A while back I posted that my dog, Bolt, had a Wisdom Panel DNA test done, and I was eagerly waiting for the results. Life intervened, as we recently went through a move, but now things have settled down and I can share the surprising results. My dog, who the shelter pegged as half dachshund and half chihuahua, is a Jack Russell and rat terrier mix!
A Surprise That Makes Sense
I was shocked when I read the results, yet when I really thought about it, I could see the terrier behaviors. Bolt is a very high energy, prey driven dog who’s intelligent and loyal but also stubborn. With a little research, I soon realized that the T-rex front legs that I always thought came from a dachshund parent were actually a characteristic of certain terriers.
After my big surprise, I chatted with Dr. Angela Hughes, a veterinary geneticist who explained how the short leg gene works and gave me some insights into the Wisdom Panel test. DNA testing your dog is a very easy process. You get a kit, swab your dogs gums, send the sample and await the results. Dr. Hughes explained that Wisdom Panel has a comprehensive database to which the sample is compared, thus mapping out your dog’s ancestry. The database has samples from 10,000 purebred dogs and 200 breed signatures. Depending on the quality of your dog’s DNA sample, the test is very accurate, especially at the first generation.
For me, knowing Bolt’s ancestry was a matter of curiosity, but it can also be useful in taking care of your dog and knowing what to expect if you adopt it as a puppy. For example, if you get a shelter puppy (the best kind, in my view), a DNA test that narrows down its genetics will give you an idea of how large it will grow. Depending on the breed, you’ll also know whether it’s prone to certain illnesses and have information on its likely personality traits.
I was happy to learn from Dr. Hughes that terriers are typically healthy, hearty dogs, since they’re bred to be working animals. Indeed, he’s a sturdy little fellow who probably would be very happy with a job. Since he lives a life of leisure, I make sure he gets plenty of playtime.
If you’d like to discover your own dog’s genetic background, visit the Wisdom Panel website for details.I promise you the process is very simple, as long as your dog cooperates with letting you do the gum swab. Thankfully, Bolt didn’t mind, and I’m sure most dogs would be at least halfway cooperative.
I’m a fan of mixed breed dogs, but I also love the fact that modern technically can give me insights into the background of a Heinz 54 mix. Solve the mystery of your mutt and you might just get a surprise.
Want to order a kit via Amazon? Here’s the link: