaved like a mostly JRT – and his voice was very beagle. Go figure!

  27. we adopted a shelter dog 5 yrs ago and 2 yrs ago we did a DNA test thru Embark it came back 78% Chinese crested powderpuff and 23% Chihuahua noting else in the mix, since then we have looked at various CC powderpuffs on line and can see that yes, he really is one. but to us he is still our very much loved fur baby regardless of what DNA says. it was something we did in fun to to know, BUT we also did the Medical and found out our fur baby carries a PPL gene (it’s a lens issue of the eye) so far he has not shown or has issues.

  28. Wisdom Panel said my “Pariah Mongrel” from India was 1/4 Canaan, 1/8 Basenji, 1/8 Border Terrier and 1/2 African Middle East, Asian breed dog. I think I made the mistake of sending a photo and telling where he was from. I think it was guesswork on their part. Then someone who studies aboriginal dogs globally said “No way.” They suggested Embark which is connected to Cornell. Being a birder I felt that gave some credibility. I gave them no info. He came back South Asian Village dog, no standardized breed detected except a tiny band of Gray Wolf. Apparently there is a number system, all dogs score a 1 for Gray Wolf, he scored 3.5, which I was also told means little in terms of breed. I hear they are trying to make it an official breed, South Asian Village dog to be INDog.

  29. I recently ordered the DNA allergy test from the same company that does DNA My Dog. It’s called “Allergy Test my Dog.” It’s also done with a cheek swab. He’s a long-haired pure-breed German Shepherd who has always been sort of an itchy-scratchy fellow. They did a breed analysis that came back as German Shepherd, (no surprise there), but the allergy tests showed many surprises, like high sensitivity to beef, turkey, salmon, and a few others. He has a chronic rash that was evaluated by the doggie dermatologist at the University of Florida and he is on maintenance antibiotics and Apoquel, an anti-allergy med. We’ve changed his diet to eliminate foods that he apparently is sensitive to. Our local vet said she does not have faith in these mail-in tests. Any opinion on these allergy tests? Thanks.

  30. I think it’s interesting that no one here with a pure bred dog has commented. Meaning to gage how accurate the test is, should detect the same breed going back for the number of generations of a controlled breeding, as reflected in the pedigree.

    However one variant that came up using Wisdom is that a pure bred poodle (like 95%) showing no other out-crosses did show the DNA of an Alaskan Malmute. While there is no physical resemblance the connection could be made in terms of his intelligence and determination. A born decision maker and leader. Exceptionally grounded, gets along with every do he’s ever met, even at twice his size.

  31. We used Royal Canine’s DNA test through our vet. It is a blood test and I think the results were accurate. We have a pure English Mastiff puppy we just adopted and a mastiff/Pyrenees/ridgeback we rescued 11 years ago. Both appear to be accurate.

  32. Has anyone tried darwinsark.org? It’s a citizen science project using the DNA, in combination with questionnaires, to learn more about these companions we love so much.

    Our little adopted mutt, Ava, has some interesting ancestry.
    39.1 % Dachshund
    17.3 % Chihuahua
    16.9 % Unknown
    13.8 % Australian Cattle Dog
    6.5 % Jack Russell Terrier
    3.7 % Miniature Pincher
    2.7 % Yorkshire Terrier
    100 % LOVED!

    She basically looks like a slightly elongated black and cream long hair chihuahua/yorkie mix with drop ears. She’s also an uber smart healer, herding the family around by nipping at our heels.

    They have a smaller breed data base but they care only about being accurate for science’s sake.

  33. I have two smallish terrier mixes I got six years apart from my local shelter in Washington DC. They are 11 and 27 pound couch potatoes. Same age and very similar appearance, when I’m only seeing one of them I’m not always certain which one it is. Almost certainly not related, one came to DC from a shelter in Ohio, while the other was a local dog. Curiosity finally got to me and I did the Royal Canine blood test through my vet.

    Luke, the bigger one, came back as pretty much half Rat Terrier with Beagle and show collie.

    Jane, the smaller one came back about half Rat Terrier with Russel Terrier mix.
    and mixed breed.

    Seems reasonable, the Collie surprised me, but what do I know. They do look like Rat Terriers. How I managed to get two couch potato terrier mixes I don’t know, but they’re perfect for me.

  34. These ‘results’ remind me to not bother getting a Breed Analysis test done.
    There is one dog here whose mother is known, Bernese Mountain dog. He is black with white feet and a chest blaze. His father was thought to be Border Collie — not just for the colouring but also because a ‘border collie’ had been seen ‘lurking around’ when the bitch was in season.
    His DNA test certainly picked the Bernese Mountain Dog, but it came out as Cardigan Corgi and Kerry blue Terrier!! Which to me is ridiculous. Both breeds a re pretty thin on the ground here. Corgi/ blue Terrier cross sounds as pretty unlikely

  35. I received 2 Embark kits for Christmas to test my 2 shelters girls. Zoe, is tall (27″ at the shoulder) and blond, single coat with white socks & chest, one blue eye and one hazel eye, very independent and always roaming and assessing her territory. I know her mamma was a white Aussie, but not a double merle, so I figured she was a mix as well. Zoe’s results came back as mom being Pyrenees/Aussie and her dad being Doberman/Pitbull. There were small percentages of other breeds, like Border Collie, cattle dog and supermutt. My second girl, Kaylee, is a medium size, white with brown patches, with fur soft as a cats, is jumpy and nippy, and herds everything. Her test came back as cattle dog, pitbull, American bulldog and supermutt. Given both of my dogs personalities and physical appearance, and the fact that I live in an area with a high amount of pitbulls, I believe these tests to be pretty accurate. I also got the health testing, which was mostly fine for both except Zoe came back with the DCM gene, so that’s good to know!

