DNA: Dog-lovers Need Answers


There’s no question we all love our mutts but I’m sure we have all wondered at some point “what are you?” Or you see a dog go by and think “that looks like my dog.” You ask the owner what breed their dog is and the answer you get is a breed you never would have thought as being part of your dog. Then at home you’re looking into those puppy dog eyes and while they’re thinking “treat,” you think “you do kind of look like that breed.” But still, you don’t really know what breeds your mutt is made of. Well that’s what the Wisdom Panel is for; it’s a DNA test to find out about the ancestry/breed-mix of your dog. So are you curious? 😕 I was and so I did a Wisdom Panel on Zeea.

So what did Zeea’s report say? In alphabetical order, Zeea is part Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd Dog, Labrador Retriever, Siberian Husky and Yorkshire Terrier Mix. Your reaction was probably similar to mine – ‘oh that makes sense…wait YORKIE?’ Time to read the details…

wisdom panel chartThe first page lists the breeds that have been detected as well as where they appear in Zeea’s ancestors, creating a family tree basically. Three generations are covered from Zeea back to her great grandparents. I’m going to move up through the chart, starting with Zeea’s parents. Although the Wisdom Panel does not tell you which side is maternal or parental, I know that, in Zeea’s case, the left side is her mother. Zeea was found as a young pup beside her mother whose breed
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwas identified by the rescue as a husky. Now if we look at the chart we see that the mother was a Husky mixed with a Malamute, a Yorkshire Terrier and some unknown breeds. Huskies and Malamutes are two breeds that are often confused with each other and a lot of the time when the breed is in question the dog is actually a mix of both. There are clear differences between the breeds and one of the most noticeable is the tail. Zeea has a curled tailed which is a characteristic of the Malamute—the husky’s tail is straight or sickle shaped. Zeea’s father was mainly German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever along with mixed breeds. German Shepherd was no surprise considering Zeea’s tan and black coat as well as the saddle patterning. As for the Lab, this provided insight into one of Zeea’s traits that neither the breeds of her mother or the German shepherd covered: her ears. Zeea has floppy ears which are a trait from the Lab as the other fore-mentioned breeds have pointed ears. So we’ve covered four of the indicated breeds but what about the mixed breeds or the Yorkshire Terrier? A mixed breed ancestor means no specific breed was found within that particular set of data; however, there is a list of the groups that the mixed breeds might be composed of starting with the strongest likelihood. Zeea’s mixed ancestors were from the terrier, herding and mountain dog (ex. Bernese Mountain Dog, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland) groups. As for the Yorkie found in Zeea, this result was marked with an asterisk which means this breed was detected in low confidence – which is exactly how I feel about Zeea being part Yorkie. o_O

Traits are not only physical but behavioural as well and the Wisdom Panel includes an explanation of both within each breed’s synopsis. I’ve noticed certain behaviours in Zeea; her continuous “talking”, for example, is known to be very “Husky”. The Wisdom Panel’s behaviours for each breed do not seem to be as individualistic and are rather more general. For example, Zeea is active, intelligent, enjoys dog sports as well as being stubborn but will bend for food – these are all under the Yorkshire Terrier so does that convince me that Zeea is part Yorkie? No. The report shows that many of the breeds share the same traits (though the wording may be OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdifferent). “Stubbornness lessen by using rewards”, “easier to train with rewards”, “responds well to rewards” or “quite food motivated” may be different phrases but they all state that your dog is reward-motivated. Of course, there are some traits attributed to just one of the breeds in the report; the Husky has listed “may engage in digging; might chase wildlife”. However, even within a specific breed, traits are not always clear; the German shepherd has listed “personalities can vary from calm and watchful/observant to energetic”. All in all, these traits are generic and even the Wisdom Panel comments that all dogs’ personalities are unique. So if you were hoping to decode your dog’s behaviour using this test you will not have much luck. I am not saying the traits are wrong, but they are not unique enough to a single breed to determine your dog’s exact personality. (If you wish to see the full report click this link: Wisdom Panel Results word )

So there you have it – in the end Zeea is a Malamute, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd and Labrador mix or a malador-shepsky for those who like their designer breeds (just kidding! 😉 ). As for the Yorkshire Terrier, I have my doubts but who knows for sure what breeds are hiding in Zeea’s DNA. The only thing I can be 100% sure of is that Zeea is Zeea. IMG_0518

I mean what else would she be… 😛

*Disclaimer: This post has not been sponsored by Wisdom Panel*

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