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Who’s Your Daddy? Are Dog DNA Tests Worth the Money? @PetSmart @WisdomPanel

We have three rescue mutts.  Rodrigo and Sydney’s mom was an Australian Cattle Dog and we’re guessing that Rodrigo is also Border Collie and Sydney is part Labrador.  Based on our experience with Rodrigo, we think Blue is Australian Cattle Dog and Border Collie too (we were wrong).

But wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure?

Knowing which breed contributed to your awesome mutt is a great idea for three reasons…

  1. It gives dog owners an idea of any breed specific health issues you may encounter.
  2. It gives dog owners protection against breed specific discrimination.
  3. It gives dog owners a better understand of their dogs behavior.

And one more reason… It would put an end to the guessing!

Petsmart has generously offered to send us a Dog DNA Test

Petsmart is donating a Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed DNA Test Kit to Keep the Tail Wagging so that we can test one of our rescues.  We’re pretty confident about Rodrigo’s breed.  We’re not so confident about Sydney and Blue.  Johan thinks we should test Blue, I think we should test Sydney.  We tested Blue.

Do Dog DNA Tests Work?

I reached out to the dog lover community to ask if they were happy with the results of the dog DNA tests they purchased and loved the response, because (to be honest) I thought the dog DNA tests sold in the stores were a scam.  Out of all of the responses I received, most people used the Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed DNA Test Kit, most were happy with the results and agreed with the breed-mix that created their dog.

Here are the images shared with Keep the Tail Wagging along with the dog DNA test results – can you see it?

Her dad was half Shih-Tzu and half Yorkie and the grandparents and great-grandparents on either side were 100% Shiz-Tzu and Yorkie. Her mom was half Chihuahua and half TOTAL mutt, but they broke down this mutt mix and it was a combination of Mini-Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, Glenn of Imaal Terrier, English Spaniel, and Pekingese.

This made total sense because she doesn’t shed (thanks to her predominantly non-shedding family), she has a Chihuahua tail, and uses her paws like hands which is very poodle. We call her our Yorki-Shu-Chihuahua-Poo :)

~ Sara, Boston

The initial results were that my black fluffy boy had pit bull as his primary heritage. Well, that just couldn’t be true. Turns out that they didn’t have his supposed breed (Puli) in their database so whenever that was the case, the machine popped out Pit Bull. They retested for me and said Poodle, Collie and Shetland Sheepdog were in the mix.

Now do any of those [breeds] sound like a Pit? Don’t get me wrong. Pit Bulls are great dogs but my 25 pound ball of fluff didn’t look or act anything like that breed. He was definitely from the herding group.

~ Susan, Alpha Dog Public Relations

I adopted my dog, Moxie, from a rescue in November of 2009. I was told she was most likely a Yorkie/Maltese mix. In 2011, Moxie got a DNA test for Christmas. I was really surprised when the results came back saying she was Yokie/Japanse Chin mix. When I read up on the breed characteristics of the Japansese Chin and the other breeds that contributed to her DNA, many of her behaviors and tendencies started to make more sense.

I do believe the test was accurate because I am able to recognize some of the physical and behavior traits associated with the breeds and my dog.

~ Karen,

I adopted my dog (Stella) from the SPCA and she was labeled Choc. Lab mix. After having her for 6 years now, I think she is more of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Terrier Mix. My husband and I just adore her and wanted to find our her DNA. If the results come back as a poodle/pug mix I’ll know the results aren’t accurate :).

~ Diane (currently awaiting results of the dog DNA test)

“The DNA revealed that Stella is part Labrador Retriever part Borzoi with a sprinkling of German Shepard and hound. After some research on the Borzoi breed, I think my dog has a lot of the traits so it is a possibility. My husband is convinced Stella is a Chesapeake Bay Retreiver/Pit bull mix, but the DNA proves otherwise.”

I thought it was a WASTE! [The results] are NOT what I thought they would be and I still don’t believe them.  They SAID poodle, Irish Setter and Bernese Mountain Dog. To this day I still think he is English Pointer mix.

~ Blaire K, Philadelphia

Sparky was mostly Lab and German Shepherd.  We believe it was accurate, but it wasn’t terribly detailed. I imagine that has improved since–it has been 5 years since I did mine, and Canine Heritage was one of the first products on the scene. It gave the 2 major breeds it found, and a small percentage of unknown other breeds.

~ Lauren R, Virginia

I tested the DNA of my beagle-mix female in 2009 using BioPet Vet Lab. I purchased the kit at PetSupermarket – it was on sale for about $35. The results indicated she has one parent that is a full beagle and the only other DNA they found was from a Doberman Pinscher – certainly an odd combination! I know that not every company has every breed in its database, but I do believe this may be accurate due to her coloring (although I’m thinking maybe miniature pinscher?). Lily’s photo is attached (along with my other dog, a three-legged husky). Both are rescues.

~ Gail M, CoreStrategies for Nonprofits, Inc.

Our Dog DNA Test | Sydney or Blue, Sydney or Blue

As I’m writing this article, we’re waiting for the results of our Wisdom Panel Mixed Breed DNA Test Kit; we received the packet and decided to test Blue.  It was a toss up between Blue and Sydney.  I hope that by the time this article goes live, I’ll have an answer for you.  We’re pretty excited. Update:  we received the results!!

Thank you to Canine Journal for referring dog parents to Keep the Tail Wagging via their Facebook page.

So now it’s your turn!  Have you done a dog DNA test and if you have, were you happy with the results?


  1. Kelly is a rescue dog we adopted when she was 1 year old. I received a DNA test to review, so we gave it a try. We guessed that Kelly is part cocker spaniel and long haired dachshund. The only results we got from the test was that she is mainly cocker spaniel. I was disappointed because Kelly is obviously part cocker spaniel but her face is not at all cocker spaniel and the fur on top is long and silky, and not curly like a cocker. The particular kit I used didn’t have enough breeds in its database to make the test worthwhile.

    • One of the people who contributed to the article mentioned that she had the same experience; when they company didn’t know a breed, they just put in Pit Bull. That just seems lazy.


  2. I’ve been wanting to do this with our pup, Rita. They told us she was a GSD/Beagle mix – which I think seems right and I’d like to confirm that. But my hubby thinks it’s not worth doing. He is so sure she’s a GSD/beagle that he thinks there’s no point getting that “confirmed.”

    Glad to hear that you and most of the others were pleased with doing the test.

    • Thanks, Jackie
      I was really blown away and I’m happy that we took the test. It was fun learning about the third breed that gives Blue his markings; researching the breed explained some of his behavior :)

  3. That’s quite fascinating! Seeing the pictures and then reading which breeds contributed to the mix :-)

    • Thanks! I thought it was interesting too. When we received our DNA results back, it was thrilling to see Blue’s makeup. Now we get why he is who he is; now I just wish I knew more about where he was found.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sounds like a good test! I have had one poor experience with DNA tests before. I can’t remember what brand it was, but the results were obviously way off. These clients brought their small terrier type dog in for us to collect a blood sample so that they could send it off for a DNA test they had. I remember the final results listing some pretty crazy breeds like mastiff or rottweiler. Wisdom Panel sounds like it could be worth a try though.

    • We couldn’t be happier with the Wisdom Panel test and I’m looking forward to testing Rodrigo and Sydney next month. It’ll be fun what their tests results are, because they’re littermates who look nothing alike.

      Thanks for stopping by, Ann

  5. Glad you got to try and are happy with the results. I still remain dubious. I’ve never done the test, but I have seen so many results that really make me shake my head. At least this test doesn’t require you include a picture like some of the tests do. Maybe as I see more an more results I’ll believe in the testing more.

  6. I dont want to know what breed they are….I would like to know which of my 2 males is the dad. Will this test tell me that.

    • No, this is simply a test to determine the breed mix of a dog.


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