Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dog DNA Kits - Are They Worth It?

Doggy DNA - What I Found Out

About a month after the death of my 12 year old husky, we decided it was time to add a puppy to our household.   We knew that we were not looking for another husky as we are looking to moving to a warmer climate.  We had narrowed our search to a Doberman, a Boxer (brindle), a German Shepard or a mix that looked like one of them.  We weren’t picky…male or female, from puppy to a year old. 
After searching online, we finally found what we were looking for on (this is a great resource) - a boxer/Doberman mix, female, 7 weeks old and she was brindle and white…adorable.  I filled out the paperwork as required by the rescue organization and waited to hear back.  When we found out that we had been approved, we happily drove the 3 hours (each way) to get her.  After trying out several names on the way home, we settled on Bella.
As soon as her feet hit the ground at home, we had people telling us that she looked like a Pit Bull to them.  Even though this happened on multiple occasions, I shrugged it off.  No, she is the Boxer that we wanted, that we had been waiting and looking for.  So many people were making comments, none of them bad.  Mostly we were hearing what a nice looking Pit puppy we had. 
Since Bella had already had her first set of puppy shots, it was a couple of weeks before her first vet appointment, at which point my vet walked in, took one look at her and informed me that we did not have a Boxer puppy.  While he was very supportive of us keeping Bella – he wasn’t at all happy that she was miss represented by the rescue (apparently this is not uncommon with Pit Bulls). 
Long story short, we did decide to keep Bella.  We had never had a Pit Bull before, nor had we ever planned to own one ever in the future.  I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of Pit Bull owners. While she is still a puppy, she is absolutely fantastic.  However, I was still curious as to what else she was mixed with.
So, I got a DNA test from a company BioPet because I was interested in knowing what Bella was mixed with.  I did know ahead of time that they didn’t test for Pit Bulls (that part was not in question anyway), but wanted to know what else she was mixed with.
The instructions with the kit were simple and easy to understand. After following them, which basically included taking a couple of cheek swabs, I sent the samples in.
Roughly 2 1/2 weeks later, I received the results from BioPet.
I was surprised to say the least. While I know that Bella is a mix breed, I wasn't expecting the breeds they say she is mixed with.
The results are broken down into levels of breed "dominance" in the dog.
Level 1: over 75% of the breed is represented in the dog
Level 2: between 37% - 74%
Level 3: between 20% - 73%
Level 4: between 10% - 19%
Level 5: less than 10%
Each dog can have more than one breed in each level.
So here are Bella's results:
Level 3: Doberman Pinscher
Level 3: St. Bernard
Level 4: Boston Terrier
Level 4: Great Pyreneees
Level 4: Norwegian Elkhound
Level 5: Bull Terrier
While I can see the Doberman and the terriers, I don’t personally think there is any of the larger, northern breeds in my puppy.  I was personally expecting to see breeds like Boxer, Lab or Great Dane.  Even though Bella’s test results weren’t what I was personally expecting, I would still recommend the test, however, strictly for entertainment value. 
We love Bella and have decided that no matter what she is mixed with, she is in our family to stay.


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