Mixed Results: Researching Your Dog’s DNA


It by no means fails: Every time I take my senior canine Otto into public, folks ask what breed he’s. And I’ve to smile and shrug. My normal 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 (He was discovered as a stray pup, about 4 months outdated, in somebody’s rooster coop, and dropped at my native animal shelter. When I adopted him on the estimated age of seven months, I couldn’t imagine that such a cute pup had been languishing there for 3 months. It could 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 folks 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 corporations that appeared to be probably the most respected on the time, Wisdom Panel and Petco’s Canine Heritage. The know-how was new and the outcomes have been a sketchy on particulars, however each corporations 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 doable, excluding Basenji.

In 2016, I deliberate to write down an up to date article about DNA assessments, and I once more despatched Otto’s DNA off to 2 corporations 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 prompt that is likely to 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 feel 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 obtained the pattern, I obtained a message indicating that they acknowledged that that they had examined the identical canine beforehand, and that they’d take a look at 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 have been nonetheless current. However, topping the listing have 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 provide estimates of the contributions of potential ancestors by proportion; as an alternative, it supplied a theoretical household tree. Otto’s confirmed no doable purebred ancestors till not less than the great-grandparent stage.

I feel I might need written a weblog publish in regards to the outcomes, however I do know I didn’t get round to writing a function article about DNA that 12 months.

Some New Information

In 2018, I requested one in every of our contributors to write down an up to date article, as an alternative. I revisited the Wisdom Panel web site, understanding 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 assorted breeds within the canines’ DNA as percentages. All of the leads to Otto’s 2016 report have 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 gentle of the outcomes I obtained from Embark’s 2018 take a look at of Otto’s DNA. Its outcomes have been very comparable—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 the rest, 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 trying ahead to any future testing or updates obtainable, I’m going to stay with calling Otto “very mixed.”

Has anybody else had your canine examined by totally different corporations? How did your outcomes range?





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