This past weekend I got two very exciting emails--our dogs' DNA results came in! A few weeks ago I DNA tested everyone in the house, as you can see from the kits in the photos above. Grace and I did the 23andMe human DNA ancestry kits, and I got the Wisdom Panel kits for the dogs.
I'd originally planned to do a blog post about all of our DNA results once everything came back, but I'm too impatient to wait for ours! Full disclosure, we got the 23andMe kits as a free gift for attending an event; I probably would not have paid any money to find out that we're both European (which I'm sure is what our results will say). However, I would and did gladly spent too much money on finding out about the dogs' breeds, and the results were really interesting. I decided to just go ahead and post the dogs' results because it's going to be another month or so until our 23andMe results come in. I'll probably update on Insta stories but don't think it's worth a blog post for the scintillating and never before predicted information that Grace's and my ancestors migrated from the British Isles, ha!
Okay so here's a little bit about my process of choosing the kit. There are TONS of dog DNA kits out there, and not all are created equal (apparently). I have no affiliation with Wisdom Panel but I'm going to describe why I chose to buy it and my experience in case anyone out there is trying to decide which test to get. I based my decision to buy the Wisdom Panel off reading consumer reports online and Amazon reviews. I have heard that with some DNA tests you have to send a picture of your dog or a description, which seems suspicious. We did not do that with Wisdom Panel; all they ask is for the cheek swab samples (which you mail back in a pre-paid box) and your dog's name and approximate age. So they have no way of determining the dog's breed based on a photo or description. Also, a big factor in choosing Wisdom Panel was reading about the consumer report tests where multiple samples from the same dog were sent in, using different names and contact information, and the results came back identical, down to every percentage. In other words, they're not just randomly assigning breeds; there has to be a method to the madness because samples from the same dog came back consistent (if that makes sense). Finally, I was further reassured that I'd chosen the best test when our veterinarian--who I trust with my dogs' lives--said that Wisdom Panel is the best test out there, and it's the one they recommend and use for their own pets.
BUT: all of that being said, I'm a little skeptical of our dogs' results. I don't think that Wisdom Panel makes up any results or is bogus, but I think the level of technology and science they're using might be a little bit basic or less advanced than say, the 23andMe analysis for humans. Which is fair; they're dogs. Anyway, here's the actual part you're probably interested in: what kinds of dogs Willie and Jellybean are.
Willie's results were the most surprising to me. They said that he is a 100% purebred American Staffordshire Terrier. This is very surprising to me because I have never seen a dog in my life that looks quite like Willie! I mean, those ears! He's just not what I picture with an American Staffordshire--his snout is longer and darker at the tip, and his ears are WILD. Everyone comments on how pointy and huge they are. They stand up all the time; they are rigid and not floppy at all. For reference, here's a google images photo of an American Staffordshire:
Sure, I can see that Willie is related to this type of dog, but 100% purebred? I find it hard to believe. However, they sent us extensive results and said that he passed on a "purebred" test on every level. They even sent us a certificate of authentication. I feel like if a DNA test was going to make something up, they would make up a random mutt combination, not that a dog is 100% purebred. That said, Willie just does NOT fit the physical characteristics. I'm still puzzling over it! Here are some screenshots of our results for Willie:
So there you have it. I still think Willie is not a purebred dog of any kind, but on another note, the concept of "purebred" dogs is a weird one and not something I'm really interested in promoting. Dog breeds were invented by humans, mostly in the past 200 years. There are some "ancient" breeds (like Chihuahuas and some Mastiffs, for example), but beyond that, most dog breeds have become what they are today relatively recently. So therefore, the concept of a breed being "pure" is based on standards set by people not nature--and SO much research shows that purebred dogs can have a lot of health problems due to being inbred (not always, but it's important to be aware that purebreeds are not inherently better/healthier than mixed breeds--often the opposite is true). Just putting that out there. I'm often surprised how many misconceptions are out there about dog breeds.
Onto the next one!
Before the test results came in, Grace and I were joking that Jellybean's results would come back as part rabbit or chicken or other little creature (obviously they don't test for those). He's just such a funny little bunny rabbit of a dog! His results were also kind of surprising, but he is in no way a purebred dog. According to Wisdom Panel, Jellybean is 50% Chihuahua (not surprising), and has one great-grandparent who was a Pomeranian, another great-grandparent who was a Pekingese, and the other quarter of his ancestry is a general mixed terrier breed. For reference, here are some google images photos of the three specific breeds he's mixed with:
Weird, right? Jellybean has shorter hair than pretty much all of these dogs, and is most similar to a Chihuahua. But, according to the test, a quarter of his DNA is from a Pekingese/Pomeranian combo. The other quarter was just a general terrier mix, which was mixed beyond several generations (meaning that mixed breeds had puppies with other mixed breeds for several generations, making it too difficult to determine DNA beyond general terrier mix). The vet's thinking is that Jellybean has some type of pit bull mix in him, which I've had people stop me on the street and say as well--that he looks like a teacup pit bull (Grace made a joke about this once but I've literally had strangers say this to me, so funny!). So that "terrier mix" could be pit bull terrier--obviously of the pocket or miniature variety. I think there could be some Jack Russell terrier in there too. But, the DNA is too jumbled to know for sure. Here's some more specifics of Jellybean's results:
What's probably the most surprising about Jellbean's results? That there's 0% Dachshund. I think that's one of the most common breeds people guessed when looking at Jellybean, so it will probably be surprising that he is not a Dachshund at all! I think his long body comes from being part Pekingese, which is also a long dog. Also, I think Jellybean's weight profile is telling, because he's not yet a year old and he's already a bit over 11 pounds. To me, this suggests that the 25% generic "terrier" mix includes something larger, and helps explain why our vet thinks (based on his physical exam of Jellybean's legs, especially), that Jellybean has some type of pit bull mix in his ancestry. He's a unique guy. I kind of love that I've never really seen a dog that looked quite like either of our boys--there's no one else quite like them! That said, both of them must have siblings somewhere out there. It would be so cool to run into a twin of either of them some day.
If you are considering a DNA test for your dog, I highly recommend it! It's very interesting and felt like Christmas morning to get the emails in my inbox. But no matter what the results would have been, of course it wouldn't change how I feel about the pups. It's just for fun!