“What do you think she is?” This is a common question among owners of mixed breed dogs. For years veterinarians could only guess the answer based on the the dog’s physical similarities to known breeds. No more guessing. We can now determining the genetic makeup of mixed breed dog’s with reasonable certainty. The Wisdom Panel was developed by Mars (apparently they don’t just make M&M’s anymore!) over the course of the last 12 years. The test compares your dog’s DNA to specific genetic markers which have been identified in over 120 known breeds. Results are sometimes very surprising as the breeds that are detected are not always easy to visualize in the pet.
At least 12.5% of any one particular breed has to be present in the genetic make-up of a mixed dog for the test to accurately detect it. The Wisdom Panel has shown that as breeds mix, there are some traits which disappear sooner than others. For instance, flat faces (brachycephalic) usually disappear within one generation of breeding a brachycephalic dog with a non-brachycephalic dog. Extremes in size, either large or small, are lost quickly. This results in most mixed breed dogs shifting toward being medium-sized. The color white often disappears within one generation, causing many mixed breed dogs to be brown/ginger in color rather than spotted like a Dalmatian. As a result, many mixed breed dogs look like Labradors and Beagles, even if their genetic make-up contains neither breed.
It’s always fun to know the genetic make-up of a mixed breed dog. Often it explains not only the physical but also the behavior traits of your mixed breed dog. The test can also help direct veterinarians to observe for diseases that might be more likely to occur in your mixed breed dog, since some conditions are very breed specific.
Tom and Marilyn Burke have been bringing their dog Sasha to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital since 2002. When the family moved to Florida, they could not find a veterinarian they liked as much as Dr Cardella. Several times a year, the family makes the 1782 mile round trip to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital to have Dr Cardella examine Sasha and keep up to date on his veterinary care. Thank you Tom and Marilyn for trusting Sasha’s care to us.
P.S. Sasha had his DNA tested by the Wisdom Panel to determine his breed. Can you guess his mix???
Answer: Bichon Frise, Maltese and Wirehaired Terrier
‘Hi – my name is Augie Doggie. I am a rescue from the Frederick County Animal Control. I had a ‘cherry eye’ in my left eye, and the wonderful and talented Dr. Kim repaired it for me! My Mom and Dad were very curious as to what my ancestry might be. They just couldn’t figure it out, so they decided to have a DNA ‘Wisdom Panel’ done. Can you guess what breeds went into my unique mix? I don’t look anything like my forebearers!
As you can see, I’m black and white and I have a long torso and relatively short legs. No, not a Dachshund! I have looonnng ears. No, a Goat is not a valid choice – try again! I have a long white ‘ruff’ around my neck, and big freckles on my legs and on my pink belly. No, an Appaloosa Horse is not a valid choice either!
I have a white tip on my long skinny tail, and whiskers like Mr. McGregor. Are you getting closer? I love to cuddle, and I’m a very good boy!
OK, I’ll give you another hint. I can smell a piece of toast from 100 paces. And, my Mom and Dad say I’m too smart for my own good!
Get ready – drum roll please – I’m mostly Beagle, with traces of Miniature Poodle, Pug (!), and Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Pit Bull)!!
Wow – what a marvelous mystery life is! Now – where’s that toast?’
Nemo looked like a little Labrador cross as a puppy. A former service dog in training, his heritage didn’t really matter – any breed (or mix) can make a good service dog. As he grew, it was apparent that he was more than just a Lab-X. Some people saw Great Dane, others saw some sort of Hound. No one could tell for certain what mix of breeds contributed to his handsome good looks. Until, that is, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital began offering the Wisdom Panel, a DNA heritage test. Just one quick blood draw was all it took to reveal they mystery of Nemo’s lineage.
Turns out he’s a mix of mixes! The breeds of his parents couldn’t be determined – there were too many dogs in the mix. It’s likely that his parents themselves were mixed breeds. The Wisdom Panel did, however give us come clues to Nemo’s distant ancestors. The panel identified Golden Retriever and Dalmation, as well as Newfoundland and Boxer in Nemo’s distant past. Nemo’s got the friendly nature of the Golden, but doesn’t look a thing like one! I can’t see the Boxer in him either, but he does like to use his paws during play time – just like the typical Boxer. Perhaps he looks more like a Newfoundland, minus the shaggy, dense coat. He’s got lots of loose skin around his neck like a Newfie. He’s got very short hair, like a Dalmation (but no spots.) Perhaps he’s also got another breed in him – one of the few that the Wisdom Panel can’t yet detect.
To find out more about the Wisdom Panel, click here
. Or better yet, join us on May 5th at 7:00pm at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital for our “What Your Pet Wants You To Know”
series, where the topic will be “Mixed Breeds, Mutts and Heinz 57s: DNA Testing for Fun and Health.” Anyone who attends will receive a gift certificate good for $20 off the Wisdom Panel Testing at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital. Details can be found by clicking here