When we started to foster our dog, Ginger, we immediately knew we wanted to adopt her. But we were very curious about what breeds she was mixed with. Our first guess was some sort of German Shepherd. But she is so unusual we just couldn’t figure out what in the world breeds she could be.
Anytime we were on a walk, at the dog park, anywhere in public, people would stop and ask what breed Ginger was! Just look at her… what would you think? What type of dog do I have?
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I heard of dog DNA tests before, but never really thought about getting one until now. Our past rescue dogs have always been some sort of lab mixes, and we didn’t really care or need to know what they were mixed with.
But Ginger was different, and different in so many ways! So I researched a couple of DNA Testing Kits online and decided the best dog DNA test is from Wisdom Panel.
While there are other choices, Wisdom Panel and Embark are the two most popular dog DNA tests among dog owners and are the two I recommend to determine your dog breed(s).
A DNA test is a great way how to tell what breed of dog you have. DNA testing companies are not 100% accurate. In our case, I am extremely satisfied with our results. Ginger turns out to be five different dog breeds. And I can see traits for each of the breeds in her.
Dog DNA tests get mixed reviews from dog owners. Mostly because they get results that end up being confusing or nondescript.
Wisdom Panel covers over 250 dog breeds, types, and varieties. So that means if your breed is not on their list, it could come up as an unknown or mixed breed. The results may list the breed as a sporting, guard or companion group.
Sometimes our dogs are so mixed, the tests can’t decipher the exact breeds, so it will show XX% as “mixed breed”. Well, that doesn’t tell you much, and it certainly isn’t what you wanted the DNA test for.
If you think about it, if two multiple mixed breed dogs, that are mixed with 5 different breeds each, have puppies, these puppies now are a mix of 10 breeds. It can multiply pretty quick as dogs are not spayed or neutered and have litters of puppies. As the DNA of each breed gets smaller and smaller, it’s harder for these DNA tests to figure out individual breeds.
I suggest preparing yourself to not always getting the answers you are looking for. But to get the dog DNA test done for the fun of knowing more about your dog. I always say mutts are the best… so if you truly have a mutt and the dog DNA test can’t get past “mixed breed” that your pup must be the best!
So are you ready to find out what kind of dog Ginger is? Drumroll please… the big DNA Test Reveal… Ginger is an American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Chow Chow, German Shepherd Dog, Greyhound Mix. All of Gingers markings and personality traits made sense now.
Let’s break that down:
American Staffordshire Terrier
Ginger’s body and ears are built like an AmStaff.
Australian Cattle Dog
Ginger loves to herd like a cattle dog. Her body resembles a cattle dog too.
Ginger has purple spots at the back of her tongue just like Chow Chows.
German Shepherd Dog
Gingers muzzle is black and shaped like a GSD.
Ginger has a fawn brindle coat just like a Greyhound. She’s super fast when she runs! I think she also gets her prey drive from the Greyhound. She loves to hunt the rodents at our country home.
The key breed chart from Wisdom Panel for Ginger’s DNA results is below.
“The Wisdom Panel computer algorithm performed over seven million calculations using 11 different models (from a single breed to complex combinations of breeds) to predict the most likely combination of pure and mixed breed dogs in the last 3 ancestral generations that best fit the DNA marker pattern observed in Ginger. The ancestry chart depicting the best statistical result of this analysis is shown in the picture below.”
Now anytime we are out and someone asks what kind of dog she is, my daughter can rattle off all five breeds with confidence. It’s a fun conversation starter! Just one great reason to adopt a mutt.
The Wisdom Panel tests for MDR1 gene. I didn’t know what this was before taking the test, but it turns out Ginger has the dominant inheritance of the MDR1 gene. What does this mean? There is a lot of medical terminology, but basically, Wisdom Panel explains that “These dogs require reduced drug doses for most drugs that are pumped by P-glycoprotein”.
I did show the results to our vet and turns out Ginger can have “Multi-Drug Sensitivity”. So now our vet is aware, she will make sure Ginger doesn’t take any medication that could result in an adverse reaction.
Wisdom Panel now offers a health screening option, which wasn’t available when we ordered ours a couple years ago. It could be helpful to learn about any health issues you and your vet should be aware of.
My overall review of the Wisdom Panel DNA test is good. I was happy with our results.
P.S. Have you done a DNA test on your dog already? Comment below and let me know what you thought of your results. It’s always fun to hear other peoples experiences and mix of breeds that make up your fur baby.
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Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.