Mr. Wallace joined the pack about six weeks ago. He was one of six puppies in a rescue litter from South Carolina. He’s finding his place with our yellow Lab (10) and German Sheppard-mix (15).
We really have no idea what breeds he is. We were told he is a “Retriever-mix.” (aren’t most mutts called a retriever-mix?)
We did see a picture of his mother. She does look like an all-American mix, with a healthy dose of Lab. No one knows what the father is… or who he is!
My veterinarian suggested a DNA test. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. He said other clients have done it, and they were happy with the results. He added the findings made sense to him, as well. He would not recommend any of the products, as he had not researched them. (Fair enough!)
I had previously done some research about Human DNA testing, primarily about the safety and security of the samples, but doggie-DNA never crossed my mind. It seems like it would be fun, but I had some concerns.
I’m willing to give it a go, if there is some validity to it. But I don’t want to plunk down nearly $100 for what amounts to a 21st century parlor trick. So, I embarked on a fact finding mission…
Yup, I fired-up Google. There are no less than six agencies offering DNA testing for dogs. They range in price from $45-200. I have read numerous reviews, both positive and negative, on almost all of these services. The waters seemed to becoming more murky than clear.
I wanted a side-by-side comparison of these services. I finally came across an article in Canine Journal. Author Sally Jones wrote a summation of many of these services in October of 2016, in a Pro/Con format. It seemed credible. The information is useful and easy to follow. She did a nice job.
Ms. Jones rated Embark the best out there. It makes sense. The service is backed by Cornell University’s College for Veterinary Medicine. It also comes with an Ivy League price tag. $200 per test! Although it provides the most information, the price seemed exclusionary to merely satisfy my curiosity.
The Wisdom Panel, offered by Mars Veterinary, was Ms. Jones second choice. The price tag was much more reasonable, $84.99 with free shipping for the latest version (4.0). Older tests, with fewer findings, are available for slightly lower prices. The website is excellent! It describes all you want to know and more. It is well laid out, and even offers a sample report. The report is broken down to its component pieces with explanations. The Wisdom panel has been around from the start. Doggie-DNA and the Wisdom Panel were both introduced in 2007. The website states they have processed more than 700,000 tests.
DNA My Dog was the Bronze Medal winner, and Ms. Jones choice for the budget conscious. The basic test for one dog is just $68.99, but internet discounts can get that even lower. The DNA My Dog website boasts you will have results in just two weeks. The major drawback to DNA My Dog, seems to be a smaller database than the other two leaders.
But wait! There’s more!! The AKC offers DNA testing, but as you might expect they do not focus on mixed-breeds. Vetgen.com focuses on health & breeding/selection issues. Vetgen.com claims they have provided veterinary genetics testing for more than 20 years. Paw Print Genetics claim, according to the website, they have the “highest standards,” and “Diagnostic grade testing.”
Mr. Wallace looks like a hound to me. I think he could have been the muse for Copper, Disney’s hound dog in The Fox and The Hound.
Regardless of what the test reveals, Mr. Wallace is here to stay. We love him. His siblings, ahemm, accept him. But it will be fun to see what the test says. When the results come back, I’ll share them here.
Has anyone tried any K-9 DNA tests? What has been your experience? I’m interested. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.