Doggie DNA

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Tino collageI 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:

tino DNA

Yes, you read that right – Doberman Pinscher and Afghan??!! And nothing else…tinos feet
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?

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  1. The Speakoggie has a standard answer he gives whenever someone asks him what kind of dog the present “speakdoggie is. He tells them “She is a good dog”
    Speakdogie recently posted…Anti-World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Blog 2013My Profile

    • Great Answer!
      mkob recently posted…Doggie DNAMy Profile

  2. I think mom might consider it if we were a mix and she did not know what the mix was, but since we are not mixes, we don’t need to. It would be fun to try on a mix even if you know the breeds just to “test the tests”.
    emma recently posted…K9 Kamp Final Tips | GBGV | FitDog FridayMy Profile

    • I thought of trying it on Jack even though he’s a Lab, or at least I think he is, since he’s a rescue we don’t have papers or anything. But like you said – just to ‘test’ the test.
      mkob recently posted…Doggie DNAMy Profile

  3. Those results are puzzling…Did they in any way change how you relate to Tino? Myself, I don’t see myself doing a test like this cause I don’t think I’d change anything based on whatever the results were
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Water Mania and a Whole Lot More on a Social SaturdayMy Profile

    • We were puzzled too, but since it was really just for fun, it didn’t change anything in how we treated him or in how he behaved.
      mkob recently posted…Doggie DNAMy Profile

  4. Some of my friends from class who were rescues have taken DNA tests and I can see why they’d want to. But I’m lucky in that I don’t need one 🙂
    Misaki recently posted…Hot hot hot!My Profile

  5. It certainly wouldn’t change anything about how we relate to our dogs, etc., but would we do it? Yeah, sure… for the fun… just for knowing. One of the dachshunds we have now is very tall for a dachshund, and his snout is a little wide, so we’re 99% positive he’s mixed with something. We have fun looking at other dogs and trying to guess what, so yeah, we’d do a test for fun. But even for fun, I’m all about accuracy over price. If one was known to more accurate than the others (don’t know how that would be measured or proven), we’d be willing to pay more.
    Pam recently posted…A Story of Rescue: BethanyMy Profile

  6. I’ve been wanting to do it but haven’t made that jump yet. I’m afraid it’s going to come back and tell me Titan is part chihuaha and poodle 🙂
    Bren recently posted…The Inevitable Attack Finally HappenedMy Profile

    • BOL – that would be pretty funny!
      mkob recently posted…Doggie DNAMy Profile

  7. We were told Rita is GSD/beagle, and she certainly looks and acts like both breeds. I’d be interested to know if that’s right, but the hubs says it’s not worth the money….which is funny cuz his company he works for makes the DNA machines that these types of tests are done on. In fact, we had our own tested! The tests are suppose to be a bit more accurate these days, as many more breeds are now in the databases. I think it would’ve fun to do, but he doesn’t see the point!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…FitDog Friday: The End of K9 Kamp?My Profile

    • Yeah – i guess you could make the argument that it might give you insight into some breed specific hereditary diseases, but mostly I think it’s just for fun.
      mkob recently posted…Doggie DNAMy Profile

  8. Weird… wonder why there’s no Primary one on there? We did this for a client once and the results were just completely off the wall… even more so than Tino’s!
    Ann “Paws” Staub recently posted…Tallulah Belle – Adoptable Cat in Round Rock, TexasMy Profile

    • According to their documentation, a primary has to be more than 50% – so he hd nothing that was that prominent. We always thought of him as a real “Heinz 57” varieties, so this verified that if nothing else.’
      mkob recently posted…Black & White Sunday 6-23-13My Profile

  9. Hi there, I am admitting I have an interest as I work at one of the canine testing companies. I am not promoting one over the other, I just want you to know that there are only two testing companies, the ones listed in this post. Whether you use blood, go to the vet, etc. your test will always end up at one of these two labs. So please remember that if ordering from somewhere else or paying more, it will still be the same lab!

  10. A client of mine did the test for her little mystery pup, and the results came back the same…she looks NOTHING like the breeds specified. Pretty funny.
    Kristen recently posted…Take Your Dog To Work Day 2013My Profile

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