(Extra points to anyone who knows the title reference without Google!)
At least a couple times a week, a client with a particularly hard to deconstruct mutt asks me, “So what do you think my dog is? I’ve heard schnauzer/chow/Yorkie/pit bull but I’m not really sure.”
I look at the dog and hazard a guess. “Well, he does have Australian shepherd eyes, and his tail looks like a chow chow….” and we both shrug.
Sometimes, people are obviously misinformed. “I bought this Pomeranian/chihuahua mix from a great breeder in North Dakota,” said one owner to me, petting her 30 pound dog who looked like neither a Chi nor a Pom. The breeder told her he wouldn’t top 10 pounds. Caveat emptor, my friends.
At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Your dog is your dog regardless of his genetic history. The type of people who adopt a mutt aren’t the types who are going to be overly concerned about breed breakdown. Nonetheless, sometimes people are genuinely curious about their dog’s lineage, and to that effect, modern science has provided an answer.
The Wisdom Panel is a DNA analysis of dogs that compares a dog’s DNA to 157 AKC breeds. All it takes is a blood sample, and in return you get a written report breaking down what breeds your dog is made up of, and in what percentages.
I’ve sent out a few of them, and it’s fun to see what comes back. Sometimes you get the obvious- OK, this 50 pound fluffy gold dog is 75% Golden Retriever- and sometimes you get something out of left field, like a 15 pound dog that is 15% Rottweiler.
It provides what I would estimate as 0.01% medically important information, but it’s very interesting and pretty easy to do. The kit is available online, at some vets, and I’ve even seen them in the checkout aisle of a big national petstore chain.
Ryl Ashley says
…..have also been meaning to ask your opinion about mutts vs purebreds. You’ve said here and there that mutts are less healthy, or did I misunderstand, and you meant that badly bred purebreds are less healthy? After my last dog, the world’s sweetest purebred cocker spaniel, who suffered from every (EVERY) stereotypically cocker-spaniel health ailment, and then eventually died and broke my heart, I have said I’d never have another purebred dog. I thought that mutts would be more healthy, due to the whole wider genepool thing. Is that wrong?
While I think it is a great idea, why do I see this going on a ”new fashionable breed created by the DNA test” way? I used to joke that Ally was a Chirussell until there was a feature story on the ”Jackhuahua”. I nearly passed out that our mutt (which we are 99% sure of as far as breeds go) turned into a fashionable breed!
Dr. V says
I think these tests could really throw a wrench in the whole designer dog thing- there is a fair amount of variability in the results and I doubt they (the designer breeders) want that.
If I had money to throw around, I’d be so tempted to send one in for Summer. For some reason I’m just dying of curiosity… she’s got rottie markings, shepherd fur with a husky-like undercoat, and yet she’s only 40 pounds and has a face that looks nothing like any of them.
I’m relatively sure there’s pit in there somewhere, but hard to say. For some reason I’d just really like to know, though!