What kind of dog is (s)he?
This is probably the most frequent question a dog owner will get asked.
I get this, without fail, every time I'm out with Caesar.
For those who adopt a dog this question can be a bit tricky to answer especially if your dog doesn't look like the traditional picture of a breed.
Dog DNA testing
Before deciding to do a DNA test I asked our vet about this. She said that vets can do blood draws for official DNA testing but that's usually only when it's needed for medical diagnosis purposes. Consumer available DNA kits are available for purchase but a lot of them are more for human entertainment rather than accuracy.
So why did we choose to buy a DNA kit?
Well, because we get asked about Caesar all the time and we wanted to actually have an answer.
After some initial research we decided to buy Wisdom Panel 4.0 (owned by Mars). There are other options out there but Wisdom Panel is one of the dominant ones and is used by other organizations/vets. Plus it has one of the largest database which increases its accuracy.
How much does it cost?
We bought it online for $84.99
How do you collect a sample?
The kit comes with 2 cheek swabs. This is the convenience factor of an at-home DNA test. Unless your dog is super fussy, getting the sample only takes a couple minutes.
How do you get the results?
Once you mail your sample (the kit includes a return envelope with postage) you receive an email confirming the sample's been received. The email instructions also say you'll get another email notification once your report is ready to view.
We never received the email confirmation when our report was ready (which they say takes about 2 - 3 weeks). I happened to log in to my account to check the status and that was actually how I knew, which was annoying considering how long I waited for an email that never came.
What breed is Caesar?
Based on the results, Caesar is in fact 100% Siberian Husky!
Tip: when we activated our account online we indicated Caesar was a Siberian Husky. When you designate your dog as a specific breed (if you can) they will automatically run a test against that breed to verify versus if you don't indicate a specific breed then they don't have anything to check against, if that makes sense. Basically, if you think your dog is a particular breed, make sure to indicate that so they can run a test specific to that breed.
What's included in the report?
The report has three main components: Ancestry, Breed, Health & Traits.
Ancestry includes information about the tests done to determine the breed of your dog (from the past three generations). I imagine if you have a mutt this will look pretty interesting. It also includes a breakdown of the test to other breeds and next closest breed. Caesar's next closest breed, for example, is Malamute and Saluki, both of which came up negative.
The Breed category includes general information/physical characteristics about the breed to which your dog belongs as well as analysis of other types of breed groups, so for Caesar, other groups like Herding, Hound, Sport, Mountain, Terrior, etc. all came up negative. The only group where evidence was positive is in Asian, which includes Siberian Husky, Akita, Jindo, Klee Kai, Samoyed, Malamute and others.
Lastly, Health & Traits includes analysis of genetic disorders, weight, physical traits (coat color, fur type).
Was it worth the $$?
For us, absolutely yes. It's annoying not having a definitive answer when someone asks about your dog. For others, the results may not be so clear cut, in which case I would think the value is debatable.
Before seeing the final report I used to joke around saying the results will show Caesar as part Chihuahua. Joking aside, I thought maybe the only other breeds that might show up are Malamute and Akita, but otherwise Caesar is pretty straight-forward because, except from size/weight, he looks like a husky. For folks who own dogs that could be a mix of anything, I'd be curious to see how the reports break down the results, which may be why our vet cautioned us that DNA tests are more for the humans than the dogs.
Ah, the things we do for our pets...
👣 The fur-mom