There's Something Important You Should Know About Doggie DNA Tests

Posted by Tori Holmes
group of puppies purebred dogs on a table

If you own a mixed-breed dog, there's probably a good chance you've spent some time trying to figure out what different breeds are behind your dog's adorable appearance.

There's also a good chance that you've invested in a dog DNA test, which are becoming increasingly popular. So popular, in fact, that many shelters are using them to get a more complete picture of the dogs that come into their care.

But how accurate are these test results? This is a question that one dog owner was left with after doing two different tests on her dog.

After adopting her four-year-old dog Stoney, Becca Rushworth was curious to find out what his breed makeup was. The shelter advertised him as a German Shepherd - Corgi mix, but Becca had her suspicions that there was also some Basset Hound in him.

To get to the bottom of this mystery, Becca ordered two different doggie DNA tests - one from DNA My Dog (retailed at $69) and one from Wisdom Panel (retailed at $80).

dna dog testsIn both kits, the instructions were the same: simply take swabs from Stoney's cheeks from each test, place them in the provided containers, and send them in for analysis.

A few weeks later, Becca received her results in the mail and that's where things got confusing.

In the report, DNA My Dog identified Stoney as a mix of Siberian Husky, Bull Dog, and Catahoula Leopard dog, but Wisdom Panel said that he was a Border Collie, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Keeshond mix. It doesn't take an expert to see that this is a pretty mixed bag of results.

READ MOREWhat It's Like to DNA Test Your Mixed-Breed Dog

So why were the results from these tests so different? As it turns out, the key factor in DNA testing is the database the samples are tested against.

When it comes to DNA testing, the size of the database really matters. The fewer samples you have in it, the fewer categories will come up, which means that a bigger proportion of results will be pigeonholed into ones that may not be quite the right match.

On the other hand, the more breed samples a database has, the more detailed the results will be, as they will have a wide pool of categories to compare with.

mutt dogKnowing this, if you decide that you want to do DNA test for your dog, do your research and find a company that offers the largest database of samples. If you're unsure, you can also contact the companies directly or even discuss your options with your veterinarian.

Whether your test says that your dog is part Husky or part Chow Chow, one thing is certain: it's completely perfect just they way it is!

Have you ever done a doggie DNA test? How did you feel about the results? Let us know in the comments below!

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There's Something Important You Should Know About Doggie DNA Tests