(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.