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Monday, January 10, 2011

Jojo's DNA Final Results #3: Heritage Canine DNA Results

If you have been following this blog, then you know that we had a sweet little puppy for adoption at South Hamilton Animal Alliance whose "breed" make-up was in question. She was just 20 lbs, and sweet as pie.
Her name is Jojo and she has since been adopted into a wonderful new home in Massachusetts.

We had submitted her DNA samples to three different laboratories who specialize in canine breed DNA tests. As we waited patiently with baited puppy breath, her test results arrived one by one, and here is the final test result.

Our Sweet Jojo

Jojo's Story Part 1-5: Please read for more information and previous test results...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

All three tests were submitted to their respective labs on October 8th, 2010.  The slowest and final of the three results has finally arrived.  The results are postmarked December 8th, 2010.

Heritage claims to send reports within 4-6 weeks, but this test did take a bit longer than expected, eight weeks, and significantly longer than the other two tests from Mars and DDC testing labs.  Both DDC and Mars Wisdom Panel results were returned within the month of October.

And without further adieu, drum roll please...
The results are:

Primary: "This category is intended to help owners recognize when their pet’s DNA contains a majority of a specific breed (i.e. 50% or greater). If your dog has a strong match to one of our validated breeds, then it is categorized as primary. Most mixed breed dogs will not usually have a breed in this category unless one or both of their parents are purebred."

No primary breed

Secondary: "This category reports breeds that are easily recognizable within your dog. While these breeds may have a strong influence on your pet, each breed listed makes up less than the majority of your dog’s DNA."

Miniature Schnauzer

In the Mix: "This final category identifies breeds that have the least amount of influence on your pet’s composition, however, they still appear, at a low and measurable amount, in your pet’s DNA."

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

and Siberian Husky

Let us have a quick review:

Test 1: DDC Vet Lab

Italian Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, German Shorthaired Pointer, Greyhound, American Staffordshire Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog

Test 2: Mars Wisdom Panel

American Staffordshire Terrier, English Bulldog

Test 3: Heritage DNA

Miniature Schnauzer, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Siberian Husky

DNA testing for breed identification is a fun idea if used for curiosity sake alone, but don't expect to get out of any breed specific laws by showing a judge your DNA certificate that says your pit bull mix is a standard poodle and chihuahua mix.  (As a vet, I would be more afraid of the chihuahua than the pit bull!)

The waiting is exciting, and the arrival of the test results can be a celebratory event for some.  In some cases, the results are sure to be quite humorous!  I really don't see much Siberian Husky or Sheltie in Jojo, but genes can do remarkable things.

While I do believe DNA testing can confirm that one dog is a parent of another dog, just as it can determine that a man is the father of a particular child, I do not believe that we yet have the knowledge to determine breed make up successfully with DNA testing.  I do give credit that each lab detected a bully breed of sorts within Jojo's makeup, but the other results were inconsistent.

With each test that is run, more knowledge is gained, and perhaps someday we can get more consistent, more specific, more accurate results.  For now, it is a fun idea to satisfy a person's curiosity.

But let us consider the important part of pet ownership, or I would prefer the term pet companionship.  Your dog, regardless of its breed, loves you.  Your dog relies on you for its well being throughout its lifetime.  The breed of your dog does not matter.  Words on a piece of paper do not matter.  What does matter is that you are committed to that dog for the lifetime of that dog, whether it fits into your purse, or barely fits into your car.  That dog will certainly commit to you until its last breath.  No certificate or paper can or should change that.  FURiendship is fur a lifetime

If you have performed DNA testing on a pet of yours, please share your results here, even if it doesn't matter. 

I am curious to know, what is your opinion of the three test results?

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Anonymous said...

I got my daughter a test for xmas. She just sent the test in early last week to Mars. Very curious as to what our Charli is. She was labeled "a lab mix", but she sure looks more like a Chesapeake Bay Retriever than anything else. Anxious to see what they come up with. :)

Cathy B

j.v. said...

I had my dog tested by Heritage. The test came back with a large percent unknown, but "in the mix" were doberman and german shepherd.

He only weighs 27 pounds, but he is really tall and he is black and tan.

Anonymous said...

Got the results back. Lab and Border Collie. She actually got another DNA test from another company from her mother in law to be, so we're interested to see if they come back with the same, or similar results. :)

Cathy B