  36. We adopted an Australian Shepherd(tri color) when he was 7. On our walks in the woods people would ask what kind of dog he was – we were told 100% aussie but many people said “He can’t be”. We agreed – his face in particular did not have that typlical aussie look. So we got his DNA tested *Wisdom Panel) and learned he was 100% aussie on his father’s include and 75% on his mother’s side. The other 25% was any one of a number of choices.
    Wisdom Panel also tested for the MDR1 gene mutation (common in aussies) and he learned he does not have that mutation. This was helpful for the vet when he had to get an MRI because this mutation makes the dog more sensitive to a wide range of medications.
    So this is another good reason to get your dog’s DNA tested.

    Nancy Brown

  37. I adopted a 4 month old puppy from my local humane society. He was listed as an american husky,he is now 2. I did the embark and wisdom test, they both said he was primarily siberian husky with some collie, pitbull or Staffordshire terrier and a little Springer spaniel. I think they were both pretty accurate.

  38. We rescued a “lab mix puppy” He totally looks like a full black lab. Our vet swore he was mostly lab as did our trainer. Everyone that sees him comments” I love labs”. Wisdom DNA report shocked us. 37.5% Amstaff, 25% Great Pyranees, 12.5% each of doberman, golden retriever and weimeraner. Sent picture to Wisdom and asked to retest, nothing made any sense. Only “non lab” look on him is a very, very small diamond shape white spot on his chest. White chest mark is an Amstaff trait. We have since seen so many “labs” that look just like our puppy, all black with tiny white mark. All were told by agencies and shelters that the puppies were a lab mix.

  39. In 2010 I had my 2 dogs tested by Wisdom Panel. One, Libby, was a rescue who looked like she was mostly Aussie. My other dog, Darby, I got as a puppy. Mom was supposedly 1/2 lab, 1/2 border collie and looked it. Dad was caught in the act and was a registered border collie. Darby looked like a border collie but it seemed like something else was in the mix too.
    Libby’s results came back as primarily border collie, with minor as a boxer. Darby’s results came back as intermediate Australian Cattle Dog with a minor Belgian Tervuren. I contacted Wisdom because I didn’t believe Darby’s results. They agreed to retest him. The second test came back as equal parts Australian Cattle dog and Curly-coated Retriever as intermediate breeds. No primary breed.
    I tested Darby’s DNA again in 2012 with Canine Heritage Breed Test. This time again no primary breed but Bouvier des Flandres as an intermediate with Dalmatian, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Rat Terrier in the mix. Border collie never showed up. So I was not a big believer in DNA tests at that point. Every test was different.
    Just a few months ago I tested my latest rescue dog, Dulci. She looks like a small border collie with a head of a papillon. I assumed that DNA testing had come a ways since 2012 so tried Wisdom Panel again. Primary breed results were better … 37.5% border collie made sense. The others in the mix didn’t: 12.5% Staffordshire Terrier, 12.5% Lhasa Apso, and 37% terrier and sporting groups. Both parents and grandparents had border collie. So results were better than 2010 or 2012, but I still think DNA analysis has a ways to go before we will ever know what is in our mixed breed dogs.

  40. I sent my Lucy’s sample to wisdom. She appeared not to be a high mix about 1 year old. We got her from a friend that took her in. She was running free in a semi-rural area. She had fully developed Heart worms … probably she was dumped because of the HAs. She underwent treatment and recovered nicely. She is now about 3 years old . She is truly a wonderful dog and extremely intelligent and very fast to learn. My son gave me a Wisdom DNA test. It came back as 50% mini schnauzer and 50% Shih Tzu … we had a designer dog and did not know it 😊. Would not have mattered what she was, she is a wonderful little 19# beauty that just wants to please.

  41. Regarding “DNA your dog” company—3 years ago I submitted my 20 pound dog’s saliva…primary breed—Great Dane. Welllll, she is smooth coated, long tail, folded ears. I don’t remember the other breeds besides terrier types.
    Conclusion—I will wait a few years before again spending money on DNA testing my dogs…or at least until WDJ runs a conclusive article.

  42. I have one dog who I adopted from a shelter. They told us her breed was a German Shepard mix with Labrador and I believe them but she also looks like she has some bulldog in her. I’m not sure if I should take the tests to see what type of breeds she is because I know I will still love her either way, but should I do it?

  43. I have had both of my rescues tested by Wisdom Panel. The first was listed as a shepherd/lab mix, but she was all black and doublecoated, and seemed smaller than either of those breeds. A groomer noticed spots on her tongue and suggested she was part Chow. Her tests came back Chow, Fox Terrier, and mixed. Her personality was all Chow. Had my newest pup, about a year old, tested soon after adopting her. She tested 1/2 Beagle, 1/4 Lab, and 1/4 Staffy. She is all black with a white bib, and definitely has the beagle “bay” and both the beagle and lab hunting instincts..especially for rabbits!

  44. Here’s a great example on why I’m not so trustful of these things.
    A client had a Registered Great Dane where there was an accidental breeding with their other dog. This dog was 1/2 Great Dane (the mother of this dog was a registered Great Dane and dad unknown) So they know for sure the litter was 3/4 Great Dane. They kept a pup and at 6 month it was over 70lbs. They were curious so did a Wisdom DNA. It came back that the main breed was Corgi…lol can you believe it! Dane was second breed.

  45. Wisdom Panel & Embark DNA test results differed considerably. Wisdom panel tested my dog twice and each time he was a golden retriever mix (& no pit bull). Embark tested my dog and he is a pit bull mix. The only commonality with both tests was that he had boxer. My dog’s birth certificate indicated he was a “silver lab” mix. Embark identified lab (10 %) and Weimaraner. So, I favor Embark’s result, which found zero golden retriever., as being more plausible.


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