Did you add a puppy or dog to your household this Christmas? If so, hopefully you went by the mantra of “don’t shop, adopt” and got your new friend at a shelter. Plenty of purebred dogs end up at shelters, so you might know exactly what type of dog you’ve welcomed into your home. However, you might have fallen in love with a mixed breed and wonder exactly what’s in your new furry friend’s background.
If you’re in the latter category, did you know that you can get your dog a DNA test? Wisdom Panel lets you collect a sample from your dog’s mouth with the swabs they provide, mail it in to the lab, and get a comprehensive report on his or her genetic makeup. You’ll find full details on their website.
A Big Surprise
I had my own dog, Bolt, tested, despite feeling pretty confident that animal control’s assessment of “Chiweenie” was probably correct. After all, the T-rex legs and sonar dish ears were dead giveaways, right?
As you can read in this blog post, Bolt turned out to be a Jack Russell/rat terrier mix. Now it’s pretty obvious, and it explains a lot about his behavior, but it’s something I never would have guessed. I’m so pleased the kind folks at Wisdom Panel offered to let me try out the test so I know my pup’s true terror…er, terrier heritage.
Being fooled isn’t uncommon. After Bolt’s DNA test, I talked to Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM. She’s a veterinary geneticist, and even she was surprised when she had her adopted dog’s test done. The shelter had called him a border collie, but he was actually a cocker spaniel/maltese mix.
The More You Know
I personally wasn’t too fussy about adopting a particular breed when I visited the dog pound. I mainly wanted a small but durable dog that would act as an alarm system and act as my exercise buddy on long walks. However, I’m glad I know Bolt’s breeding now because it gives me insights into his behavior and also alerts me to potential health problems. Thankfully, terriers are generally healthy dogs, along Dr. Hughes warned me that some may have eye problems. But some breeds are prone to major issues, and if you know your dog has one of those breeds’ genetics, you can stay on the alert and catch any problems early.
DNA testing also gives you some helpful information if you’re adopted a mystery breed puppy. How big will that adorable bundle of joy grow to be? Know the breeds of its parents can give you a good idea of what to expect.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m all about adoption, and the Wisdom Panel test is a great resource for those of us who want to give shelter dogs a home but who’d like to know a bit about our mystery companions’ backgrounds. I could have gone on for years thinking Bolt was the illicit product of a dachshund/chihuahua liaison, but now I know the truth: he’s a terrier through and through.
You can order your own Wisdom Panel test kit via Amazon: