I wrote a FaceBook post yesterday regarding Canine DNA tests and asked whether folks had them done and what they thought of the results. I posted a picture of our dog Tino and asked what breed people thought he was based on his looks. We got lots of interesting answers from Rhodesian Ridgeback/Shar pei to Cavalier to Lhasa Apso to the more typical answer “Shepherd mix”. All good answers, but the test we actually took showed something much different.
We took the Canine Heritage test in 2008 – when these tests were brand new. Canine has since been bought by Mars (yes the candy people) who have a competing product called the Wisdom Panel. The other major company out there is called DNA my Dog.
I’m not going to recommend one over the other since I’m not doing a true analysis or comparison – if there seems to be demand for more info in your comments, I’ll do more research on the topic. But, based on what I read they each have pros-cons. Some of them more dogs in their database, so more data points to consider, others are less expensive. Personally, I don’t think this can/should be used for anything other than satisfying your curiosity and even then, I’m not sure it will as Tino’s results left us even more puzzled.
The Canine Heritage test gave three breakdowns:
- Primary: The pets DNA contains a majority of a certain breed – 50% or more.
- Secondary: Breeds with significant levels of DNA within the dog.
- In the Mix: Breeds that appear in the dogs DNA but only in small amounts.
With those three categories in mind, here’s Tino’s results:
Yes, you read that right – Doberman Pinscher and Afghan??!! And nothing else…
He certainly didn’t LOOK like either of those dogs, the only characteristic of those two breeds he possessed were small feet with kind of raised toes – which you can kind of see in this silly picture of him.
So was it worth it? Yeah, it was fun and makes for a good story. Did I rely on it for anything? Of course not. This was also five years ago, so things may have changed, they may be more advanced, but if you have a legitimate reason for wondering about your pets DNA beyond curiosity, I would check with your Vet and see if they have a more reliable indicator rather than a home test.
What do you think – will you shell out the $80-150 bucks for one of these tests?