Mixed Results: Researching Your Dog’s DNA


It by no means fails: Every time I take my senior canine Otto into public, individuals ask what breed he’s. And I’ve to smile and shrug. My customary solutions:

“He’s a Disney dog!”

“He’s an Oroville Chickenhound!” (He was discovered as a stray pup, about 4 months outdated, in somebody’s hen coop, and dropped at my native animal shelter. When I adopted him on the estimated age of seven months, I couldn’t consider that such a cute pup had been languishing there for 3 months. It might have had one thing to do with the truth that his cage card indicated that he killed chickens.)

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

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

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

Otto’s DNA Journey

In 2009, I despatched Otto’s DNA to the 2 firms that appeared to be essentially the most respected on the time, Wisdom Panel and Petco’s Canine Heritage. The know-how was new and the outcomes had been a sketchy on particulars, however each firms detected Chow Chow and Border Collie. Wisdom Panel thought there was additionally German Shepherd and Basenji; Canine Heritage thought there was additionally some Poodle. I assumed any of that was attainable, aside from Basenji.

In 2016, I deliberate to jot down an up to date article about DNA checks, and I once more despatched Otto’s DNA off to 2 firms that supplied mixed-breed identification, simply to see what they needed to say.

One of the businesses was DNA My Dog. Its outcomes agreed with my “very mixed” evaluation, however the breeds they steered that may be current bordered on ludicrous: Collie, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, English Setter, and Norwegian Elkhound. Given the agricultural and economically depressed space wherein Otto was discovered, I believe it’s unlikely that any of these 4 breeds have ever set foot within the space—or not less than not in the identical technology!

The different firm I despatched a pattern to in 2016 was Wisdom Panel. Shortly after the corporate acquired the pattern, I acquired a message indicating that they acknowledged that they’d examined the identical canine beforehand, and that they might check the brand new pattern anyway. Cool! That lent the endeavor credibility.

Wisdom Panel’s 2016 outcomes supplied much more element than in 2009. “Basenji” had disappeared (it had been fairly unlikely), and the beforehand detected Border Collie, Chow Chow, and German Shepherd had been nonetheless current. However, topping the listing had been two breeds that had not been reported by any of the businesses beforehand: American Staffordshire Terrier and Australian Cattle Dog. At that point, the corporate didn’t supply estimates of the contributions of potential ancestors by proportion; as an alternative, it supplied a theoretical household tree. Otto’s confirmed no attainable purebred ancestors till not less than the great-grandparent stage.

I believe I might need written a weblog publish concerning the outcomes, however I do know I didn’t get round to writing a characteristic article about DNA that yr.

Some New Information

In 2018, I requested one in every of our contributors to jot down an up to date article, as an alternative. I revisited the Wisdom Panel web site, realizing that they promised to sometimes “refresh” their outcomes as their know-how improved. I additionally despatched a pattern of Otto’s DNA to a brand new participant on the mixed-breed identification block, Embark.

In 2018, Wisdom Panel was expressing the contributions of varied breeds within the canine’ DNA as percentages. All of the ends in Otto’s 2016 report had been the identical, however percentages had been added. They indicated that there have been about equal quantities of Am Staff, Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Chow, and German Shepherd in Otto.

This was very fascinating in mild of the outcomes I acquired from Embark’s 2018 check of Otto’s DNA. Its outcomes had been very related—with a notable exception. Embark recognized Otto’s bully breed ancestor as American Pit Bull Terrier, and likewise indicated that he was extra APBT than anything, as a lot as 21.2%! This firm additionally discovered Cattle Dog, German Shepherd, Chow, and Border Collie in Otto, however added some Labrador.

While I’ve to confess that I’m wanting ahead to any future testing or updates out there, I’m going to stay with calling Otto “very mixed.”

Has anybody else had your canine examined by completely different firms? How did your outcomes range?





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