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Dog Breed DNA Tests

Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby downwithapathy » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:07 pm

Hi everyone! :) I discussed my experience with Wisdom Panel's breed-detection test(s) at VRF, and I'll recount it here. At the time, one member was interested but decided not to go through with the test because her dog's presumed breed was not on the list of breeds detected. Apparently, they've added several new breeds to their database and the breed in question (Catahoula Leopard Dog) is now included! :) I decided to start the thread while it's on my mind. http://www.wisdompanel.com/breedinfo/breedsdetected.html
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby downwithapathy » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:17 am

I said I would recount my experience with WP here, and now is a super-duper good time to do so (I'll explain shortly). The following is a review I posted on another website (petsmart.com).


"I chose Wisdom Panel for their large breed database. Of the North American companies, WP is the only to include Australian Cattle Dog in their database. This was very important to me, as I strongly suspected my dog Zoe was of Australian Cattle Dog descent. I also assumed with more breeds in the database, I would increase my odds of uncovering all recent purebred ancestry in my dogs. Furthermore, some other companies will search for and report "the closest match" if a breed detected in your dog is not included in their database. This can result in false breed reporting. If your dog has American Pit Bull Terrier ancestry, for example, other companies may report breeds as distantly related as Boston Terrier. It's my understanding that WP does not make a practice of this, which I appreciate.

The test was extremely easy to use. I answered a few basic questions (dog's name, my name, my e-mail address, etc.) and swabbed each of my dogs' cheeks with two separate swabs (Annie chewed up one of her swabs--the company promptly sent two replacements at no extra charge). I let the swabs air dry for 5 minutes, packed them up, and sent them on their way. No pictures or hints as to my dogs' appearance were provided.

About two weeks later, the results were in. Results are sent via e-mail. The e-mail contains a link to a .pdf file. The reports are informative but they aren't terribly detailed. If you want lots of interesting science and detailed explanations of the results, you won't get that from this or any other company at present. What you will get is a chart showing the breeds detected for your dog and the level at which they are detected. WP also provides a page of information on each breed detected.

Zoe (who looks like an obvious Australian Cattle Dog mix)'s results showed Australian Cattle Dog at the intermediate or "grandparent" level. She also showed traces of Siberian Husky. Though the company claims it's unlikely that dogs will resemble breeds detected at the "minor" level, I do see possible hints of Husky ancestry (enough so that I had considered the possibility prior to receiving her results). For example, Zoe has a curled tail, "snow nose," and partial heterochromia (two different colors in the same eye). Though Zoe's results reported only a small portion of her ancestry, I am pleased, much moreso than had I been given a long list of related breeds. Her results are extremely believable and indicate a dog who is several generations mixed breed (my favorite kind!) along most lines.

Annie looks like an obvious Beagle mix. In fact, people regularly comment on my "pretty Beagle." Though she looks very Beaglish, she is a bit large and muscular for a Beagle and is mostly white with just a few red spots. According to Wisdom Panel, Annie's most recent purebred ancestor was a Beagle, again at the grandparent level. At the great-grandparent level, WP detected Boxer (which I may see in Annie's facial markings on one side, her slight underbite, and her athletic build and demeanor). WP also reported traces of Old English Sheepdog, which I cannot see at all but I'm willing to consider (after all, I look nothing like my great- or great-great-grandparents!). Again, WP told me I have a well mixed mutt, which I appreciate much more than a long list of marginally related breeds.

I definitely intend to purchase Wisdom Panel Insights again for all of the mystery mutts in my future. :)"

Zoe:
Image
Image

Annie:
Image
Image
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby downwithapathy » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:43 am

The reason I decided to recount my experience today is my experience is suddenly larger than that review!

After I learned that (about 15) new breeds had been added to the database and the chart showing results had changed drastically, I emailed the company with my questions regarding the new report format (basically, I wanted them to explain their science to me). I woke today to a voicemail AND an email from a company rep. She gave me her direct number, and I called her back. We had a little chat about their reporting and about my dogs' reports. She requested the "science department" run my dogs' stuff against the new computer algorithm to see if any of the new breeds would be detected. For what it's worth, they weren't. Both dogs' 4-generation reports said exactly what the first reports had said. However, they sent me a whole new report, which included the new reporting style.

According to the company rep with whom I spoke today, a second page of results was added in response to customers who had felt disappointed when their dogs were reported to have few or no recent purebred ancestors (oddly enough, that's was one of the test's biggest selling points for me! I LIKED that they didn't report tons of "related" but nonancestral matches like BioPet, etc.). Anyway, the second page reports the five closest matches not reported on the 4 generation tree with a statement that some of these breeds may have been ancestral to my dogs' mixed breed great-grandparents.

Obviously, these second page matches would be distant if ancestral. Zoe's distant matches range from 5.78% on down to 2.54% Annie's from 6.15% to 1.8%. At this level, I imagine they could be ancestral or related to ancestral breeds (like BioPet's reporting), but I'll know more when the rep follows up (she said she would be back in touch when the new results were in).

Whatever you may think of these tests (and opinions are varied), this company provides EXCELLENT customer service!
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby flower » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:52 pm

Thanks so much for posting this, DWA. We've thought about doing this for Emma & Rowan, but just haven't gotten around to it. I should put it on our wish list. :)
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby downwithapathy » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:26 pm

[quote="flower";p=1849]Thanks so much for posting this, DWA. We've thought about doing this for Emma & Rowan, but just haven't gotten around to it. I should put it on our wish list. :)

I don't want to push anyone toward it because I don't want to hold the blame if you're dissatisfied (it's kind of like how I don't like to recommend specific cell phones to friends, even though I kind of know my stuff). :p I was satisfied with my own experience and felt I should counter some of the misinformation out there (people confusing one test for another; knee jerk reactions based on dog culture politics, etc.). However, there are people who feel differently. From what I've seen of other people's results, the genotype usually matches the phenotype pretty well. Then sometimes it doesn't and the test recipient either says "YAY a mutt!" or gets really pissed off. If you want to see my girls' new reports, just let me know via PM or facebook. :)
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby flower » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:25 pm

If we end up getting them done & aren't satisfied with the results, I won't blame you at all. :) It'll be awhile before we do it (if we do it), but I'll definitely post if/when we do!
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby vegankitty » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:05 am

Now I want to do this. When I have some money to spare. I suspect Bonnie is pure Catahoula, but she might have pit or pit type blood too. As a pup we thought she was a Cattle Dog/Pit Mix. I also suspected Great Dane-GD pups look SO much like Catahoulas when they are spotted.Other suspects were greyhound, based on the thin legs and lower half of her body. And according to my Catahoula book*, Great Danes and Greyhounds went into making Catahoulas. And I read that after thinking it, so it wasn't just power of suggestion.

*I actually spent an insane amount of money on a rare out of print history of the Catahoula Leopard Dog.
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Re: Dog Breed DNA Tests

Postby downwithapathy » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:08 am

[quote="vegankitty";p=1940]Now I want to do this. When I have some money to spare. I suspect Bonnie is pure Catahoula, but she might have pit or pit type blood too. As a pup we thought she was a Cattle Dog/Pit Mix. I also suspected Great Dane-GD pups look SO much like Catahoulas when they are spotted.Other suspects were greyhound, based on the thin legs and lower half of her body. And according to my Catahoula book*, Great Danes and Greyhounds went into making Catahoulas. And I read that after thinking it, so it wasn't just power of suggestion.

*I actually spent an insane amount of money on a rare out of print history of the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Ha. I would surely buy such books about my girls' breeds too if they weren't such incredibly mutty mutts. :D I do find myself reading about their component breeds, especially Zoe's Australian Cattle Dog and it's relatively recent development. I have a strange drive to understand approximately how much dingos contributed to the development of the breed. So far, I haven't found a good answer. Just a vague "developed primarily from dingos and a now extinct form of Collie." Apparently the Collies sucked in the new, harsher climate, so some guy decided to develop a new type with the Collie's herding ability and Dingo's climate appropriate physiology. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but ACDs are about as common in Australia as Labradors are here. :laugh:

I've noticed a strange trend. I feel like a lot of dogs look disproportionately like a particular grandparent's breed. This seems to happen a lot in test results AND the few mixed breed dogs I know with known parentage (like my friend whose 1/2 Lab x 1/4 Boxer looks nothing like a Lab and whole lot like a Boxer). I'm not sure what's up with that. It's anecdotal, so possibly coincidence. Still, I think it's interesting that Zoe (who reportedly had one ACD grandparent out of four) looks like a Cattle Dog mix and Annie (who only had one Beagle grandparent out of four) looks like a Beagle mix.

Zoe's #3 breed, by the way is Scottish Deerhound at a whole "5.78% ." If ancestral (and that isn't guaranteed on the second page--they simply generate the next 5 closest matches, whether there are five likely ancestral breeds or not), that would be presumed a great-great-grandparent at best. The lady at WP claims Zoe's Siberian Husky is likely a gggp as well, which means Zoe really only has one truly recent purebred ancestor... the ACD grandparent. Amazing. I know there are lots of multi-generational muttdogs running around (it appears I live with two of them!), but I would have guessed purebreds sneak into the gene pool more often... especially common rural breeds like hounds, Labs, etc.

Annie has a whole extra great-grandparent on her report and much stronger (but also weirder) second page matches than Zoe, so it appears purebreds may have wiggled into her lines significantly more often than into Zoe's. She's still undoubtedly very mixed. :p
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